Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Kosovo could one day be self-sufficient - UN envoy

Kosovo could one day be self-sufficient - UN envoy
Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:44 PM GMT

By Irwin Arieff

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - Kosovo has enough natural resources, including low-grade coal, to one day make it economically self-sufficient, the United Nations mediator for the disputed Serb province said on Tuesday.

Veteran diplomat Martti Ahtisaari, who is leading U.N. talks aimed at determining whether Kosovo gains independence or remains a part of Serbia, said economic development would be a top priority in the negotiations.

Kosovo is heavily subsidised by international donors, and "when the international community knows that there are natural resources which are not exploited, you can't expect the world's taxpayers to finance this forever," Ahtisaari told reporters at U.N. headquarters.

"Everyone wants to create conditions in which these can be properly exploited," he said.

If that happens "I think there is in the future the possibility for sustainable economic development in Kosovo," he said when asked whether it could ever support itself economically.

While still legally part of Serbia, Kosovo has been under U.N. administration since mid-1999, when Serbian forces were driven out to stop what the West said was their persecution of ethnic Albanians during an uprising by Albanian guerrillas.

The province's 2 million Albanians -- 90 percent of the population -- are demanding independence.

Serbs, however, see the mountain-ringed province with its scores of centuries-old Orthodox religious sites as the cradle of their nation and insist it remain a part of Serbia.

Ahtisaari said the World Bank believes that among Kosovo's natural resources were supplies of lignite that would last 50 to 75 years. Lignite is a low-grade form of coal that is used mainly to create steam for power generation.

To exploit the lignite will require significant international help. But when used to generate power, "it will be extremely useful for the economy of Kosovo and also for the provision of energy in the region in general," Ahtisaari said.


Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Have they considered the impact of burning lignite en mass in a relatively small and enclosed valley such as Kosovo? They seem to be carefully avoiding any mention of environmental impact.

illyrianboy said...

So, Kosovo is not self-sufficient because burning lignite is bad for the environment?

Have you ever heard of filters peacekeeper?

Enclosed valley doesn't mean a pot with a lid on it. Why are you so pathetic?

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Illyrian, old boy, no need to be offensive.

Kosovo may indeed become energy self sufficient, but also may not see the sky much again.

There do exist purification technologies - they are expensive and not perfect. And while lignite is not lead (Trepska, anyone?), the effects of pollutant emission in enclosed valleys does tend to be dramatic (think LA and smog, or Skopje in winter). Water also happily boils in a pot without a lid - same goes for heavier than air pollutants in a valley.

But hey, I won't be the one who has to live there :).

illyrianboy said...

hey old peacekeeper i wasnt being offensive. since you dont have to live here i guess you should leave that issue to us to worry about.

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