Monday, December 05, 2005

Kosovo independence would fuel separatism - Serbia

By Zoran Radosavljevic

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - Independence for Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo would open up a Pandora's box of separatism and lead to new ethnic conflicts in Europe, the foreign minister of Serbia-Montenegro said on Monday.

Kosovo has been a U.N. protectorate since 1999, when 78 days of NATO bombing drove out Serb forces accused of atrocities against civilians while fighting an ethnic Albanian insurgency.

Last month, U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari started shuttle diplomacy aimed at reconciling two opposing visions -- the Albanian majority's demands for independence on the basis of self-determination, and Serbia's insistence on sovereignty.

Speaking on the sidelines of an OSCE ministerial meeting in the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, Vuk Draskovic said that giving Kosovo independence could jeopardise stability in the Balkans.

Breaking up Serbia and changing its borders would breach international law, bolster the hopes of separatists elsewhere and fuel new wars.

"If the U.N. charter is crushed, it will become a cancer that spreads quickly," Draskovic said.

"What will then happen with the Turkish part of Cyprus, with the Albanians in Macedonia? Would Bosnia be able to survive? What about the Basques, Northern Ireland, Ossetia?".

Draskovic repeated that Serbia's best offer was broad autonomy that fell short of formal independence.

"Kosovo can have independent representation internationally, everywhere except at the United Nations and other organisations that stand for state sovereignty," he said.

"Serbia does not want to rule the Albanian majority in Kosovo. But majority rule cannot include intimidation and murder and destruction of churches."

SPORADIC VIOLENCE

Ethnic Albanians' impatience for independence has fuelled sporadic violence against minority Serbs. The 100,000 who stayed on in the province after about as many fled in 1999 say they face constant intimidation. Nineteen people died in March 2004 in riots that took Kosovo's 17,000 peacekeepers by surprise.

The talks on Kosovo's status are expected to wrap up by late 2006. Diplomats warn more violence should be expected in the province if negotiations stall, or a solution is seen as unfair.

Almost 70 percent of the province's 2 million people are unemployed and blame Kosovo's legal limbo for the lack of investment that would create jobs.

Draskovic said the international community should not grant Kosovo independence in order to placate extremists.

"(They) should say no to the ultimatums of Albanian extremists, that the remaining Serbs and the international military and police will be targets of terror if Kosovo is not given the status of an independent state," he said.

"Crime as the foundation of a state, a state as the reward for crime -- such an ultimatum is a blow to the moral and legal foundations of Europe."

13 comments:

arianit said...

Cut the BS Mr. Draskovic! Almost every single modern country in Europe and elswhere was established through crime, ethnic cleansing, and environmental degradation. Just because Europe did this in the mid 19th century and Serbia in the the late 19-early 20th century, you can't deny it to Albanians today.
Don't go farther, just read your own book "Noz" (the Knife) where you call for genocide on Bosniaks because "that's the Serbian way". It's been quoted by quite some characters as the source of inspiration for their massacres.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

1. Arianit may have missed it : Albania already is a country.
2. And, remembering that the KLA has already fostered Albian separatists in Presevo and FYROM less than five years ago.
4. Also remembering, the KLA was not a poster child among independence movements. It was still listed by the US as a terrorist organization in the late 90's, but fairer to say it was a Kosovo front for transnational ethnic Albanian criminal organizations.

Would (is) a Kosovo with a KLA derived government be much different? Draskovic is right - it would endanger stability in the Balkans. Of course, not giving independence will also endanger stability. Its a classic lose/lose situation.

dave said...

Extremely simplified fantasy world you live in "fellow peacekeeper".

lose/lose? for who? Serbia?

Perhaps, but they are being punished by the international community for outrageous crimes and irresponsible governance over one of their largest ehtnic minorities (the albanians in kosovo).
Although arianit said "can't deny it to albanians today", it was clear to anyone familiar with the region that he was referring to kosovars and not the country Albania.

How familiar are you with Kosovar politics? How familiar are you with the United State's proud support of the developing statesman Ramush Haradinaj who peacefully surrendered to the Hague when asked (as did the three KLA members - 2 of which were declared innocent last week)? Are you aware of Veton Surroi? Ibrahim Rugova? Each of these men are established statesmen who have proven they are driven by values of decency and international law instead of ethnic supremecy or historical fantasy (as is the current Serb nationalist leadership).

There is absolutely no way that an independent Kosovo will endanger stability in the balkans any more than the current limbo that the UN has maintained for the last 6 years. Clearly the economy could not be any worse in Kosovo than it is at the moment. Provide international investors with strong incentive to invest (i.e. an independent former-communist nation) and the local population will prosper. This will in turn take the fire out of any extremist's ideology, etc etc etc.

i would like to call on all internationals to stop making the rest of us look arrogant and ignorant by posting such ridiculous, un-founded comments here. if you would like a further lesson in the region, i am more than happy to oblige.

dave

illyrianboy said...

Dave,

thanks for a non-judgmental international account of the situation.

Most of internationals are very judgmental and nonchalant. If you scratch the surface of their words you will see: These Balkan people are crazy anyway so who cares about them.

Also, you can sense that Serbian propaganda which claims that all Albanians are criminals and terrorists (the new catchword), is working to some extent.

Fellow Peacekeeper said...

Its a worry when some project collective guilt onto Serbia (and all Serbs?) as an excuse for excesses by the other side, and seems to think that the international community is conducting its actions in order to punish Serbia, and Mr Illyrianboy calls that "non-judgemental".

Precisely this disconnect from external reality showed by both parties to the conflict shows little prospect of improvement.

Mr Haradinaj's surrender was of course a good sign. However, Haridinaj's gesture was only made possible by the election of an indicted war criminal to Kosovo by the electorate, which hardly creditable. Furthermore, in retrospect, it is clear that there was a deal done before he handed himself in, and he was never going to be jailed. (As an aside the US has also supported such international luminaries as Aristide, Mobutu, Saddam Hussein at some time or other.)

As regards the other politicians : Rugova is unfortunately dying, but you forgot to mention Albin Kurti.

And the irresponsible and hopelessly slanted Kosovo media apparently continues its happy way by concentrating on the acquittal of two instead of the much more important conviction of the third.

While Serbia may be using the "T" word in propaganda now, the US government was referring to organization as terrorist and investigating KLA ties to Al Quaida as late as 1999 http://www.fas.org/irp/world/para/docs/fr033199.htm

Lose/lose was referring to regional stability, something which has only been made possible by the continuing presence of occupying forces and that nasty continuing limbo.

And finally, as regards ad hominien comments, Mr Dave (stateless amateur musician?), while we understand your burning need to illuminate the world based on extensive travels during a couple months holiday (or whatever), please do not strain yourself to speak on behalf all "internationals" (or is that internationalists?).

Arber_Dardani said...

Isn't this the same Vuk Draskovic that said if he caught any Albanians carrying an Albanian flag, he would chop of their hands so that thay can't hold the Albanian flag anymore?

illyrianboy said...

Mr. fellow_peacekeeper, you need to get your facts straight.

1. No one is projecting collective guilt of Serbia. Let me remind you that Serbs voted continuously for Milosevic in much larger percentages than Germans did for Hitler.

2. When the indictment of Haradinaj was made public 4 months after the elections had passed. He was already a Prime minister, and also his party was only the third in votes.

3. Investigation is one thing, the results of investigation are another. Anyone can start an investigation about any organizations relationship - or lack of - with any other organization. One thing is true, however, KLA never had any relations with any other radical organizations, let alone Al Qaeda.

4. Don't take this as an ad hominem, but I don't think you can qualify as a representative of internationals, either.

Cheers

armera said...

Dear Fellow Peacekeeper,

Is it peacekeeper as in Srebrenica, or Rwanda?
I am sorry for being so direct, but your level of judgment and thinking doesn’t allow me to go into any further argument with you. These matters I think are far to complex for you to understand. Pack your bags and go home, who knows? Someone home may have a job for you.

P.S. Do you actually know what the definition of the word T is?

arianit said...

Fellow Peacekeeper,
Evolvement of opinion and ideas is something I prize a lot. It is a value of intelligent people and governments.
So, let me point you some inconsistencies in your piece.
1) Show me a direct quote where the State Department labeled KLA as terrorist organization. I just searched both BBC.co.uk and State.gov and there is nothing about that. Gelbard (remember him?) did so in an oral statement in Belgrade once, and his explanation was "I know a terrorist when I look at one." Kinda Bush saying I know God is with me. He had a gut feeling, or maybe he was high ;) Now, this is strictly my speculation, but if there was ever a trap for Milosevic, this was the one: same Gelbard three months later declared that Belgrade is committing crimes and went on to tell Rugova's pacifists, "What are you waiting for, Superman?" Meaning, in our thinking, you start it, we finish it.
2) Ramush was not indicted until the day before he went to Hague. Did you know it earlier? Although he was highly respected in the Dukagjin area where he had fought, his poll numbers were not impressive. Rugova choose to appoint him although he could have formed the government with other parties. Nevertheless, Western Ambassadors to Prishtina claimed that in his 100 days in government Rambush did more than all other previous governments combined.
4) Rambush was in jail until August (time flies when you're out, doesn't it), while waiting his turn for the trial. And since Anglo-Saxon legal system presumes him innocent until proven guilty, I don't see where the deal is for him being free while waiting trial.
3) "The third convicted one" was a simple farmer that nobody had heard of before. I believe even the judges said something of the sorts.

Let's not make this discussion just about Kosova, tell me where you're from so I can dispute your country’s right to exist based on some statistic (you're probably Christian so I can't use that card) and how it came to be because obviously you seem to be writing from the high moral ground.

dave said...
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dave said...

- This "projected collective guilt" you proclaim exists only in the minds of those who were directly affected by the crimes of the Serbian regime and those who have not thoroughly studied the region or its history. I am not one of those assigning collective guilt to all Serbs, nor (amazingly) do many of the Kosovars who saw their villages and families destroyed. There was a war. Extremely high prices were paid. Now the Kosovars are ready to move on and become the European nation they should have become 100 years ago. The international community supports this idea, not to punish Serbia, but because it is the most logical solution based on several socioeconomic and political reasons. And you still think that this will inevitably lead to greater instability in the region? PLEASE come back to this forum in two years. Seriously, I would love that. We can talk about that issue then.

- And regarding your comments about the election of Hajradinaj (which as arianit already mentioned was not an overwhelming majority), I thought the point of our efforts was indeed to create a democratic society in which the Kosovars could elect their own leaders? Based on the incredible progress made during his brief tenure as prime minister as well as his statesmen-like conduct despite the horrors that he witnessed committed by his former enemy (the Serbian state), he has shown a far greater capability of running a nation fairly than most of the Serbian leadership has shown. "At a dinner held soon after Kosovo's first assembly elections in 2001, members were asked to mix and mingle. Haradinaj headed straight over to a Serbian delegate, where he sat down and conversed all evening with him about judo."

"Rugova is unfortunately dying, but you forgot to mention Albin Kur"
... who is not an elected politician. And you forgot to discuss Veton Surroi the other two leading parties in Kosovo not associated with the KLA.

"the irresponsible and hopelessly slanted Kosovo media apparently continues its happy way by concentrating on the acquittal of two instead of the much more important conviction of the third"
- I think the others in this forum have handled this ignorant comment well enough.

- And as far as your personal attack on my character, I'd like you to hear you support your statement "Burning muslim bodies is a trifle." And to clarify my position, I am American and my sojourns in Kosovo are of the nature of business, academia and friendship.

It is certainly great to see discussion about Kosovo among not only Kosovars of all ethnicities, but those from other nations as well. Seriously though, I want to know why you think that an independent Kosovo would be worse for regional stability than any other solution? Take into consideration the subsequent economic growth and the fact that Kosovars would no longer have to fear being oppressed and killed by the Serbian government at some point again in the future. And forget any fantasies of a "Greater Albania". Most Kosovars have zero desire for such an entity and indeed many even feel a distance between themselves and the Albanians of Albania (a lot changed under 40 years of hard communist isolation).

Visit Prishtina said...
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