Wednesday, December 14, 2005

U.N. envoy says Kosovo still far from the deal on its future

PRISTINA, Serbia-Montenegro (AP) - A U.N. envoy told ethnic Albanian leaders Wednesday that minority protection was essential to resolving Kosovo's disputed status.

Albert Rohan, who is helping U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari lead the talks, also told representatives of the Serb minority in Kosovo to participate in the province's political life, which they have boycotted for nearly two years.

"Status won't come automatically," Rohan told reporters, concluding his visit in Kosovo.

"The solution won't fall from heaven," he said. "They have to really pull up their socks and start to work."

Rohan urged ethnic Albanian leaders to reach out to the Serb and other minorities living here by addressing issues such as local government reform aimed at giving them more say in the areas where they live.

Kosovo's 100,000-strong Serb minority lives in isolated enclaves, protected by NATO-led peacekeepers. Their leaders have refused participation in the province's ethnic-Albanian dominated institutions since a wave of riots by ethnic Albanian mobs targeted them in 2004.

"We want them to have a future in Kosovo, we want to facilitate this and guarantee this, but they must also participate in shaping the future of Kosovo," Rohan said of the Serbs.

After the meetings in Kosovo, Rohan traveled to Serbia's capital, Belgrade.

Kosovo, officially a province of Serbia-Montenegro, has been administered by the United Nations since a 1999 NATO bombing campaign halted the Serbian crackdown on independence-seeking ethnic Albanians.

The U.N.-mediated talks on solving Kosovo's future status are expected to formally begin in January. Negotiations are expected to be tough, with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority insisting on independence, while Serbia and the Serb minority wanting to retain at least formal control over the region.

Rohan said that the intetention of joining the European Union one day was an essential incentive in the process of determining the future of the province, but conceded that the body "is in crisis" over the future enlargement which could eventually bring in the countries of the Balkans.


Dardania 2006 said...

This is a warning by the international community that we must accept Decentralization as part of the negotiations. This might infact be the ticket to our independence without starting the second Kosovar independence war.

I think the Kosovars should not be affraid of decentralization as long as the influence by the Serbian Repubic is limited to almost nothing, and there are no change of borders.

Can someone enlighten me more about this whole decentralization issue? Is there an official document proclaiming what it is?

dave said...

Quick comment about this blog first (hopefully the admin is reading this).
It could be useful to have a list at the top right-hand side of the page showing the most recent discussions? I have found that sometimes a discussion carries on for a week or two, but continually gets pushed down the page (i.e.
Is that possible?
**also, why enter a "letter code" each time i want to post if i'm already signed in? is there a way around this??

Regarding decentralization, my understanding was that it is a plan that essentialy aims to improve the distribution/collection of state taxes and electoral representation. I think it has gotten a lot of bad press because certain elements want to take advantage of this to create clean "ethnic lines" which they think could later be used for border drawing. This however is not an option and the international community as well as the Kosovar government are aware of that. My understanding is that some of the districts will include different ethnic majorities, but no district will be ethnically pure. A good place to start research might be to contact the US office in Prishtina about information outlining decentralzation(?) Or maybe the UN admin(?) not sure. My limited info about decentralization comes from a discussion I had in Kosova with an international official, however this was a year ago and I really can't remember the exact details.
Anyone else understand the core principles here?

illyrianboy said...


there was a decentralization plan put forward by UNMIK two years ago (?). And most importantly, the Kosovar Government came up with a plan (which was approved by UNMIK) last year. They have began with a pilot project, which created 5 new municipalities. Out of these five 2 are mostly inhabited by Serbs (Gracanica and Partesh), 2 are inhabited by Albanians (Junik and Hani i Elezit) and 1 is inhabited by Turks (Mamusha). The opposition parties have not endorsed this plan, saying that it creates division along ethnic lines.

Anyway, as always, Belgrade is using the issue of decentralization to try to gain as much as possible from the negotiations. The international community is falling in Belgrades trap (as has happened before). Decentralization shouldn't be part of the negotiation because it is a Kosovo issue. And it has already begun. The Kosovo Govt. has shown good will to reform the local government. This would give more power to the people, including minorities. In turn they would be more inclined to stay in Kosovo (the Serbs). But the international community is ignoring the good will of Kosovo Govt. and is pushing Albanians with their back against the wall.

Google Local Government Reform in Kosovo and you will find info (Duh!). I mean there has been research done by think tanks on the issue.

Good luck

leonora said...

consider this albanian rap