Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Kosovo must act now to protect Serb minority - EU

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Kosovo's ethnic Albanian government must take action now to protect its Serbian minority, the European Union's foreign policy chief told new Kosovan Prime Minister Agim Ceku on Wednesday.

"For a long time there has been a lot of talk but not much action. I think we have to reverse that now, to talk less and act more," Javier Solana said after talks with Ceku.

"I insist very much that ... this is fundamental."

Full protection of the 10 percent Serbian minority in Kosovo is essential for talks launched in February on the status of the Serbian province to move forward, an EU official said.

Still legally part of Serbia, the province of 2 million people has been run by the United Nations since 1999 when NATO drove out Yugoslav forces accused of atrocities against Albanian civilians in two years of fighting with separatist guerrillas.

Ceku, a former guerrilla commander, pledged to work on the EU's demands to enhance Serbian minority rights and build trust.

"We would like to make gestures in the coming months to send signals that we are very clear on integrating minorities," he told reporters.

"We are very clear on wanting Serbs to stay in Kosovo, to be equal, to be free, to be secure, and to love Kosovo and make (it) home and to treat Kosovo as home as well," Ceku added.

A third round of talks between Kosovo Albanians and the Serbian government on the status of Kosovo, mediated by former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari, is set for April 3.

Foreign Secretary Jack Straw was the first senior minister to say this month that Kosovo's path to independence from Serbia was "almost inevitable".

Western powers want the Albanians to make concessions first to the Kosovo Serbs, isolated and targeted by sporadic violence since the end of the war, when half the Serb population fled.

After their second round of talks last week, Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians clashed over the extent to which Kosovo Serbs should run their own affairs and enjoy special ties to Belgrade.

Serbia has proposed creating a Serb entity within Kosovo. The Albanians say this means ethnic partition and are proposing a more modest decentralisation without links to Belgrade.

"The differences are enormous," said Albanian negotiator Blerim Shala.

Serbia has accused Ceku, 45, a former senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), of murder and terrorism. He was named prime minister by Kosovo's parliament on March 10.


Independence for Kosova said...

Serbia has accused Ceku, 45, a former senior commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), of murder and terrorism. He was named prime minister by Kosovo's parliament on March 10."

And yet the SERBIAN govt claims Slobodan AKA "BUTCHER OF BALKAN" as a hero? No wonder the whole world does NOT give a shit what Serbia thinks. "Thank GOD we live in a world where people aren't prosecuted on suspicion".

Mir said...

"And yet the SERBIAN govt claims Slobodan AKA "BUTCHER OF BALKAN" as a hero?"

If you're asking a question you yourself, already know the answer is no. So dont play games.

Good article.

Anonymous said...

This will be an interesting period. Kosovalive was reporting today that Rahovec (Orahovac) Serbs told president and SPSS on their visit yesterday that most of them will leave outright if Kosova is granted independence. With independence certain, does it matter how much protection Serbs get?

fauna said...

i have a feeling that the kosovar serbs will get much better treatment than serbia will offer

Mir said...

"i have a feeling that the kosovar serbs will get much better treatment than serbia will offer "

sadly I would have to agree. Unless they have heridetary property in Serbia proper they are pretty much screwed with the current state of our economy.

Anonymous said...

Amessage to any serb intent on continuing to loive in Kosova after independence.
1/ a knew mentality
2/ a new way of treating fellow human beings
3/ that Kosova & Montenegro for that matter are and will always be much more western minded than serbia will ever be and that west is best for life (in all areas of life - work, human rights, business, etc, etc).

AND...serbs wanting to remain in Kosova MUST :

1/ Treat Albanians as their good friends and neighbours because only by doing this will they (serbs) secure & insure a bright and prosperous future for themselves and their future generations in Kosova.

2/ Tell serbia proper to stay out of their political lives and stop playing (exploiting) them, etc, etc.

3/ Tell their religious leaders (inside and outside of Kosova) to stay out of their politics FOREVER.

In short, all serbs wanting to remain in Kosova must become a part of the western world and leave the eastern mentality as soon as possible as has the overwhelming majority of the Albanian youth in the Balkans.

the patriot

Anonymous said...

But it goes both ways for all minorities--not just Serbs. Kosovo has to be a State protecting all minorities not just the Serbs and accepting them. Naturally the demographics mean that it will be a majority Albanian state but the majority Albanians can't make the same mistakes that the Serbs did.

If the Serbs want to be accepted they have to come out of their hole and participate in Kosovan life on every level and not expect special treatment but the same treatment as everyone else.They should be given the same equal opportunity as anyone else. if the Albanians do that then they will have really led the way for the whole region in terms of being a model state even beyond Slovenia.The whole key to human rights and minority rights is to treat the individual as precious and to protect people as individuals.

This should really be enshrined in every policy and every symbolic moment. So when the flag for Kosova is created then it needs to be done with minority issues in mind. In other words, don't be like the Macedonians who made a flag only for Macedonians leaving symbols for Albanians, Roma and Turks out. Take a hint from the French or US flag and have one that represents principals of a state as opposed to ethnicity. Ethnicity has little to do with a nation.

Unfortunately what all the balkan states need are Garibaldis he stated that after the union of Italy he needed to now create Italians. Kosova is here but Kosovans are not.

Anonymous said...

The official language of Kosova will be Albanian and that's it. Just as German is the official language of Austria. the minorities can use their own language but in cities where Albanians out way serb or any other minority, then Albanian and only Albanian should be used in state intitutions.
Example: it would not be expected that Albanians health workers should learn or know serbian in a hospital wher more than 50% of the people living in the particular area that the hospital is found are Albanian, etc, etc.
Oh and by the way...the flag will be chosen by referendum!! It's the only democratic thing to do.

the patriot

Anonymous said...

The official languages NOW are Albanian,Serbian and English. Personally I think Turkish should be added to that roster (and possibly Roma) and people should be proficient in more than one of them. The official language of Austria is German but if you go into hospital there (and I have been) you can get serviced in english and in many other languages (including Albanian and Serbian btw in Vienna). In the US there is a federal requirment that if anyone enters the hospital and the doctor does not speak the same language as the patient a translator is provided immediately. In NYC certain city civil service positions Spanish,Russian,Mandarin,Cantonese and other languages are required as second languages to service the minority groups. Even the police are required to have language assistants on hand.

I think if a Serb goes into Prishtina hospital they should be given the same rights as anyone else and if that means providing a translator when necessary so be it. That should be the same for an Albanian entering a hospital in N. Mitro. Would it be better if everyone at least spoke all five languages in Kosovo? Yes that would be brilliant but a lot of people don't and almost all minorities except for Serbs do speak Albanian. It would be great if the Serbs would try and integrate more and learn Albanian (and internationals too) but right now the majority have to provide equal access to all institutions. In all majority and minority situations the majority must keep the perspective of the minority in mind and give them respect.

If Kosovars really want a mature state then EVERYONE has to be accomadated.

Anonymous said...

And this isn't just smart to do from a human rights/security and just plain being a decent people standpoint. If equal rights aren't given then Kosova will be punished by the international community.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a waste of time, energy and clicking the words of the tastiers to talk more about the new Hitler-milosevic. Serbians can call it whatever meanwhile the whole world knows who he was and what kind of "man" (if he was a man) used to be.

vjosa gjilan said...

I think it is a waste of time, energy and clicking the words of the tastiers to talk more about the new Hitler-milosevic. Serbians can call it whatever meanwhile the whole world knows who he was and what kind of "man" (if he was a man) used to be.

12:42 PM

Anonymous said...


At the local level any group with at least 5% of the population gets to use its own language in the administration.

Anonymous said...

This is true, any group with 5% gets to use it's own language on the local level. However, that doesn't necessarily pan out in day-to-day terms. I dare any one of you to go to N.Mitro and use Albanian in the local hospital.

The Albanian side is a bit better but not by much. In Prizren the situation is the best but in other places there is a lot of work that needs to be done. There was a fabulous program which I hope they will bring back, where a shopkeeper could put a sign in a window showing that he (or she) welcomed anyone of all ethnicities into the store. They did this program in Gjilan and it seemed to work quite well. They need to bring it Kosovo-wide and start a campaign to really get people to understand what tolerance means and what the status agreements will really mean at the end of the day.

Independence for Kosova said...

"If you're asking a question you yourself, already know the answer is no."
I know the answer. Also mir im glad you admit that it is better for the K-serbs to stay in Kosova then Serbia.
Also I agree that Albanian should be the official language. In school kids should be allowed to learn other languages but Albanian should be MANDAtORy. In America no one can go to college without 2 years of 1 foreign language. They should do this for Kosova also. The serbs could choose Serbian/Croatian/Bosnian or English.

Where in the world have you seen places labeled in 2 languages? It's ridiculous. I say KASTRIOT someone else says Dragash..come on, one name so we can all understand it.

Anonymous said...

I've seen it in loads of places (Kazakhstan comes to mind immediately but some areas of Macedonia, in some parts of the Middle East, Africa, even Austria was considering having placenames in southern Austrian traffic signs put in Slovenian,Republic of Ireland, Wales, Scotland).

And it's not true that everywhere in America are people required to take 2 years of a foreign language it depends on where you go. Otherwise more Americans would be able to speak a foreign language at least passably.

Again, Albanian already is an official language, the question is not about whether Albanian should be learnt by as many people who live in Kosova as possible but rather, how minority languages (and hence minorities) should be treated in terms of access.

Kristian said...

To: All

The current system of Albanian, English, and Serbian should suit everyone fine.

The majority is albanian and that will suit the majority. Of the majority a lot do speak serbian and they have no problem with it. And a smaller part of the majority speaks English.

Tri lingual or bi lingual state is not a new concept. Switzerland if I'm not mistaken has German, French, and Italian. Canada english and french and indian (indegious languages which there are many). USA english at the moment but more and more states are bi lingual. A trilingual society would suit all Kosovans.

Based only on language and our territorial surroundings. The majority of the border borders a slavic language speaking people. And in reality those neighbors will end up being one of our largest economic trade partners. No matter how you slice it.

For the minorities, it would be in their best interest to learn the language of the majority (speaking of serbs). The other minorites already speak albanian. None of them have a problem. The advice of having an interpreter is great. In america you have forms in multiple languages in all facets of govt/private institutions. Ex. Hospitals, social services, labor laws, etc...

If we look at one area where their is a huge potential is Tourism. If we did have a Trilingual state it would benefit everyone in the Tourism Industry. Westerners almost all know English. English would help boost tourism. Albanian would naturally do so bc of the majority, and serbian would invite a huge untapped market from our neighbors.

When it comes to place names: it can easily be solved by referrendum by the Kosovans. Or simply make signs in all 3 languages. The contractor making those signs could benefit and create an industry to help the civil engineering dept of the state.

English would help in dealing with westerners in business/investors and securing investments. Less confusion and its pretty much a standard in business.

You don't need to be so die hard in mandating that only Albanian be spoken. Compromise! Very simple solution. Having 3 languages creates jobs and specialties in all areas of the economy. And believe me we need to create jobs. It is vital.

The serbs should be open minded about learning. It would benefit them greatly. The more you know the better its for you and makes you a more wholesome person personally and culturally.

Kristian said...

As far as the Flag Goes it should be created not based on Ethnicity but the state and its ppl. You can have red, black, white, and blue.

RED for passion!

BLACK for mourning (for the hardships endured by the ppl over the ages)!

WHITE for PEACE, purity and innocence!

And BLUE stands for loyalty, faithfulness, love, intellectualty goals and insight, faith, and spiritual maturity. ...

I think these colours could make a great Flag for all to respect.

Any comments on this anyone?