Skip to comments.Key to Kosovo Serb survival
Posted on 01/27/2006 8:50:29 AM PST by montyspython
Key to Kosovo Serb survival
By Misa Djurkovic
For the Kosovo Serbs living since 1999 in enclaves heavily guarded by NATO troops, subject to murders, kidnappings and restricted freedom of movement, negotiations on decentralization of Kosovo in the first round of talks on the future status of the province beginning on 25th January in Vienna is an essential key to survival.
Indeed, when in the summer of 1999 Serbian forces retreated from the province and Albanian extremists waged a large-scale campaign of ethnic violence and intimidation, the Serb community managed to survive only in several enclaves in which it organized strongholds despite great suffering.
Image Too Graphic to Show
16-year-old Kosovo Serb, Dimitrije Popovic died when Albanian gunmen fired from a car into a group of young Serbs at a hamburger kiosk at 2 a.m. Saturday, June 5, 2004.
Since then, the key factor for the survival of Serbs in Kosovo has been the preservation of their own institutions, like health care, education and administrative offices issuing documents or performing civil marriage ceremonies.
It is thus not difficult to understand why all these institutions have become a special target of Albanian separatist militants in the past six years.
Despite the 2001 agreement between the UN mission in Kosovo and Belgrade, which recognized the legality of all those institutions, Albanian leaders and some parts of the international community are still referring to them as parallel, thus attempting to denote them as illegal, lawless and an obstacle to the development of a multiethnic Kosovo.
The reality is quite the contrary. It is exactly in the territories nominally proclaimed multiethnic that the arrival of Albanian institutions has led to the dismantling of the Serb institutions and the permanent dislodging of the Serb population. The Serb population is indeed unwilling to accept that their children must begin to learn in Albanian language or that they should be taught that the Serbs are occupiers in Kosovo. At the same time, Serbs neither trust the quality of Albanian hospital services, nor do they trust the competence of Albanian doctors.
In a situation in which the majority of the Serb population in Kosovo has no freedom of movement, these institutions are their only source of security.
The international community in Kosovo has realized that if it wants to preserve at least a part of the Serb population in Kosovo, it must allow them to autonomously lead their own institutions, with the help of the Serbian government. This has led to a tolerance of de facto autonomy for the Serbian communities in Kosovo, despite a staunch opposition from the ethnic Albanians.
While Belgrades call for decentralization, as a model for survival of the Serbs in Kosovo, remained largely unaswered for years, the terrible anti-Serb violence of March 2004 served as a final wake-up call to the international community. Decentralization came to be seen as a barrier against all those in the Albanian community seeking an ethnically clean Kosovo.
The Belgrade government plan of April 2004 had clear and well-defined ideas about decentralization, which included creating the possibility for the return of some 220,000 Serbs expelled by Albanian extremists from Kosovo since 1999.
The response of the UN Mission in Kosovo was to propose a plan which, a year and a half later, proved to be a failure: it offered too little to the Serbs, while the Albanians did not care to implement it.
Today, as the negotiations on the talks on the future status of Kosovo begin, it is key to understand that decentralization is a crucial matter for the Serbs and all other non-Albanian communities.
No matter where the border will be after the negotiations, if Serbs are to stay in Kosovo, they should be able to enjoy all essential freedoms and rights, which can only be guaranteed by a substantial decentralization process.
What should decentralization involve?
1. This project should officialize and legalize the type of autonomy which already de facto exists in those small communities where Serbs represent a majority of population. Per definition, it should formalize the already existing relationship with Belgrade. Every year, Serbia contributes 50 million euros to the viability of this project, for its administrative functioning and the solving of social problems of the territory. At the same time, it is crucial to find a mechanism for establishing a relationship with Pristina while performing all those activities.
2. It is important to gradually transmit some of the competency to the level of Serbian communities, especially in the domain of the judiciary and security. It is key to find a solution which would precisely define the division of authority between municipalities and ministries in Pristina.
3. Finally, if the international community and the Albanian leaders really want the Serbs to return to their homes, it is crucial to facilitate the establishment of new Serb municipalities, especially in those isolated enclaves which have the worst living conditions for the Serb population. Unfortunatelly, nowadays, Serbs can go back to Kosovo and integrate only in those communities in which the Serb population represents a majority and where it appears most possible to start building trust with Albanian neighbours.
As a result, no matter the final outcome of status talks, decentralization remains a key priority for the Serb community and a precondition for the development of a multiethnic Kosovo. Without decentralization it will be impossible to attract back Serbs who have been chased from their homes and provide safe and dignified life for Serbs still living in Kosovo.
Yes, Clinton's Wilsonian war to save spread democracy in Kosovo created negative blowblack, just as Bush's Wilsonian war to spread democracy in Iraq did. You are right sir.
Mr. Clinton is most certainly familiar with blowing.
Decentralization? well....how about Albanians going back to their so-called "homeland" - Albania...or Turkey or the west bank.
That sounds like a decent decentralization plan.
There might still be time to give Kosovo back to Serbia before the UN comes over here demanding that we hand California and Texas over to Vincente Fox on the same basis.
The US supports Kosovo's Independence, a very bad precedence.
That would be a novel idea, Albanians living in Albania.
That would be a novel idea, Albanians living in Albania
LOL. If they're so jingoistic that's where they belong...
Supports it........?? They have a website and lobbying group. Check this change of tone from 1998 to present....
Holbrooke: An independent Kosovo would "unravel Southeastern Europe."
JIM LEHRER: And they want an independent Kosovo ruled by Albanians, right?
RICHARD HOLBROOKE: Yes. And more. I met with several Albanian leaders in Kosovo who said their goal is an independent Kosovo, their goal is to recreate the Greater Albania that existed briefly during the 30's and 40's, which includes Albania, Kosovo, and part of Macedonia. That, I can tell you, Jim, would unravel Southeastern Europe and dramatically increase the chances of a general war. And that's why the situation is both not the same as Bosnia and why it's so dangerous
I really need to stress this point so people do not misunderstand it. The Kosovo Albanians have been very badly treated for over a decade by the Serb minority in Kosovo. Their rights have been denied and the Yugoslav federal constitution was changed to reduce their powers. This was entirely wrong, and it led to the inevitable reaction which we're now seeing. At the same time, the violent solution which is being advocated by the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army, which is really not an army but a lot of different groups that are gradually forming an infrastructure of resistance, this approach is highly dangerous to stability in the region.
they actually don't get along. K-Albanians don't like the Albania Albanians. In WWII, it's interesting to note that K-Albanians linked up with Hitler and formed an Albanians SS group called Skenderburg Division. They murdered thousands of Slavs and Jews starting in 1943. Guess what? Hitler promised them a Greater Albania if they did. The Albania Albanians were not involved. They didn't resist Hitler but they didn't join either. They actually didn't like the Germans.
"That would be a novel idea, Albanians living in Albania."
******Oh, I may have mentioned this earlier in other posts, but.....Today, the NLA in Macedonia, as we know as far back as 2003, has an organization in Macedonia. Ok, we know that. Also, the MPRI assisted the NLA during the Macedonian conflict. At one point, 17 were there. So, guess what they named the Northern group in 2003.....?? "The Skenderburg Division"........:) can you dig it....?? Same as WWII.
You read the reasons we are there......that policy could change depending on the independence issue, as I said, and after what will happen....
Bump for later reading.
"Let the Serbs under the new regime take back control of Kosovo. That is the only viable solution. Those Albanians that wish to live in peace with the Serbs so be it, but those that want to continue the violence let them at their own peril because the Serbs will sort them out..."
****** this would be the exact solution and would work. In other words we and the UN butt out and let them deal it.
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