An interview with Gerard Gallucci, the former UN Regional Representative in Mitrovica, in which he discusses how the actions of Pristina and the support of NATO has – by hardening the line between Serbs and Albanians – made partition ever more likely.
By Stefano Giantin
1) How do you judge the decision of Pristina to regain control over the border crossing with Serbia?
It was a provocation, a way to prevent diplomacy and negotiations. It probably had some sort of quiet support from the major international supporters of Kosovo. It was a mistake.
2) “Cui prodest”, who gains from all this mess?
I can’t say for sure, and see that the US Ambassador in Serbia denied that the US encouraged this move. But it’s hard to believe that PM Thaci would move in such a provocative manner without some sort of encouragement or a blind eye from the US Ambassador in Pristina.
3) Do you think Kosovo authorities acted alone, or they got some “green light” from the international community? From which countries?
At the UN Security Council, the USA and the UK tried to prevent Serbia from taking this to the SC. So, it makes me wonder what Washington and London have to hide.
4) It seems that UK and the US are trying to postpone the UN Security Council on Kosovo. Why?
For some reason, US, UK and Germany have consistently been of the opinion that with some strong use of force in the North, the Serbs of the North will surrender to Pristina. They tried that in 2008, they try it now again and it’s not working and it’s making the situation difficult. And it’s not leading the Serbs to surrender. So, why those three countries have taken this position? The important questions is if they will learn the lesson this time.
5) PM Thaci spoke about a “no going back” situation. Do you think we’ll see an escalation of the violence in the near future?
I think this is a clear danger. With a policeman killed in the North, with bloodshed, something that peacekeepers always try to avoid, this provocation has forced Serbia to stand up and take this to the UN, and on the other side you have Thaci not baking down, making difficult for any negotiation in the near future. Hopefully Thaci will not force any more action in the North that would make things worse.
6) Is secession now a realistic option?
The actions of Pristina and the support of the Nato forces make partition more likely, because it has hardened the line between Serbs and Albanians. It’s time perhaps for the Un to take over the North and send its peacekeepers back, because this is maybe the only way to keep peace until there is a political settlement.
Stefano Giantin is a journalist based in Belgrade. Since 2004, Stefano has covered the Balkans and Eastern Europe for several Italian newspapers and magazines, in particular for the daily Il Piccolo (Trieste). He has previously worked as a human rights expert and as a documentary filmmaker in Kosovo. His portfolio is available at www.stefanogiantin.net
This interview initially appeared on Stefano’s website, and is available by clicking here.
Gerard M. Gallucci is a retired US diplomat and UN peacekeeper. He worked as part of US efforts to resolve the conflicts in Angola, South Africa and Sudan and as Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council. He served as UN Regional Representative in Mitrovica, Kosovo from July 2005 until October 2008 and as Chief of Staff for the UN mission in East Timor from November 2008 until June 2010. He is currently an adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Gerard is also a member of TransConflict’s advisory board. The views expressed in this piece are his own and do not represent the position of any organization.