ISSN 2330-717X

Kosovo – What A Mess

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By Gerard Gallucci

Though it is winter and should have been a time for nothing much to happen, over the last few weeks Kosovo has produced nothing but bad news. First an election with so much fraud that it required another election to be held in order to fix it. Then a Council of Europe (CoE) report alleging that Kosovo’s top leadership had been involved in organ and people trafficking in 1999-2000. This was followed by another CoE report criticizing Kosovo for its failure to protect witnesses of war crimes. The European and American supporters of Kosovo independence were said to have overlooked these issues in the name of political stability. To top it off, the Kosovo leadership has sought to discredit the Swiss investigator who authored the trafficking report – labeling it as Nazi-like propaganda – and conducted what the Washington Post described as a “witch hunt” against Albanians who aided the investigation.

All this comes at a time when the European Union and UN are standing by to facilitate talks between Belgrade and Pristina that some hoped would lead to negotiations and eventual agreement on the remaining political issues that have blocked Kosovo from moving forward. Fewer than 40% of the UN membership recognizes Kosovo independence despite the recent decision by Qatar (#73) to do so. Five members of the EU continue to refuse recognition. It seems clear that Kosovo will reach the third year anniversary of its independence declaration in February as a still un-finished state. It seems likely as well that it will reach that date without a government, or with one severely weakened by continuing charges of corruption and electoral fraud, a cobbled-together coalition that may not be able to survive a vote of no-confidence and a leadership that few countries, including “friends,” will be eager to embrace. Negotiations on substantive issues under these conditions are unlikely to be fruitful if they occur at all.

How did all this happen? Four reasons emerge: the Quint’s decision to push ahead with a unilateral declaration of independence without the sanction of the UN Security Council and then to seek to brush the UN aside; Serbia’s effective diplomacy to raise questions about the declaration and prevent a landslide of recognitions; the refusal of hardliners among the supporters of independence – especially the US and UK – to accept any form of compromise with Belgrade while they supported Pristina’s efforts to bully Kosovo Serbs into submission; and the US and EU strategy – while exercising leadership of both UNMIK and EULEX – of appeasing the Kosovo Albanians in order to maintain “control” and stability. The “independent” Kosovo was allowed to come into the world with vast problems – political, economic and criminal – swept under the carpet while the Quint focused on seeking to pressure Serbia to simply surrender its claim to the territory.

It would be easy to say that the US/EU effort to force their desired outcome for Kosovo has backfired. But the real issue is now how to move forward with a Kosovo that is not only incomplete but likely to remain so indefinitely without a political settlement both sides will accept and without continued international tutelage for many years to come. There seems only one way forward, for the internationals to make another try to achieve a political solution, this time with Belgrade directly. The Kosovo Albanians cannot keep up their end in any genuine negotiation as long as they pursue their maximalist claim to all of Kosovo on their terms. Indeed, they would have to be strongly constrained during any negotiations from seeking to provoke instability within Kosovo or the region as a “bargaining chip.” The six-member Contact Group – the Quint countries of the US, UK, German, Italy and France plus Russia – should work together with Belgrade on a political accommodation that accepts Kosovo independence as a fact but also recognizes Serbian interests, including economic and commercial and vis-a-vis the Church and the Serbian-majority north. The mess that Kosovo has become requires a new approach to begin cleaning up.

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. Gerard is also a member ofTransCconflict’s advisory board. The views expressed in this piece are his own and do not represent the position of any organization. You can read more of Mr. Gallucci’s analysis of current developments in Kosovo and elsewhere by clicking here.

TransConflict

TransConflict

TransConflict was established in response to the challenges facing intra- and inter-ethnic relations in the Western Balkans. It is TransConflict’s assertion that the successful transformation of conflict requires a multi-dimensional approach that engages with and aims at transforming the very interests, relationships, discourses and structures that underpin and fuel outbreaks of low- and high-intensity violence.

6 thoughts on “Kosovo – What A Mess

  • Avatar
    January 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm
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    You Mr Galluci are being paid by the Serbs. We all know your actions when you worked in Northern Kosovo. Now that the UN money bag has run dry you have turned to your real masters Serbia and Russia. Good luck to you and anyone that thinks that they will able to prove what is medically impassible. it is because of people like you that Kosovo is where it is now. When you awarded the land to Serbia in 1914 as a reward for fighting against the ottomans. So with all due respect stay out of our land and mind your own beeswax

    Reply
  • Avatar
    January 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm
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    Well, Kosovo is a tiny Muslim Albanian-speaking state carved out of the heart of historic Christian Serbia, by the United States. The justification for this was to build the huge but empty US base Bondsteel.

    Was it worth it? Hardly. For one thing it is crime-ridden from top to bottom. Especially at the top. We are not talking of “mere” financial crime, but unbelievably wicked crime including kidnapping, organ-removal, murder.

    The future? Who wants to be seen with Mafiosi? Half a dozen EU states do not even recognise it. And not many countries are now willing to have Kosovo Albanian “refugees”

    Reply
    • Avatar
      January 14, 2011 at 8:19 pm
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      Marco,

      You seem sick and blind with hatred and racist comments. It shows that Mr Galluci himself in exile has only friends like you in a league of people with a mind filled of hatred and sick nationalism. America fought to get rid of the last occupying and murdering nation out of Kosovo, that is Serbia. They are still trying in a way to start wars using corrupt people like you and mr Galluci but shall not succeed.

      Reply
  • Avatar
    January 15, 2011 at 11:46 am
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    i ask kosovar albanians, if these crimes did happen to the serbs, like the report said, do you support the legal system, and the perpetraitors of crimes should be punished,, or should these crimes not be investigated, because of what they might find, and murders to get away with there crime,

    Reply
  • Avatar
    January 15, 2011 at 11:48 am
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    and also , your ‘ boy who cried wolf ‘ image doesnt work anymore, so get over it, ‘all kosovars who see all serbs as devils’ ,, look in the mirror

    Reply
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