Tag Archive | "Kosovo"

Splitting Kosovo in Two: Only Way to Solve Deadlock or Opening ‘Pandora’s Box’?


NOVANEWS

An elderly Kosovo Muslim prays on the street in front of a mosque during Friday Prayer on July 1, 2011 in Pristina

© AFP 2017/ ARMEND NIMANI

Carving up Kosovo into Serbian and Albanian parts is the only possible way to resolve the long-running conflict in the region, Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic wrote for Blitz media outlet. Neue Zürcher Zeitung described Mr. Dacic’s proposal as a trying balloon floated by Belgrade.

The idea, initially proposed and rejected in the mid-1980s, re-emerged after Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced “an internal dialogue” on the divisive issue of Kosovo.

“I’m glad to hear all these different opinions being put forward about the future of Kosovo. By the way, it was only my idea of a partition that invited such a nervous reaction, and this is something the Serbian president also noted. They do not react this way to proposals either to give up on Kosovo, or to freeze the conflict. Who knows, maybe this nervous reaction shows us the way we should go to find a solution that would suit all and ensure a longstanding compromise,” Ivica Dacic told Sputnik in a written comment.

He added that he would discuss the plan in greater detail with President Aleksandar Vucic when the “internal dialogue about Kosovo becomes official.”In an interview with Sputnik Serbian, Stefan Surlic, a political science researcher at Belgrade University, described the issue of Kosovo as a “Pandora’s box” no one dares to open.

“The West believes that the subject is closed and that Serbia has to resign itself to the fact that Kosovo has an internationally recognized status. The idea of dividing Kosovo in two means  sidelining Pristina and starting a direct dialogue between Belgrade and Tirana on what is Serbian in Kosovo and what is Albanian,” he noted.

He added, however, that it was highly unlikely that anyone in Pristina would agree to give the region’s north to the Serbs and leave the rest to the “Kosovo Republic.”

“They would be more willing to discuss the exchange of the Serbian-populated northern Kosovo for Serbia’s Albanian-populated Presevo Valley,” he said.

Radio Belgrade director and political scientist Milivoje Mihajlovic believes that the proposed partition of Kosovo could have a knock-on effect on other countries ethnic Albanians now live in.

“What we really need is integration, a historic pact between Serbs and Albanians on how to live on. Integration means that borders will be gone and joint projects will be implemented – this is the only way we can have a common future. Those who believe that the division of Kosovo will end the problem of Albanian expansionism in the Balkans are making a big mistake, because the “Greater Albania” idea will spill over to the neighboring countries,” he told Sputnik.

Historian Cedomir Antic does not believe that a formal proposal by Serbia to carve up Kosovo would have a domino effect on other countries just like the unilateral declaration of Kosovo’s independence did not.

“The Bosnian Serb Republic did not use the precedent to break away from Bosnia and Herzegovina, did it? I still believe that there is absolutely no chance for Belgrade and Pristina to agree on dividing up Kosovo,” Antic noted.

“We didn’t [divide Kosovo] when we had a chance. Slobodan Milosevic believed that anyone who would yield at least one square centimeter of Kosovo’s land would be branded as a traitor. In 2012, the Serbian government of Socialists and Progressives signed the Brussels Agreement with Pristina thus letting Kosovo Serbs become part of the ‘Kosovo Republic’ without getting any autonomous status,” Antic concluded.Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory.

The two governments began to normalize relations in 2013 as part of the Brussels Agreement.

Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 UN member —states. Russia doesn’t recognize the independence of Kosovo.

Related:

‘Compromise Solution’: Serbian FM Proposes to Divide Kosovo Into Two Parts
Serbian Leader Vows to Keep Territorial Unity Including Kosovo at Inauguration

Posted in SerbiaComments Off on Splitting Kosovo in Two: Only Way to Solve Deadlock or Opening ‘Pandora’s Box’?

Kosovo Serbs ‘Terrified’ by Proposed Creation of “Greater Albania”


NOVANEWS
 

Fresh calls for a Greater Albania, incorporating the southern Serbian province of Kosovo, have led to an angry backlash from politicians in Belgrade.

Sputnik Radio’s Mark Hirst talked to Marko Djuric, Director of the Government Office for Kosovo and Metohija.

Such a move by Albania, if acted upon, could plunge the entire region back into a bloody and costly war on a scale not seen since the 1990s.

Marko Djuric said that Serbia will not allow the creation of a Greater Albania in its southern province and that it is not alone in opposing the idea, which stems from the times of Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia.

When asked whether this inflammatory statement by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama was a tactical move, rather than a serious claim, Djuric said that if it was actually translated into concrete action, then it would be a blatant violation of international law.

“For us and for a large part of the international community, including the UN, Kosovo and Metohija are an integral part of Serbia. There was no kind of a democratic procedure in Kosovo’s secession from Serbia,” he emphasized.

Meanwhile, the EU, a body to which both Serbia and Albania eventually hope to join, remains silent over the Albanian prime minister’s controversial comments.

Residents of Pristina holding a new flag of the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo

“Unfortunately, we saw silence when Pristina decided to stop the dialogue, and we don’t see a sufficient EU reaction to these claims. During the past years the Pristina authorities have failed to bring about any economic growth in the region where the unemployment rate is 65 percent and 45 percent of ethnic Albanians live below the poverty line even though the EU has invested over 60 billion euros into our southern province,” Marko Djuric continued.

He added that the local Serbs, who have suffered numerous pogroms in the past 20 years, were “terrified” by the prospect of being “swallowed” into “Greater Albania.”

“We should also bear in mind the fact that two-thirds of Kosovo’s pre-war Serbian population remain refugees and only about 120,000 still live in Kosovo and Metohija in poor economic conditions and political isolation, while over 200,000 now live in central Serbia,” Djuric pointed out.

He added that the EU was doing nothing to help the Serbs to return to Kosovo.

“The return of Serbs who were expelled from Kosovo has been an utter failure by the international community. The rate of their return is the lowest in any post-conflict zones in modern history, even lower than in Rwanda and Burundi.”

Marko Djuric added that whatever assistance the returnees get comes from Serbia, which pays monthly allowances to those who want to return.

“What we can’t provide without the assistance of the international community, however, is a political climate and access to property.

Over 80,000 houses and apartments in Kosovo are now used by other people and, together with security problems, these are the biggest obstacles preventing the Serbs’ return to Kosovo,” Marko Djuric said.

Earlier in the week, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama made a statement that Albania and the partially recognized republic of Kosovo, also inhabited by Albanians, could reach a “union.”

Soon afterward, President of Kosovo Hashim Thaci said that if Brussels “closed [the] door on Kosovo,” all Albanians in the region would unite into one state.

The Albanians are one of the Balkan peoples constituting the majority of population in Albania. However, significant numbers of Albanians live in the territories of former Yugoslavia, neighboring Albania itself, such as Kosovo and Montenegro.

A number of politicians, such as Rama, have voiced the idea of a Greater Albania in order to unify all the territories inhabited by the Albanians within a single state.

Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence in 2008 and is recognized by over 100 UN member states. Serbia, as well as Russia, China, Israel, Iran, Spain, Greece and some other countries do not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Posted in Croatia, SerbiaComments Off on Kosovo Serbs ‘Terrified’ by Proposed Creation of “Greater Albania”

Pristina Snaps Up 200 Billion Euros’ Worth of Serbian Property in Kosovo


NOVANEWS
Image result for Kosovo CARTOON
Sputnik

The authorities of the self-proclaimed Kosovo republic have decided to confiscate up to 200 billion euros’ worth of real estate of the former Yugoslavia’s Serbia and Kosovo Province, adding pressure to an already strained relationship between Pristina and Belgrade.

The Kosovo cadastral agency has been instructed to immediately register all real estate, amounting to more than 2 million square meters of buildings, including a ski resort and a mining complex, but also land, as the property of Kosovo.

Meanwhile, according to the Serbian cadaster agency, Serbian immovable property in Kosovo amounts to 1 million square meters and Serbian-owned enterprises in the region are valued at about 200 billion euros.

The region’s strategic natural resources “privatized” by the Pristina government include almost 15 billion tons of lignite and over 42 billion tons of lead and zinc.

Reacting to the news, Serbian First Deputy PM and Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic said the decision was “completely illegal, and unacceptable.”

No serious investor will spend money in Kosovo based on this decision of the government in Pristina — “because they won’t know whose property it is in the end,” he added.

According to the former head of the Kosovo cadastral agency, Slavica Radomirovic, 58 percent of industrial enterprises and real estate in Kosovo belong to Serbia and its citizens as proved by original documents taken out of the region after the 1999 war.

Radomirovic warned that the Kosovo authorities had prepared their own cadaster books based on forged data.

In an interview with Sputnik Serbia, Dusan Prorokovic, an expert with the Belgrade-based Strategic Alternative Fund, said that Pristina prefers to resolve all disputes with Belgrade by military force and that all it really wants is property.

“All they are doing was previously approved by the Obama Administration. They started with a demand for a Kosov army and within the next few weeks we could expect further such steps by Pristina. They know that the international community will look on as a new balance of forces is emerging in the Balkans,” he said.

Political analyst Dusan Janjic said that all this was a logical continuation of the EU-launched process of illegal privatization of Serbian property in Kosovo.

“Pristina is speeding up this whole process across the board. Just like its [Western] sponsors, it wants things like the army and property cut out for it before they start a dialogue in a new format,” he added.

Meanwhile, Kosovo Vice-Premier Branimir Stojanovic told the Serbian TV channel RTS that the decision to confiscate Serbian property in Kosovo was legally null and void and could seriously complicate relations with Belgrade.

He added that the decision was taken behind closed doors without asking the opinion of Serbian representatives in the regional parliament.

Kosovo unilaterally proclaimed independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognized by over 100 UN member states. Serbia, as well as Russia, does not recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Posted in SerbiaComments Off on Pristina Snaps Up 200 Billion Euros’ Worth of Serbian Property in Kosovo

Kosovo Spent IMF Funds on Pensions for Veterans Now Fighting for Daesh


NOVANEWS
Image result for KLA LOGO

Over the past two decades, the Kosovar government has spent over $2 billion on payments to former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) paramilitary organization. Kosovo received the money from the United States and the European Union and since 2009 mostly from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The Kosovo Liberation Army was formed during the mid-1990s by Kosovo Albanians seeking independence from Serbia and the creation of a monoethnic state. Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.

There have been numerous reports of abuses and war crimes committed by KLA members during the 1998-1999 Kosovo war, including massacres of civilians, prisons camps, allegations of organ theft etc. A special court in The Hague has been established to investigate those crimes. According to different estimates, currently at least 500 KLA veterans are fighting in the ranks of Daesh in Syria.

“Compared to the entire population of Kosovo, this number is the fifth-largest among other European countries. Many of the KLA veterans fighting for Daesh receive payments from the Kosovar budget which [is] regularly funded by the US, the EU and the IMF,” journalist Brankica Ristic wrote for Sputnik Serbia.

Currently, there are 46,000 KLA veterans in Kosovo. A list was made up to identify those who deserve pensions from the budget. The IMF unveiled €106 million ($113 million) for the initiative.

The first payments were made in 2015. Some 12,000 former KLA members, who fought against the Yugoslavian government and law enforcement agencies in the 1990s, received €170 ($181) each.

However, since that time the number of officially registered veterans has increased fourfold. Pristina had to ask the IMF to unveil more funds. The Kosovar budget for 2017 is €2 billion ($2.1 billion), including money to transform the Kosovo security forces into full-fledged armed forces, which will be funded by the IMF. However, the IMF does not want to give money for pensions for 46,000 KLA veterans. The fund asked Pristina to clarify the number of veterans. The government hopes that if the IMF rejects giving the money the US could do [so]. But the victory of Donald Trump in the US presidential election has put this into question.

“After the 1999 war Kosovo received $3.8 billion of international aid. According to different sources, between 2000 and 2010 the region received up to $40 billion. Part of this money could have been paid to those fighting now in the ranks of Daesh,” the journalist wrote.

Posted in EuropeComments Off on Kosovo Spent IMF Funds on Pensions for Veterans Now Fighting for Daesh


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