With elections in Serbia slated for 16 March, for the EU parliament in May and Kosovo in autumn, northern Kosovo will be left in a dangerous limbo, without clarity about which laws apply and with the danger that the progress made in normalising relations could be reversed.
Post Tagged with: "Mitrovica"
Despite the fact that the Brussels Agreement and the November election is a first step towards the bridging of differences between Kosovo on the one hand and Kosovo Serbs and Serbia on the other, the process of integration of Serbs into the Kosovan system will require time, good will on all sides […]
TransConflict is piloting a new initiative which lays the foundations for collaborative conflict transformation by facilitating the sharing of perspectives on specific conflicts. The latest case study launched explores conflict in Kosovo.
A way should be found to ensure Mayor-elect, Krstimir Pantic, can take his place without further delay, whilst the Quint should make clear to Pristina that it will not allow efforts to delay or derail implementation. This new opportunity to move forward with peaceful change could yet be lost.
The EU – with US support – has helped broker a framework that puts the current frozen conflict between Serbia and Kosovo onto a path that may eventually allow further mutual accommodation. But this opportunity could be lost if any of the parties try to move too quickly.
Immediately after the December 1st run-off, Pristina, Belgrade and the international community should translate the famous concept of integration into measurable and tangible benefits for the north.
When the election is run again, it will hopefully take place with adequate EULEX presence and with UN as well as OSCE observation. Whatever the outcome, the EU, US and NATO should resist pressures from Pristina to simply “take over” and impose its rule in the north.
Defining the boundaries and relationship between the two Mitrovicas will require acceptance of the fact that North Mitrovica is perhaps the most zero-sum issue of all and that it cannot be simply left to Pristina to decide.
Should the Kosovo government end funding of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) Administration in Mitrovica (UAM), it will cut-off one of the few institutional linkages between north Mitrovica and Pristina.
Having achieved its aim of demonstrating that the northern resistance to the imposition of Pristina institutions is a genuine popular response, and not the result of criminal coercion, it is now time to reconsider the planned 15th February referendum.
Self-congratulatory remarks by the International Civilian Representative for Kosovo juxtaposes oddly with demonstrations on both the Serbian and Kosovar Albanian sides that underscore that the situation is anything but normal.
With the ISG saying it plans to leave by the end of 2012, even whilst outstanding issues – including the north – remain, the UN must be prepared to play an essential buffering role between the two sides in the status dispute.
The recent “four-point proposal” by Serbia’s president, Boris Tadic, may providethe foundation for a lasting solution; one that could be accommodated within the framework of the Ahtisaari Plan.
The departure of EULEX from Kosovo would leave a vacuum in the international framework for rule of law which – in the absence of changes to UN Security Council Resolution 1244 – the UN would be required to fill.
Though various factors suggest a strong effort to remove north Kosovo as an element of contention between Serbia and the West, the possibility of continued stalemate remains and the danger of renewed conflict cannot be excluded.
Europe seems to be allowing Germany to lead it into a historic blunder by freezing Serbia out rather than bringing it in.
A peace initiative by Kosovo Serbs in the north opens the door to backing awayfrom further confrontation, and seems to suggest that they are prepared to enter a dialogue on the future of the north.
Though the EU – seemingly motivated by the US and “led” by Germany – rejected Serbia’s candidacy over its continued ‘refusal’ to surrender Kosovo, it is increasingly apparent that the EU needs the Balkans inside even more than the Balkans needs to get inside.
The new agreement between Belgrade and Pristina on the crossing points, plus the removal of some barricades, may provide an opportunity to finally end the current crisis in the north that began on July 25th.
By refusing to act within their UN peacekeeping mandate, but instead trying to change the facts on the ground through the use of force, EULEX and KFOR are pushing north Kosovo to the brink.
Beset with enormous – perhaps insurmountable – economic and political problems of their own, the Europeans seem uninterested and/or unable to support real solutions in the central Balkans.
TransConflict hereby presents the testimony of Gerard M. Gallucci, the former UN Regional Representative in Mitrovica, for a hearing on the Balkans by the Sub-committee on Europe and Eurasia, part of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the US House of Representatives.
TransConflict is pleased to present a new policy paper, entitled ‘The Ahtisaari Plan and North Kosovo’, authored by Gerard Gallucci, the former UN Regional Representative in Mitrovica.
It is increasingly apparent that the respective parties – including the Quint – are talking past each other and reacting more to what has happened, rather than what might be done to move away from conflict.
Having eschewed violence and successfully prevented the one-sided outcome in the north pushed by Pristina and its international supporters, the Serbs should now consider removing the barricades at the two main Gates in order to allow a practical test of KFOR and EULEX’s status neutrality.