Western trade 'games' with Kosovo borders, risk provoking next Balkan ethnic explosions

Posted in Europe | 28-Feb-05 | Author: Ekrem Krasniqi

Greater or Enlarged Albania could be prevented only if Greater or Enlarged Serbia is to be ended and Kosovo becomes the newest and the last state in W. Balkans

- There are two parallel ways by which international community could prevent the recreation of Enlarged Albania, against which it is categoricaly. First it would be a moral gesture, a small add to Dayton Peace agreement for Bosnia and Herzegovina, to officialy ban Serb populated areas in Bosnia to join Serbia, to create Enlarged Serbia II. Second move: to end current Enlarged Serbia I by let go Kosovo on its own toward EU.

- International community and especially EU should take a leading role on urgently asking to change the Dayton accord, which would help to avoid another potential border chaos and bloodshed in Western Balkans. The 1995 agreement from which emerged two new entities, as the result of ethnic cleansing of Bosnia majority population, by Serbian machinery led by the man who is now facing trial in the Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity, Slobodan Milosevic, does not ban, as it doesn’t mention it at all, the non right of Republika Srbska (RS) to attach to Serbia, or to the remaining fragile union Serbia makes temporarily with Montenegro. From the legal aspect of the document ‘Republika Srbska’ has the right for all special relation with Serbia, although it makes reference to the respecting of the BH territorial integrity, as it has at the same time the other part of it Croat-Muslim federation of B and H ( read Dayton Agreement Anex 4, article 3). The federation in fact, shouldn’t ‘loose ‘ time to International community, as it’s to late to think of any possibility for being attached to Croatia, as the country is, if not in 17 march then by the end of the year or beginning of the next one, to launch accession talks with EU, still pending on fugitive general. After that, it would be too late for border changes of the country. Why the EU especially should initiate to include these Dayton ( small but morally very important) agreement modification urgently, and before Kosovo temporarily status talks are launched at the second part of this year? Because of need to confirm its equal treatment policy which EU advocates and implements all around the region during last more than five year.

- At the 21 February 2005 meeting of 25 EU foreign ministers in Brussels, most of the ministers where active on raising their strong position against Kosovo to join Albania. Although there was no reference of the undeclared oral agreement, at the final conclusions paper of the meeting, in the presence of SRSG of UN Soren Jessen Petersen, that point remains the biggest current concern of some EU countries, which do very much fear internal disturbances in their territories, not only from an eventual “Enlarged Albania” echo, but even from Kosovo becoming an full independence, a sovereign state. But the ban on joining Albania, could be expected to be included very soon in official documents of EU and international community, provided that circumstances will lead to Kosovo independence, as if it would be included now, then with it, the EU would non-directly signal the possibility of favouring Kosovo’s independence, before the internationally mediated Prishtina-Belgrade talks are to be opened. EU member states diplomats have already launched their first consultations and coordination on how to tackle Kosovo future political status with US and Russia counterparts, before the issue could be put to UN SC agenda for approval by respective governments, for any agreement on the status, which would be approved by Kosovo and Serbia leaders. Hard to believe they will ever agree to accept each-other extreme demands. At the time being, primary talks between the west, are concentrated on identifying options which should be exempted , as EU countries are having difficulties to agree between them selves first, on what should be Kosovo final status. But Kosovo future would be very easy to be resolved only by western consensus, if the west is not to take into account Kosovo and Serbia authorities opinions. Different demands by Kosovo majority population and Serbia (official demand) leaders represent another burden to the international community discords, as states for the moment have on their tables many options for Kosovo future, beginning by first setting a provisional status, (preparing gorund for final status for later on), which would be something more than former autonomy Kosovo had till 1989, and less then full independence from Serbia Montenegro Union, or if Montenegro breaks away next year, then less then independence from Serbia proper, as legaly it will be successor of current union. The west is beginning to use the formula of elimination, by searching options to be excluded from negotiation table before the discussions begin, as the easiest formula at this early stage, is to put of the table number of options which are circulationg among different capitals in EU, Rusia, US and China ( SC permanent member states). At the last EU ministers meeting, one of excluded options was, was expressed by the sentence “Kosovo can not return to pre 1999 situation...”, which is a very much confusing and funny sentence, as who could believe that EU would propose the opposite one, for Kosovo Albanians and its minorities. And the opposite of that would be : Kosovo officially with no administrative borders, no government, no nothing, as Milosevic abolished them by force in 1989. The third option to be excluded which was discussed by EU government was partition. And the issue was not brought because SRSG of UN mention it in his speech but because EU member states have disagreement between them since the 1999 war ended, whether the partition of northern part of Kosovo, should be banned or not. The fact that ban on partition was not part of EU communiqué certainly raises serious questions on what Kosovo EU wants or put it differently: what EU government want on how much of Kosovo territory? And if the EU, which is aiming to change and increase its long term role in Kosovo, on which High Representative Javier Solana and European Commission are to make a proposal-report to European governments by the end of the spring ( whether it should be political, or in law and order, as it is still hesitating to search increasing its role to end Kosovo devastating economy), should ask first Dayton modifications, if it would be assured that the recreation of Enlarged Albania is avoided in correct and fair manner with Albanians in Kosovo consensus. This modification would the best possible moral EU message to 6.5 million Albanians in the Western Balkans, separated and living in five different countries, that they are not the only nation in the region which are discriminated against their possible political will in decades to come, as for the moment, only o very small minority of Albanians in Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Southern Serbia, are in favour of the idea, which ‘fear’ EU countries.

- Preventing RS to join Serbia, Kosovo to join Albania, and Albanians populated areas in Macedonia to join Kosovo or Albania, or Albanian territories in Southern Serbia and those in Montenegro to join Kosovo, should be searched only by that small add at Dayton modifications, but at the same time by urgently organising the referendum in Kosovo; with the question: “Do you agree that Kosovo becomes only an independent and sovereign state, with its current official administrative borders?”. Anything less then this, can not prevent any future increased feelings of 2 million Albanians in Kosovo to seek the Enlarged Albania, even if the price would be, giving up 17 percent of the northern part of Kosovo, which ’ suddenly’ during last 5 years is populated 95 percent with socially vulnerable Serbs, representing around 30 percent of remaining Serbs in Kosovo. If Contact Group members ( US, Russia, Britain, Germany, France and Italy) are seriously searching to settle an sustainable future in Balkans and gain credibility for their new set up ‘principles’ on border conditions for each nation in Balkans, which lived together for years, in an artificial state (former Yugoslavia lead by Tito), ( Albanians were never asked, but were forced to remain inside it for more than 5 decades), then those who were since 1912 ruled by Serbia and Montenegro empire, and later since 1945 till 1999, humiliated and denigrated in the region by the Serbian and Macedonian communist regimes, must have the right to choose only by them selves what text of the questions in referendum for their future, should be put .

The same right has been given to many EU nations in 1992, and 15 others via their national parliaments on Maastricht Treaty, and from February till the end of 2006, again to 10 EU nations on the historic EU first constitution, which the poorest and the most non-educated nation in European continent, is dreaming to have the right too, to be asked the same, one day. In order to prepare Kosovo becoming one day part of EU, as it is promised every day by european leaders, without answering the question : via Serbia on it's own, EU must prepare new interlocutor generation in of Kosovo representatives by developing a serious plan on european quality education. A former NATO spokesman, Jamie Shea, ones said: "Perhaps we should invest in Kosovo more in software than we are doing now in hardware". He is not the only one to believe as such. There are so manny officials of EU institutions in brussels, who suggest the same, but they are powerless in front of EU governments. And these particual issue has a crucial importance.Why? 1970-1989 was the only short period of history when Kosovo Albanians had the chance for half-normal education on very limited area needed for society overall development. last year statistics, showed that 25 percent of Kosovo pupils, do not finish elementary school. Imagine the generation is being prepared to lead Kosovo to EU? In contrary these kind of generation, can not be stoped to enter illegaly EU borders, by non of so many proposals and lately inniciatives of EU bloc to prevent illegal immigration and open dors only to limited selective foreigners: skilled and qualified one... the healtchare: last year analysis showed that 40 percent of daily illneses are provoked by low quality of potable water, which in EU member states, according to the legislations is not suggested to be drinked.... etc. etc. But people in EU would say: "We can not improve all at same time. Lets do the UN standards first they insist". And at the 100 pages document standards economy development is not in, and for more even it says in a sentence that standards are not about economy. The main top area of all eight UN set up standards in Kosovo since two years ago, could be very mush helped to be achieved, by another pre-referendum to the main one mentioned erlier. “Do you agree to respect, expand, guaranty and help implement all human, socials and religious rights and liberties to Kosovo minorities, if you want to have the right for the main referendum?”. And for sure, for non of the two referendums European taxpayers would not be asked to pay for it, via EU budget. Albanians would pay themselves for sure. Those from EU institutions and EU capitals would asses these kind of question/ referendum as very naïve and worthless. But the contrary could be proven, if EU and US would push Kosovo Government and Albanians in Kosovo, to set up mechanism and funds to guaranty the successful implementation, of the surely 100 percent ‘Yes’, vote of 100 percent participants at the referendum. Solana’s and EC report should put at their top of their primary proposals to EU governments for increased role of the European bloc in Kosovo, a strategy and detailed plan, how can and must Kosovo economy finally begin improving and 70 percent of employment to be tackled every year, day by day. If there is a political will inside EU governments, Kosovo could be the best ever proven EU’s ESDP, and Foreign Policy result aimed by EU’s Constitution. What ever status international community would be able to impose on Kosovo’s (or agree with them), non will survive and will not helpful to Balkan stability, if current level of unemployment and if ridiculous quality of education is not profoundly tackled urgently and changed . Imagine what could happen at the Belgium in such circumstances. No need to explain it to EU politicians and diplomats in Brussels and 25 member states. March 2004 type violence seen in Kosovo, is there waiting to explode again. Would it be provoked by angry Albanians if they are asked to forgot independence, or Serbian secret services, in order to justify the only Serbia’s leadership interest: for Kosovo partition, would be completely without importance. Consequences will.

(By Ekrem Krasniqi, Brussels based journalist and Founder of Albanian language press agency: DTT-NET.COM)