Kosovo - A Time Bomb in the Balkans

Posted in Europe | 02-Feb-05 | Author: Dieter Farwick

When I compare the reports about Kosovo with my experience there in the summer of 2000, there seems to have been a time-out since then.

Without a doubt, all nations, alliances and organizations have achieved something – on the surface - but not in substance. In spite of all the political and diplomatic efforts, the ethnic conflict between the Kosovo–Albanians and the Serb minority is still on fire – as was demonstrated by the pogrom against the Serbs in March 2004. The unsolved issue – the casus belli – is the question of the political status of Kosovo. The Kosovo-Albanians want an independent state of Kosovo and the Serbs want to keep Kosovo as a Serb province – the cradle of “Great-Serbia”.

The UN and European Union obviously underestimated this basic issue. They developed the formula: “Standards before status”. This approach was obviously naïve and shortsighted. If the status problem is not solved, then no substantial improvement in Kosovo can be expected. But what is the solution? Any solution might reopen Pandora's box in the Balkans. But there is no time-out. Kosovo is a ticking time bomb.

WSN strongly advocates to change the strategy for Kosovo. It should read "Status before standards!"

To gain a better understanding of the situation in the Balkans, the novel “The Bridge on the Drina” written by Nobel Prize Laureate Ivo Andric is still a must.

Our newsletter written by Ulrich Buechsenschuetz offers sound background information with some thoughts about the road ahead.