Kosovo

Kosovo Albanians block roads on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s planned route to the village of Banje on Sept. 9. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

My country, Kosovo, is being asked to make an impossible choice that would cheapen the sacrifice made by U.S. soldiers, undermine the stability of the region and threaten America’s allies. In the face of sustained attack from Serbia meant to undermine our sovereignty, security and prosperity, there are some who would like Kosovo to engage in so-called “peaceful” ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. This is a shortsighted attempt to give in to a bully in the hope that the bullying will stop. We will not do this — we will instead stand up against those who would seek to take advantage of us, while simultaneously working toward a long-lasting and comprehensive peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

Para estados jóvenes sin reconocimiento universal como Kosovo, participar en organizaciones, conferencias o competiciones deportivas internacionales mostrando al mundo sus enseñas nacionales es vital para su consolidación como actores soberanos. Aunque oficialmente el olimpismo pretenda «hacer un mundo mejor y más pacífico educando a los jóvenes con el deporte sin discriminación de ningún tipo en un espíritu de amistad y juego limpio», siempre ha sido la pasarela ideal para exhibir orgullo nacional y patriotismo, con frecuencia incompatibles con la proclamada solidaridad sin fronteras.

Sin llegar al extremo de George Orwell, que veía en el deporte internacional «guerras sin tiros», la obsesión por conquistar medallas y enarbolar banderas lo aproxima mucho al mundo bélico por la obsesiva búsqueda de unidad contra el enemigo hasta la victoria.…  Seguir leyendo »

En esta misma página publiqué el 13 de septiembre de 2007 un articulo titulado «El error Kosovo» en el que analizaba el proceso que había de culminar en la independencia del que había sido territorio integrante de la República Federal de Yugoslavia, y luego de Serbia, antes y después de la disolución del conjunto de Yugoslavia. En él reflejaba las consecuencias de la intervención militar de la OTAN que desde el 23 de Marzo del 99 hasta el 10 de Junio del mismo año había actuado en contra de la política de limpieza étnica practicada contra los albaneses en el territorio y lanzada contra el todavía líder serbio Slobodan Milosevic y recordaba que habiendo sido ese el motivo de la intervención, llevada a cabo sin autorización del Consejo de Seguridad, este mismo organismo, en su Resolución 1244 había establecido la obligación de respetar la integridad territorial y la independencia política de la República Federativa de Yugoslavia al intentar resolver el conflicto de Kosovo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children ride bicycles next to a wall painted with the European Union flag last month in the southern Serbian town of Presevo. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

Serbia and Kosovo have been talking about a grand bargain to defuse lingering ethnic conflicts. Critics have been quick to weigh in. Some argue that the risks are simply too substantial for the international community to entertain the idea of “border adjustments,” or territorial exchanges, involving Serb-populated territories in northern Kosovo and Albanian-populated territories in southern Serbia, which is being subtly pushed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovar counterpart, Hashim Thaci.

The crux of the critics’ argument rests on the potential for spillover throughout the Balkans. If Belgrade and Pristina exchange territory, this will show Croats and Serbs in Bosnia that they, too, can find a way to secede and join their ethnic kin in Croatia and Serbia, breaking up Bosnia in the process.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man sits at a roadblock in Vojtesh, Kosovo, on Sept. 9. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo are planning to swap territory. They say it will ease ethnic tensions and contribute to stability in the western Balkans. Some commentators and politicians think it is a great idea.

Don’t bet on it. The proposals present enormous risks — not only for the countries themselves but also for the broader region. Indeed, they could set an ominous precedent for leaders who harbor separatist ambitions.

What Kosovo President Hashim Thaci refers to as a “border adjustment” could easily prompt nationalists in this part of Europe to demand similar changes. It could offer destructive inspiration to Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia, where nationalist movements and some of the leaders yearn to have their own ethnically homogeneous countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

1. Una ventana de oportunidad

Veinte años después del final de la guerra, cuarenta años después del comienzo del conflicto, serbios y albaneses kosovares están por fin negociando. Y parece que esta vez las negociaciones van por buena vía y que existen esperanzas fundadas de que las partes lleguen a un acuerdo basado en el reconocimiento serbio de la independencia de Kósovo, acompañado, quizá, por una corrección de fronteras en busca la máxima homogeneidad étnica de los dos estados.

Y no es tan raro como a primera vista parece. Hay, desde luego, conflictos que terminan con la victoria total de una parte y el aplastamiento de la otra, pero es mucho más frecuente que los conflictos concluyan con algún tipo de negociación.…  Seguir leyendo »

Discussions between Serbia and Kosovo about the possibility of agreeing on border adjustments to settle a solution to the current frozen situation will be ephemeral, a short-lived romance. Not because the presidents of both countries could not finally agree on a deal, but because Europeans suspect the return of ‘Balkan ghosts’. The proposal discomforts the European Union and its member states. International leaders and analysts have already demonised this option, condemned their consequences and warned that another tragedy might befall Balkan people.

The weekend of September 8 and 9, Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, made a trip to Kosovo. On Saturday, he visited the Gazivode Lake – located in the majority-Serb northwest region, which is strategic for the supply of water and electricity.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Offensive Plan for the Balkans That the U.S. Should Get Behind

The Balkans remains in strategic limbo. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 10 years ago, but Serbia has yet to come to terms with its loss — refusing to recognize Kosovo and stirring trouble between the country’s ethnic Serbs and the ethnic Albanian majority. Almost two decades after the NATO bombing campaign to drive Yugoslav forces from Kosovo, some 4,000 NATO troops remain there to keep the peace.

A breakthrough may now be in the making. It is a morally offensive one, but nonetheless the United States and the European Union should get behind it.

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo are apparently working on a proposal to engage in a land swap that could bring the simmering conflict to an end.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last month, national security adviser John Bolton said the United States “would not stand in the way” of a land swap deal between Serbia and Kosovo. Recent reports suggest the two countries are close to an agreement that would resolve one of Europe’s most challenging political standoffs since the end of the Cold War.

The plan would redraw the Serbia-Kosovo partition to allow a Serbian-speaking territory in Kosovo’s north to join Serbia, while an Albanian-speaking region in Serbia’s south would join Kosovo. The stakes are high: Resolving this impasse probably would pave the way for Kosovo to gain a seat at the United Nations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Students of Mehmet Akif College in Kosovo protest the arrest and deportation of their teachers in Kosovo’s capital Pristina on March 29. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

On Thursday morning, six Turkish men who were living in Kosovo suddenly disappeared.

That afternoon, a Turkish state news agency published photos of the six looking disheveled and standing next to Turkish flags; it wasn’t clear where the pictures were taken. The news story accompanying the images said the men were high-ranking members of the Gulen movement, a former ally of the Turkish government that officials now accuse of trying to overthrow the state since at least 2013. The report claimed that the men had been “arrested” in an operation between Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Kosovo’s intelligence agency, and that they had already been brought back to Turkey on a private plane.…  Seguir leyendo »

Célébration du dixième anniversaire de l'indépendance du Kosovo. Pristina, 17 février 2018. © Visar Kryeziu/AP Photo

2008-2018: il a beaucoup été question ces derniers temps du dixième anniversaire de la proclamation unilatérale d’indépendance du Kosovo, le 17 février 2008. L’Europe d’alors, à peine remise de l’effondrement du mur de Berlin en 1989, croyait les frontières nationales enfin stabilisées. Que nenni!

La dernière des guerres balkaniques avait consacré le divorce entre le Kosovo et la Serbie. Désormais placé sous le protectorat de la communauté internationale (Union européenne et ONU), le Kosovo se soustrait à cette ambivalente tutelle et se dote d’une Constitution. L’Europe doit compter avec un nouvel Etat. Mais, au-delà du cas kosovar, que nous disent les turbulences qui ont frappé l’ex-Europe de l’Est et qui défraient la chronique aujourd’hui encore?…  Seguir leyendo »

The trouble in the Balkans today is not Russian meddling, though there is some of that, but a special case of the malaise afflicting Eastern Europe: unchecked executive power, erosion of the rule of law, xenophobia directed at neighbours and migrants and pervasive economic insecurity. The pattern varies from country to country but is palpable from Szczecin on the Baltic to Istanbul on the Bosporus. The countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia – have long tended to follow patterns set by their larger, more powerful neighbours. They are doing it again.

The ability of the European Union (EU) to fix problems in the Balkans is hamstrung when the same troubles persist within its own borders, sometimes in more acute form.…  Seguir leyendo »

For centuries, dark forces of history have found the Balkans a suitable proxy region for unleashing grand plans for global prominence and competition. Now, after two decades of stability and prospects for a prosperous future, Serbia again is returning to an old vocation — seeking regional hegemony. It is doing so by destabilizing the Balkans, expanding its own military and working toward economic dominance of a regional common market that Kosovo finds unacceptable and strongly opposes — all of this with Russia looking over Serbia’s shoulder.

Russia is clearly using Serbia not just to regain a foothold in the Balkans, but also to seek vengeance on NATO, the United States and the West with schemes to restore the regional prominence it lost when the Soviet empire collapsed.…  Seguir leyendo »

Australian football star Besart Berisha recently flew to Kosovo’s capital, Pristina, to play for the country where he was born. “For me, it’s a very exciting time and I hope I have a great game,” he told the press.

Set for March 25, the game – Kosovo against Iceland – is part of the first round of qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. But it is much more than a simple football match. Sports diplomacy has been the most successful strategy implemented by Kosovo to garner international recognition.

It’s been nine years since Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, after Kosovo Albanians sought independence during the Yugoslavian wars.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tensions have been on the rise again between Serbia and Kosovo, prompting European Union High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini to visit the Western Balkans last week.

Her visit was timely: on March 2, a French court postponed the extradition of former prime minister of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj. He was arrested in France in January 2017 on an Interpol warrant issued by Serbia regarding war crimes committed during the Kosovo war (1998-1999).

These recent events have reopened the issue war crimes and the people who committed them – few of whom were ever prosecuted – on both sides.

The Kosovo War

From March to June 1999, NATO intervened in Kosovo and Serbia with air strikes to stop the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo’s Albanian population by the Serbs.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kosovo, una antigua provincia serbia de mayoría albanesa, declaró su independencia en 2008 con el apoyo de una parte de la comunidad internacional encabezada por Estados Unidos. Siete años después, se parece bastante a un Estado fallido: constantes protestas ciudadanas por el paro, ausencia de futuro para sus jóvenes y una migración masiva hacia Occidente. Aunque haya sido reconocido por más de 100 países, sigue sin ser aceptado por Estados como China, Rusia o España. El Tribunal Internacional de Justicia de la ONU, con sede en La Haya, confirmó que la declaración unilateral de independencia no fue ilegal en una sentencia no vinculante de 2010.…  Seguir leyendo »

En ce 70è me anniversaire de l’ONU, alors que la discussion sur l’accord de Paris au sujet des changements climatiques bat son plein, rien n’est plus à propos que d’évoquer le rôle essentiel qu’a vocation à jouer l’Unesco.

«Tout est culture» se plaisait à dire François Mitterrand. Or, la culture n’est pas une notion abstraite, mais un instrument au service d’un équilibre, d’un dialogue durable et d’un projet de société humaine au niveau international. C’est précisément dans ses objectifs que réside la particularité et le principal atout de l’Unesco, une agence indispensable à «la construction de la paix dans l’esprit des hommes et des femmes».…  Seguir leyendo »

Kosovo reclamó hace unas semanas la atención de los medios europeos: miles de personas estaban abandonando el territorio y cruzando ilegalmente la frontera entre Serbia y Hungría hacia Europa. Por las cifras (entre 50.000 y 100.000 inmigrantes para una población de 1,8 millones) se puede hablar de un auténtico éxodo que hace preguntarse qué es lo que está ocurriendo en este territorio a las puertas de Europa. La falta de oportunidades, la inestabilidad política y las tensiones étnicas persistentes desdibujan las alegrías que la independencia prometió a este recién nacido europeo.

Kosovo cuenta con el honor estadístico de tener la sociedad más joven de Europa (el 53% de la población es menor de 25 años).…  Seguir leyendo »

After months of talks mediated by the European Union, Serbia and Kosovo signed an agreement last month to resolve disputes dating from the 1990s, when Kosovo, a former province of Yugoslavia, effectively won independence following a Western-led military intervention.

But the deal won’t reconcile the two Balkan nations or help them gain admission to the European Union. To make matters worse, the two nations said this week that they could not agree on a timetable for implementing the agreement.

This setback is nothing on the scale of Balkan massacres in the 1990s, but it represents a continued failure to put the region’s troubled past behind it through integration with the rest of Europe.…  Seguir leyendo »

As much as anywhere in Europe, the recent history of the western Balkans has been written in blood. From its role in igniting the First World War, via the occupation and resistance of World War II, and to the battles and barbarity that followed the breakup of Yugoslavia, the people of the region have suffered enough.

Last Friday, Ivica Dacic and Hashim Thaci decided to do things differently. After six months of direct talks, the prime ministers of Serbia and Kosovo agreed to normalize relations.

They set out a range of practical steps that should help their people to banish fear, enhance prosperity and play a full role as members of the European family.…  Seguir leyendo »