Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Kosovo Watch Continued

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana sounded some of the same themes that Greek Ambassador Alexandros Mallias made at his presentation several weeks ago at the Nixon Center.

After the first day of talks with the EU foreign ministers, Solana said, “"We want to give negotiations a chance, and therefore we are going to see how to go about it, together with our friends from the U.S. and Russia, to move forward the process.”

Unlike U.S. politicians, who want to declare “victory” and go home, Solana—as Mallias did earlier, stressed that “"Kosovo is profoundly a European matter. We need a sustainable settlement to ensure long-term stability in the region.”

The key here is “sustainable.” This means an agreement that Serbia can accept, that all countries in the region can uphold.

This requires real negotiations and real discussion about adherence to standards, not simply taking promises at face value. It also means that both sides—Pristina and Belgrade—have to come to the table with serious proposals. Unfortunately, continued U.S. statements about a guaranteed final status take away incentives for reaching any sort of compromises over a number of very serious. It also prevents creative thinking from coming up with new approaches. Is the United States prepared to take the lead to break the diplomatic logjams? Gordon Bardos recently wrote in NI online:

During the next round of negotiations, the full range of Dayton’s ethnic power-sharing and conflict-regulating mechanisms should be considered: constitutional provisions making both Albanians and Serbs (as well as Kosovo’s other ethnic minorities) constituent peoples of Kosovo; rotating ethnic presidencies (at least for symbolic purposes); and the creation of entities or cantons with the right to "special parallel relationships" with neighboring states that Dayton provided. Similarly, during the coming months, international negotiators need to go back to the region and take far more seriously the concerns and advice of Kosovo’s neighbors as to how to move forward.

Mallias had called for one of the tracks in reinvigorating the Kosovo process to be engaged the neighbors. He also had urged returning to the “Contact Group” which includes Russia as the other the track for a renewed diplomatic effort on Kosovo. France’s UN ambassador Jean-Marc De La Sabliere announced that the focus on finding a solution for Kosovo will move from the “Western caucus” that had proposed the recently withdrawn draft Security Council resolution (Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the United States) back to the original Contact Group.

Diplomacy has a chance--but U.S. politicians both in and out of government need to stop playing around with Kosovo as a "legacy issue" for either the Bush or Clinton Administrations and focus on getting talks--real negotations, not presenting ultimatums--restarted.

"Rotating Ethnic Presidency"?

"Dayton Mechansims"?

Are you people daft?

If those schema were practical why did Yugoslavia break-up?

Partition Kosovo and give teh Northern part to Serbia and the Southern part to Albania.

Repatriate the various ethnicities.

Anything else just leaves a festering wound that will erupt again when EU & US are tied up elsewhere or have lost interest.

This is time for statemanship and not sophomoric attempts at building a fantasy world.
Anonymous 1:02, perhaps the proposals are being circulated to get people to reach your conclusion that the only viable solution is partition, because right now the US thinks it's going to get a multiethnic peaceful stable independent Kosovo. So if people start focusing on some of the steps you'd need to take to get to that result, maybe they'll realize it's not going to happen.
Anonymous 1:08:

What you suggest is rather devious but plausible.

You might be correct.
I have to say I think that that logic may work with Europeans but not with Foggy Bottom. They actually think Dayton was a smashing success.
Partitioning is possible if it's done with great equality to all the partitioning bodies.
I personally believe Kosovars would agree to partition if the South of Serbia, Presevo Valley were to join the rest of Kosovo. After this Kosovo most probably will chose to become an independent state, nothing to do with Serbia or Albania for that matter.
Anonymous 5:07 AM:

Just like the aftermath of WWII, have the Kosovars of Presevo Valley re-patriated to Kosovo. Their continued presence in Serbia is an invitation to Kosovar cross-border terrorism.

Northern Kosovo should revert back to Serbia.

Breakup Bosnia-Hercegovina by reverting the Serbian and Croatian pieces to Serbia and Croatia respectively.

Leave a tiny area for the Slavic Muslims.

This arrangement has more chances of stability than anything else except the re-creation of Austrio-Hungarian Empire.
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