Sunday, August 12, 2007

A Partition for Kosovo?

A few months back, writing in the Los Angeles Times on Kosovo and the U.S.-Russia relationship, Dimitri Simes wrote: "A reasonable solution would be to find a compromise that would win Serbia's support by either falling short of complete independence or by allowing a few areas of Kosovo to remain in Serbia, thus setting a middle-of-the-road precedent for Georgia's regions as well.

"But for an influential group of neoconservatives and liberal interventionists inside and outside the Bush administration, compromise is unacceptable."

Well, the growing sense in Europe that some creative thinking would be needed to get things moving seems to have resulted in the remarkable openness shown by the EU envoy, former German ambassador to the U.S. Wolfgang Ischinger, to partition.

"It is the principle of the troika to be prepared to endorse any agreement which both parties manage to achieve. That includes all options ... We are urging both sides to think outside the box."

So many Americans who are proponents for trans-Atlantic action when the other side of the Atlantic gives Washington a blank check may not like these developments--but anyone who was with us at the meeting with Greek Ambassador Mallias a few months back heard him loud and clear: the EU was going to put its energies behind finding a workable solution that could clear the way for Kosovo's Albanians to get independence but also in a way that could provide for a new UN resolution.

Partition is not a magic solution--but it was an option that should never have been unilaterally removed off the table (since, as so many U.S. 2008 presidential candidates like to remind us, "no option is off the table" when considering how to deal with Iran's nuclear program). Now it may be restored as one possibility to the diplomatic toolbox.

Nick - What areas of Kosovo would remain Serbian under a partition plan? If the areas are non-contiguous, I would worry that they would keep alive irredentist ambitions on both sides.
David, most people think that the plan would be for northern Kosovo to go to Serbia and for some of the holy site to be placed under some sort of guardianship and for Serbs in other parts to be evacuated to in essence remove the basis for further irredentist claims.
Are u people serious about making Kosovo a state? I mean why don't you turn Sicily into a state as well; the mob speaks Sicilian there rather than Albanian.

This whole thing is madness; there are good reasons why N.J. is not an independent state and neither is Tyrol.
Well, the US has promised that there will be an independent state, so now the Europeans have to scurry around to figure how to make it happen.
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