Friday, November 09, 2007

Confederation for Kosovo?

Antonio Cassese, the first President of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), puts forward his proposal for avoiding a crisis over Kosovo.

Some of what he writes: is not too late for compromise. But this is possible only by resuscitating—and updating—an old institution of the international community: a confederation of states.

By means of a binding UN Security Council resolution, Kosovo could be granted full and exclusive authority over its citizens and territory, as well as limited capacity for action on the international scene. It could be authorized to enter into trade agreements as well as agreements concerning individuals (for example, admission and circulation of foreigners, or extradition), plus the right to seek admission to the UN (which does not require full sovereignty and independence).

Kosovo would thus gain some essential trappings of statehood. However, a decision-making body consisting of delegates from Kosovo, Serbia, and the European Union would be given full authority over major foreign policy issues (for example, alliances and relations with international economic institutions), defence, borders (in case Kosovo wished to join with Albania), and the treatment of Kosovo’s Serbian minority. As a result, Kosovo and Serbia would constitute two distinct international subjects, bound by a confederation hinging on a common decision-making body.

Of course, this confederation would be asymmetrical, because the Serbian government’s sovereignty over the rest of Serbia would remain intact and unlimited, whereas the Kosovar government’s “sovereignty” over Kosovo would be restrained.


I think that it is becoming increasingly clear that there indeed is a need for a real debate and discussion on Kosovo. Former UN ambassador Bolton says we shouldn't recognize a unilateral declaration of independence; now the first head of the ICTY is looking at another "creative way" to get around the desire for self-determination with the need to ensure territorial integrity.

What people out of government and out of office have to say is less important because it is what people who actually have the power to make decisions that matters. Steve Clemons over at Washington Note is arguing that Bolton is now broken with the Bush administration so I assume his thoughts on Kosovo don't carry much water anymore at the White House. Does Cassese have any influence with Brown, Sarkozy, Merkel, etc.? Don't think so.
Just partition the damn province and move on. Do you want to keep this wound festering for another 60 years and turn it to another Israel-Palestine?

Get on with it man; if you cannot settle this once and for all you have no claim to world leadership.
Bah! Can somebody remind me the fate of Serbia&Montenegro confederation and how many 'decades' did it last? Was not it like every american and european montenegran got a free ticket to fly there for the referendum when the clock finally ticked 1.5 years? And even then then the independent Montenegro party won by less then .4 % ? Are you taking serbs for complete fools?

A Different Settlement Plan For Kosovo

As an addendum, the following was communicated shortly after the above Aug. 21, '07 piece:

Relative to what was said on the idea of overlapping realities is the noted reality that both parties remain at loggerheads. In a divorce, the child is typically recognized as still having the same mother and father with both having joint custody.

A hypothetical scenario where Kosovo will be officially independent and a part of Serbia would include:
- The return of refugees.
- Kosovo having UN representation. Ukraine and Belarus had UN delegations with full UN voting rights during the USSR. As long as there's a Serbia, Kosovo will remain a part of it.
- Note that Puerto Rico (US territory), Taiwan (recognized by most as a part of China) and Hong Kong (recognized by all as a part of China) have their own Olympic delegations. In the hypothetical Kosovo instance, Kosovo citizens can choose between representing Serbia or Kosovo.

This idea is close to the current one favoring very broad autonomy with Kosovo remaining a part of Serbia.

The bottom line is that the Albanians want a nation, with the Serbs seeking Kosovo to remain part of Serbia. The above linked article and addendum work those two desires in a proposed settlement.
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