It is going well in Kosovo. At least that is what UNMIK chief Søren Jessen-Petersen tells us. Only 19 potentially ethnically motivated crimes in the first quarter of 2006. And as only in 12 cases the victims were Serbs, the Serbs seem even overrepresented as aggressors.
Yet there is something fishy about those figures. The official statement mentions also that the police has an operation "Stringent Security" aimed at improving the security of the minorities and that this has led to 1735 people being arrested. There are no further details but it certainly looks as if there is more wrong than those 12 cases.
Many Serbs are still afraid to work on their lands, returns are still low and Serbs are still leaving Kosovo. To blame this all on propaganda from Belgrade seems just cheap to me.
Just today HRW published a report Not on the Agenda that discusses the failure to bring people to court after the march 2004 riots. Work to do for the SRSG...
Jessen-Petersen has all rights to be proud of his achievements. But he should give a honest description of the present situation and not hide the remaining problems under vague generalities. By being honest he will give both sides homework to do and he will build trust that there is progress towards some common future.
What mr. Jessen-Petersen is doing now is just making propaganda aimed at promoting the independence of Kosovo in the Western world. Inside Kosovo it will have only negative effects. The Albanians become complacent that everything is right and they don't have to do any more. And the Serbs (and some other minorities) loose the trust that he is really working to guarantee a position for them in a future Kosovo.
Mr. Jessen-Petersen has been appointed to take care that Kosovo is governed in an acceptable way. Instead he is working as a goodwill ambassador for the Kosovo government. In a case like this he is doing so to such an extent that it is detrimental to his real job.
Unfortunately he is stepping in a long tradition at the UN and UNMIK. Many UN diplomats prefer not to rock the boat. They will leave in one or two years anyway. By ignoring problems they don't get associated with them and they don't risk making errors. Unfortunately that leaves it to outsiders like Kai Eide to formulate the problems.