Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Kosovo negotiations

Der Spiegel has a nice article about the negotiations on Kosovo's future by the trio Ischinger, Wisner and Bozan-Kharchenko. The long article gives a good description of the people involved and tells a bit about how the negotiations went.

In my opinion the biggest failure of the negotiations remains the onesidedness. When it comes to principles the principle that Belgrade won't rule Kosovo anymore is on top. But the principle that the way in which Kosovo is treating its Serbs is unacceptable and that they need just as hard guarantees keeps missing.

These two principles are to a certain extent contradictory. But I believe that as long we we don't recognize this contradiction the conflict is inresolvable. The claim that the Ahtisaari proposal is enough for Serb minority rights is in my opinion just ridiculous.

The article tries to put the blame for the failed negotiations on the Serb side. It gives as example the Serb reaction to the trio's 14 working points. Yet during the negotiations the Serb position has shifted while the Albanians didn't cede an inch.

As I see it the Serbs have now a proposal that the Albanians can live with once they have swallowed their pride and suspicions. Now it is the turn of Albanians to provide a proposal that the Serbs can live with. This will mean much greater autonomy and maybe border changes.

At the beginning of the negotiations the troika indicated that they were open to talks about partition. But Serbia doesn't want partition if it means giving up on the Serbs south of the Ibar and the Albanians want Presevo in return. And then - rather than tackle those problems - the troika simply dropped the ball.

The present EU proposal is in my opinion just a proposal for ethnic cleansing.

11 comments:

Stories for the other side said...

Serbs have not moved a milimiter from their position which is reoccupation of Kosovo. It is amazing how you all the time can turn things upside down.

Anthony Loyd, a noted British journalist describes people like you:

"Far beyond the borders of Serbia a sickening form of revisionism has prevailed across the years among critics of Kosovo's desire for independence. Some of it is born from a smug desire for controversy. Much of it comes from ignorance. A part of it derives from racism: inscrutable, impoverished, Muslim, their language and culture unlike any other in Europe, Kosovo Albanians are an easy "white nigger" target for the self-satisfied elements of Western Europe's pseudo-political classes. "

In which category are you??

In case I don't come back to your blog before Christmas, I would like to wish you and your famlily Merry (hopefully white) Christmas and Happy New Year.

pierre said...

Very nice. You practically call the author of this blog a racist and then wish him a happy Christmas.

How about providing some evidence for your assertion that the Serbs have not moved an inch? The author of this blog (Wim) has argued from proof time and time again. Instead, you make a baseless accusation and launch into a name calling match.

Those engaged in debate should refer to the subject matter and not go off on a red herring or launch abusive ad hominem attacks on the declarant.

I'm afraid to take a position lest I be labelled as scum by some people viewing this blog.

Wim, for what it's worth, I enjoy your writing.

stories from the other side said...

Pierre, I did not know French people could speak English (it is a joke).

Loyd describes three categories and only one of them is racism. The two others are desire for controversy and ignorance.

I wish the author Marry Christmas since we have been discussing for a long time. We can disagree on a topic but I think we still should be able to respect each other. I apologies if my comments offensive, but I don't really think they are.

All Balkan experts put the blame on Serbia for failing negotiations because they are only talking about things that happened 700 years ago and making ridiculous claims about Kosovo. At the same time they are completely ignoring the fact that Kosovo has 93 % Albanian majority.

What Serbs are doing in negotiations is the same but only packed differently. It is the same as if you take a pack of cigarettes and first pack it in red paper and right upon it "Good for the health", and then in blue paper and write "Good for the brain". The content is still the same.

pierre said...

First of all, either way you describe the author, you are still being disingenious. Furthermore, you give the option of calling Wim, as they say in logical circles, in "false alternatives." You are handcuffing the author with only two descriptions (both bad). It is an old rhetorical device.

Secondly, who are these "experts" you speak of. For every one you quote, I can point out his weaknesses and furthermore I can quote you another "expert" that refutes what you say. Once again you speak in broad terms hoping to discredit the other side by belittling them. It might work on the general populace (as indeed it has in terms of the Yugoslavian conflict), but it won't work on me.
It is called fallacious argument.

Thirdly, what a horrible analogy. It might work in what ever language you speak, but not here. It is you who cannot speak English.

Again, there is no substance in your remarks but for broad brushstrokes hoping to arouse emotions. There is nothing to debate or address in your remarks.

stories from the other side said...

Since when has Wim engaged a lawyer to answer for him, or are you doing this without any form of instruction from Wim? If I was Wim I would have been insulted since you with your actions are underrating Wim's capability to answer himself.

"For every one you quote, I can point out his weaknesses and furthermore I can quote you another "expert" that refutes what you say."
This quote says a lot about you. You pretend to know everything but based on what you are writing you know very little, especially about Balkans.

Maybe I should be loyal to this proverb: Don't argue with ******, because they lower you to their level and beat you with experience.

stories from the other side said...

By the way, Wim links in this article to Serb propaganda website financed by Serbian Government. Kosovo Compromise is a product of the Serb nationalist 4S Institute. 4S means "only unity will save Serbs" in other words they advocate "Great Serbia".

stories from the other side said...

B92:

"B92 uncovered an official report from Peć District Coordinator Radojko Dunić sent to Kosovo Ministry adviser Milorad Todorović, which reports in detail on all the Serbs who voted in the Kosovo elections in Goraždevac, and which parties they belong to.

The report calls for those people to be sanctioned for working against the state. "

What about democracy, freedom of expression???

Wim Roffel said...

Pierre, thank you for your constructive remarks and for enjoying my blog.

Stories from the other side, Pierre is right that you are not respecting the rules of civilised discussion. The reason that I ignore such remarks is that inter-ethnic discussions are full of disrespect. If you focus on them it drowns the real discussion.

"Kosovo has 93 % Albanian majority": not true. Before the war Albanians were about 85%, Serbs 10% and others 5%. You can't derive rights from the ethnic cleansing that has happened since then.

"What Serbs are doing in negotiations is the same but only packed differently": many international leaders and diplomats made the Serbs compliments that they had for the first time a serious proposal. Yet many rejected the proposal because they reject any type of Serb rule over Kosovo.

"[the Serbs] are only talking about things that happened 700 years ago and making ridiculous claims about Kosovo.": they have to fight Albanian propaganda that Albanians have been in Kosovo for thousands of years. In fact we know very little about the ethnic composition of Kosovo in the past and even the claim that the Albanians descend from the Illyrians has never been proved. Given that the Albanians are stonewalling and refusing any further consessions the Serbs have little choice but to cling to their formal rights.

"Wim links in this article to Serb propaganda website": I looked for a website with the 14 points. As far as I can see there is no official site and I believe that the Kosovo Compromise site gives the best overview. If you look to my link list you will see both Albanian and Serb propaganda sites. I believe in arguments and propaganda sites often have original arguments and facts that you don't find elsewhere.

"B92 uncovered an official report from Peć District Coordinator Radojko Dunić": with KFOR preparing to impose Albanian rule on the Serb enclaves in Kosovo the stakes are getting higher. New Kosova Report is even reporting about a fight between Serbs and KFOR in Gorazdevac. But I haven't seen it confirmed elsewhere yet.

stories from the other side said...

The author of the blog claims Kosovo does not have 93 % majority

Answer: You are wrong, Kosovo today has 92 % Albanian majority according to Kosovo Statistical Bureau. Link: http://www.ks-gov.net/ESK/esk/pdf/shqip/pergjithshme/kosova_shifra_2006.pdf

Author of the blog: Kosovo had 85 % Albanian majority in Kosovo before the war

Answer: Wrong again. According to estimates of Yugoslav Statistical Bureau, Kosovo had 88 % Albanian majority. Where do you have 85 % from? By the way I do not see any difference between 85, 88 or 92 %. All these numbers gives you absolute majority. I don't care if Kosovo has 10 % or 5 % Serbs since it is not up to me or any other to decide how many % Serbs Kosovo should have. We are talking about human beings and all those Serbs who are from Kosovo but have left and want to go back are ABSOLUTELY WELCOME. Many of them have staying permission in Western countries and don't want to go back to Kosovo because of economic reasons, but we have some in Serbia where they are treated as second hand citizens and they should return as soon as possible because I know everything about how it is to be a refugee.

Author: We do not know anything about Albanians in Kosovo

Answer: Even Serb historians accept that Albanians have lived in Kosovo in the middle ages. Albanians are for example mentioned in the code of Tsar Dusan. Albanian majority in Kosovo in the 19., 20. and 21. Century is well documented.

Author: Want more info about Gorazdevac

Answer: I saw it all on TV. Ruecker was there to visit them and they started to throw stones and try to attack him physically. All of them were middle age Serbs and they seemed drunk (neighbors did also tell UNMIK they were drunk, maybe Kostunica sent bottles with Slivovica to them?). I so many women coming out and trying to stop their husbands from attacking the KFOR soldiers and the journalists. I do not think you will find anything juicy in this case.

I am disappointed to read you do not like discussing with me. This is why I am taking a break from commenting on your blog, and I do not really know if I will come back. Wish you good luck.

Wim Roffel said...

Stories, I like to discuss with you and I am learning from you. But I don't like you to suggest that I am racist, ignorant or whatever. And certainly not with some quote from a journalist who is indulging in cheap populism.

Thank for the info on Gorazdevac.

"Albanian majority in Kosovo in the 19., 20. and 21. Century is well documented": as Albanians were a clear majority at the start of the 20th century it is obvious that they were the majority in the late 19th century. But what do we know beyond that? Edith Durham wrote in High Albania (1906?) about a Serb majority in Kosovo east of the railway.

Wim Roffel said...

Stories, I forgot to react to one of your comments:
"We are talking about human beings and all those Serbs who are from Kosovo but have left and want to go back are ABSOLUTELY WELCOME. Many of them have staying permission in Western countries and don't want to go back to Kosovo because of economic reasons, but we have some in Serbia where they are treated as second hand citizens and they should return as soon as possible because I know everything about how it is to be a refugee."
- I suspect that there are less in Western countries than you think. When Kosovo's Albanians were under pressure to emigrate in the early 1990s the borders of Western Europe were still quite open. But now it is much more difficult to get in for asylum or other reasons.
- you sound generous towards Kosovo's Serbs. But you must be an exception as I can't see one city or village in Kosovo under Albanian control where Serbs seem to feel welcome and where they are not inclined to leave.