Sunday, August 29, 2010

The hurdles for border changes in Kosovo

Finally the Crisis Group has found some wisdom. In their last report they discus for the first time border changes as a way to solve the Kosovo conflict. They argue that their main objection - that it might serve as a precedent for Macedonia and Bosnia - no longer applies. It is still not their favorite solution and they "forget" to elaborate on the minority situation in Kosovo as an argument for partition. But it is some progress.

The reactions are predictable. Just as when after Ahtisaari's negotiations failed the Troika for a short time opened the option of a partition both sides have refused. This is part of the nagotiation game and one can only hope that the international diplomats are this time better in handling it:
- for Serbia accepting partition would mean an implicit recognition of Kosovo.
- for Kosovo accepting partition would mean accepting that their present independence is not valid.

Besides that botb sides have other demands outside border issues. The Serbs want better (stronger) minority rights that make Kosovo's Serbs less dependent on the whims of radical politicians in Kosovo. And Kosovo needs better access to Serbia to get its economy started.

The solution has to be some package deal in which everything is solved at once. This can only work if the US and the EU are behind it. As long as the US and the EU stay put the present stalemate will continue. Even if the Albanians will do concession the Serbs will suspect that they may withdraw them later on - with Western support - while claiming that the Serb concessions mean that the Serb position is weakening.

1 comment:

Lavdas said...

I don't understand why the USA/EU (and even Russia, although it probably cares the least) don't push for this solution, everyone gains a bit and loses a bit. Kosovo can finally become a real,recognized country, Serbia regains some of its land,(everyone knows that repossesion of entire kosovo is totally unrealistic and even economically/politically unwanted.)
For the western world the big advantage (apart from solving this issue) is that when both states agree there finally is no fear of setting a precedent.