Friday, December 02, 2011

German views on the recent Kosovo clashes

Looking at the German press about the recent clashes between NATO and protesters in Northern Kosovo the fate of the own soldiers dominates - above all in Austria.

Some headlines:

Mitteldeutsche Zeitung: Kirsch fordert höhere Auslandszulage für Soldaten im Kosovo. Translated: Kirsch (president of a union of soldiers) asks for a higher expat allowance for soldiers who go to Kosovo. Im Kosovo verletzter Soldat: „Beim Bosnien-Einsatz 2012 bin ich dabei“.
Translated: Soldier who was wounded in Kosovo: "I will be there when we are stationed in Bosnia". Kosovo-Fliegerarzt im Talk: "Soldaten bekommen psychologische Hilfe". Doctor on airplane that evacuated soldiers to Austria: soldiers get psychological help.

Thüringer Allgemeine: Verletzter Sondershäuser Offizier will im Kosovo bleiben.
Translated: wounded Officer from Sondershausen wants to stay in Kosovo.

I could go on and mention another dozen similar titles.

A translated quote from one German parliamentarian who visited Kosovo: Johannes Selle was not only as parliamentarian happy to have learned a bit more about the background of the UN mandate in Kosovo. It is important for his decisions in Berlin. Even though the soldiers cannot go into details for security reasons became it clear that the confrontations in the area of employment have changed recently. "The red line of mutual agreements has been crossed by the few Serb militants", cited Selle. And he means that people no longer keep the agreement not to shoot each other.

In addition the Serb hooligans recently place women, old people and children in the street blockades, so that the soldiers can no longer use tear gas when they want to remove street barricades. But the main problems in the regions have been solved and they will deal with the remaining militant hooligans too - so Selle und Hengstermann (an officer) briefly summarize their conversations with soldiers. They have developed a good relationship with most of the people - but the situation is still too dangerous for touristic trips.

I read several reports that in general relations between German soldiers and the Serb population are good. It looks like the Serbs in Kosovo - and specially the protesters - should spend more of their time explaining their cause to those German soldiers.

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