February 20, 2012
Receiving its 88th, recognition from Uganda, Kosovo three days ago celebrates the fourth anniversary of independence from Serbia with its president Mrs. Atifete Jahjaga, which said that the country looked towards a prosperous future, and with a very pessimist number of its people participating on the Republic’s celebration. US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns left Kosovo on Saturday without addressing the press after meeting political leaders and Serbs clerics and signing a military agreement. A press release issued later by the US embassy said Burns had urged Kosovo to compromise with Belgrade in the EU-led dialogue.
Pristina, KOSOVO – by Vedat Xhymshiti
Monday, February 20, 2012 | The IndependenT NewsweeK |
Having declared its independence on February 17, 2008, Kosovo became the newest state in the world. Kosovo, the neighbor of Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, and Albania; came under the interim administration of the United Nations in 1999.
American, European and influential Muslim nations in the world like Turkey and Saudi Arabia, have said that the political status of Kosovo is resolved, but it doesn’t seems to be so.
Serbia still considers Kosovo a southern province and refuses to recognize its independence. It says Kosovo delegations in regional gatherings should be referred to as “Kosovo 1244” – a reference to the 1999 UN Security Council resolution that provisionally ended Serbian control of the territory but left its final status unresolved.
The opposition nationalist Self-determination (Vetëvendosje) Movement recently started spraying graffiti in Pristina with the words “Republic of Kosovo” (in Albanian “Kosova Republikë”) in response to suggestions that the full name may be sacrificed in the name of a solution to the row with Serbia.
However, on Monday, February 20, 2012 prime minister Thaçi, agreed to remove its country by the Republic content, instead representing it with a footnote that contains the UNSC resolution 1244, which guarantees the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia over Kosovo.
PM Hashim Thaçi, today gives up on Republic for the “outdated resolution”, Hashim Thaçi surrendered to William Burns, the U.S deputy assistant secretary of state, by giving up the Republic.
On the issue of Kosovo’s representation in regional forums and regional initiatives, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, only one day after the visit by U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in Pristina, supported a model that will highlight UNSC Resolution 1244 in the footnote, as insisted upon by Serbia.
The footnote will feature the resolution and the declaration of Kosovo’s independence and the opinion of International Court of Justice about the legality of the act of declaring the independence.
In regards to the removal of the term “Republic” in Kosovo’s representation in regional initiatives, Thaçi said that the symbolism is not important for the Kosovo
“For us the symbolism was not important, for us what is important is the European agenda, the acceleration of the European package for Republic of Kosovo,” Thaçi argued during a press conference on Monday.
There are three proposals on the table regarding Kosovo’s regional representation all of which include a reference to Resolution 1244, the ICJ opinion and Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence, but the late one, didn’t work.
A senior international official told Newsweek that a proposal increasingly gaining
Support in Brussels and Washington is for the footnote to refer to Resolution 1244 and the ICJ’s opinion on “Kosovo’s Declaration of Independence”. The source said that the difference between this proposal and that of the Serbian side is the mentioning of the Declaration of Independence as a document and not as a “unilateral declaration”.
On the other side, there are several reactions on the Kosovo civil society. Avni Zogiani, director of the anti-corruption organization Çohu [Rise Up], one of the biggest critics of the Kosovo Government, said the government has practically agreed to be represented as part of Serbia.
“To say that by reaching this agreement, we will become members of 36 regional organizations is throwing dust in the eyes of Kosovars, because we could have joined all sorts of organizations with Serbia. Thaçi delivered this deal for personal reasons, for his own career,” Zogiani said.
He added that Thaçi has faced tremendous pressure lately and that the tip of the iceberg was the visit to Kosovo by William Burns. Zogiani summarized the pressure against Thaçi as “either compromise or jail” as a result of the bad governance under Thaçi’s leadership.
Kosovo renowned daily Newspaper, Zëri quotes an unnamed member of the European Parliament as saying that if the Government of Kosovo has really accepted Resolution 1244 then this makes lobbying for Kosovo’s recognition almost impossible.
The paper claims that it was contacted by one of the most influential members of the European Parliament who wanted to know if it was true that Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi had really agreed for Kosovo to be represented under Resolution 1244.
The EP member, who preferred to remain anonymous, recalled when Ulrike Lunacek, reporter on Kosovo at the European Parliament, presented her latest resolution on Kosovo.
“At the time, Socialist MPs from Greece, Romania, Cyprus, but also some representatives of popular parties (the biggest parliamentary group) insisted that Resolution 1244 should be included in the document. When we, who are from countries that recognize Kosovo, did not allow this, they asked us ‘what do you have against this resolution’? We told them, 22 countries have recognized Kosovo as a state, and Resolution 1244 no longer exists. Now, to be honest, I don’t know what we are going to tell them,” said the MP who is one of the biggest supporters of Kosovo’s independence.
PM Thaçi insisted that, along with UNSC Resolution 1244 the opinion of International Court of Justice also to be noted in support of the statement of Kosovo Assembly over the unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence.
“Of course, this is unacceptable for us. Our positions are very clear and I think that there is no space for changes”, said Stefanovic.
Just days ago before the 4th anniversary of Independence of Kosovo, PM Thaçi declared that Kosovo will be presented as an Independent state in regional initiatives. But, Serbian chief negotiation team Mr. Stefanovic told reporters that Independence in the footnote is unacceptable.
The European Commission expects that the delegations of Pristina and Belgrade will Begin a new round of discussions tomorrow, said Maja Kocijancic, Spokesperson of The EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Catherine Ashton.
“We have sent invitations to the delegations to come to Brussels tomorrow, and we expect both delegations to appear,” said Kocijancic adding that it is in the interest of both parties to continue the dialogue.
Head of the Serbian delegation Borislav Stefanovic has confirmed participation of the Serbian team at Tuesdays meeting.
The country, having been under the protection of the United Nations until its declaration of independence, took the first steps toward a brand new future. Costa Rica is one of first countries to recognize Kosovo’s independence, than U. S. A, to continue with France, Afghanistan, Albania and Turkey ect.
Serbia had taken the issue of unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo to the ICJ three years ago, believing that the court’s advisory opinion would back its claim that such a move has breached the international law.
The International Court of Justice at The Hague ruled that Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence did not violate international law.
The strongest disputer of this ruling, Serbia’s ministry of foreign affairs, has emphasized numerous times that it will consider the decision as irrelevant if it doesn’t satisfy its interests. This, a clear indicator about Serbian policy of just buying time while taking such initiatives as this court case.
Kosovo is in limbo; supported by the United States and the EU heavyweights, but with its path to UN membership firmly barred by Russia and China on the Security Council, with a clear majority of countries that either oppose or haven’t decided yet about its recognition.
The landlocked country of 2 million people, mostly ethnic Albanians, is among the poorest in Europe, swallowing over 4 billion Euros in aid since the war with Belgrade ended in 1999.
Despite its rich mineral resources, the main source of income is agriculture. Kosovo has an ethnic Albanian population of two million. Due to Serbs leaving Kosovo after 1999, there are only 100 thousand Serbs left. The Serbian minority lives in closed regions under the administration of the NATO Peacekeeping forces.
The EU-mediated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina started in March 2011 in order to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, both of which hope to join the EU one day. The two sides have reached deals on trade, freedom of movement, cadastral registry and mutual recognition of university diplomas.
Under the regime of former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Belgrade in 1990 put an end to decades of broad autonomy for Kosovo Albanians and introduced direct rule in the province, where minority Serbs led all institutions.
Calls for renewal of autonomy by ethnic Albanians were rejected. This led to armed rebellion by Kosovo Albanian groups, followed by stern Serbian repression in 1998 and 1999. The international response came by way of 11 weeks of NATO bombing of Serbian installations.
The war in Kosovo erupted in 1998 when Serbia launched a brutal crackdown against the Albanian civilians, as well as people fighting for liberation of their country from Serbia.
The UN administration was introduced after 11 weeks of NATO bombardment of Serbia due to Belgrade’s repression against two million Kosovo Albanians.
Kosovo is the state, which is the last to emerge from the remains of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. However Russia, Serbia’s old-time ally, has blocked a United Nations Security Council resolution on the country’s independence and emergence as a free state.