Kosovo: Mitrovica a currency for political benefits

Mitrovica, a city in a long-term conflict of property-dispute, by ethnic Serbs and Albanians. 12 years ago, regardless many promises of international and national politicians, there’s no peace, there’s no...

Mitrovica, a city in a long-term conflict of property-dispute, by ethnic Serbs and Albanians. 12 years ago, regardless many promises of international and national politicians, there’s no peace, there’s no life but sure it is a future. A future with bombs, bullets, tear gas and ethnically motivated killings, ‘supported’ by Belgrade, Pristina and international political organizations that operates in the Balkans. I am saying supported since 12 years ago, there’s no serious commitment by the both sides to make a human solution in this part of Kosovo, for the human interest.
Pristina, KOSOVO – by Vedat Xhymshiti
Wednesday, April 11, 2012 | News Week
Into this situation of a constant conflict of northern Kosovo, the only winners are the politicians, while it is clear known that both sides Serbian and Kosovo Albanian politicians use Mitrovica as ‘Promised Land’, on their pre-elections campaign.
An apparent bomb planted outside an apartment window killed an ethnic Albanian man and wounded two of his children on Sunday April 8 in the ethnically tense Kosovo city of Mitrovica. Police are investigating the incident, but Kosovo authorities are already calling it an act of terrorism.
The top European Union official in Kosovo urged people to stay calm, telling the Associated Press it is best to leave the matter to the police. Many Albanian families residing in the neighborhood of ‘Three Towers’ north of the divided city of Mitrovica, are shifted to the south of the city. Masked Serb is patrolling in the town of Mitrovica, reporters are being told by eyewitness.
A social organization in face book so known as “Duaje Tenden” (English: Love Yours) backed by Albanian contradictory political subject “Vetëvendosje” (English: Self-Determination) at the edge of Monday noon, called ethnic Albanians of Kosovo for a wide protests on Tuesday, at 3/pm, to gather at the main bridge that divide the never-ending conflict town of Kosovo, into north dominated by Serbs and south, dominated by ethnic Albanians.
Vetëvendosje party head members Salih Zyba and Xhelal Svecla were seen by reporters to conduct observation patrols in the riverside part of the southern bank of Mitrovica. Just hours later “Duaje Tenden” (English: Love yours) social network organization announced as cancelled their expected activity. “Duaje Tënden cancelled the event “PROTEST ne Mitrovice”. 18:27
London based photojournalistic agency ‘Demotix’, and its reporter in Kosovo, are being ignored by ‘Vetëvendosje’ political subject press officials for professional official cooperation, so they could not be contacted to be asked why their party head members where conducting the foot-patrol in the Ibar riverside of the southern side of the ethnically divided city of northern Kosovo. This ignorance appear after two articles being published in Kosovo, for the investigations that I have conducted in the subject and the manipulations that are being developed by using youth teenagers of Kosovo, for their very close financial interest of the certain people that leads the aforementioned subject, a political party that also used Mitrovica as its ‘passport’ slogan for the pre-elections campaign back in 2010 in Kosovo.
Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Kosovo (SRSG) Farid Zarif strongly condemned the bomb attack on Sunday morning at the Three Towers complex in northern Mitrovica. Mr. Selver Haradinaj, a 38 year-old husband and father of four children, was killed in the blast and two of his children were wounded. “Our condolences go to the Haradinaj family who have our thoughts and prayers,” Mr. Zarif said and continued,
“This act of violence should be condemned by all. Everyone should cooperate fully with the investigation underway to ensure the perpetrator(s) are brought to justice swiftly. Further acts of violence cannot, and must not, be tolerated. Such acts can only threaten Kosovo’s peace and stability. I urge all residents to remain calm and let the responsible authorities undertake their duties,” Mr. Zarif said.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has since been recognized by the US and 22 of the EU’s 27 member states. But the fate of the Serb-dominated pockets of northern Kosovo, whose residents effectively live as if still forming part of Serbia, remains a festering sore, while their resentment of the Pristina government continues to bubble.
Billboards praising Vladimir Putin feature his face under the strap line: “Our honorary citizen.” Graffiti condemning Eulex is daubed on walls and shutters. A sign by the main bridge warning against “malicious or provocative” behavior has been torn down and vandalized.
Holding elections in the Serb-dominated northern areas is seen as especially problematic, as they will serve to reinforce Serbia’s so-called “parallel institutions” in the borderland region.
Abandoning these institutions is one of the conditions that Brussels has set for Serbia as it pursues EU accession. Edita Tahiri, Kosovo deputy PM, accuses Belgrade, which was granted EU candidate status earlier this year, of “double standards” and argues the EU must exert more pressure.
“Serbia shows a European face to the EU, but in the region, especially vis-à-vis Kosovo, it continues to be anti-European,” Miss. Tahiri, told the Irish Times. “Now that Serbia has gained candidate status, I strongly believe the EU has more leverage to ask Serbia to perform according to European values, which include good neighborly relations and regional co-operation and stability.”
Pieter Feith, a Dutch diplomat who has spent several years in Kosovo as head of the International Civilian Office – the main international supervisory body for the fledgling state – told ‘Irish Times’ that he believes the situation in the north has the potential of becoming a frozen conflict.
“There are frozen conflicts elsewhere in the world, in the Caucasus and the Middle East, which have been tolerated for years or generations, but to have a frozen conflict in the heartland of Europe is highly dangerous and cannot be accepted,” he says. “One way or another this problem in the north of Kosovo needs to be addressed and solved.”
HISTORY
Kosovo: French troops deployment and retreat of Serbs,
in June 18, 1999. (Sygma Photo/Patrick Robert)
In the aftermath of the war, Mitrovica became a symbol of Kosovo’s ethnic divisions. The badly damaged southern half of the town was repopulated by an estimated 50,000 Albanians. Their numbers have since grown with the arrival of refugees from destroyed villages in the countryside. In the north, live some 17,000 Kosovo Serbs, with 2,000 Kosovo Albanians and 1,700 Muslim Slavs inhabitting discrete enclaves on the north side of the Ibar river. Almost all of the Serbs living on the south side were displaced to Northern Mitrovica after the Kosovo War.
During the nights between the 3rd andth 4 of February 2000, over 11,364.00 ethnic Albanians were foreclly expelled by the organized armed groups of northern Serbs. On March 17, 2004, the drowning of an Albanian child in the river prompted major ethnic violence in the town and a Serbian teenager was killed.
Demonstrations by thousands of angry Albanians and Serbs mobilized to stop them crossing the river degenerated into rioting and gunfire, leaving at least eight Albanians dead and at least 300 injured. The bloodshed sparked off the worst unrest in Kosovo seen since the end of the 1999 war
The local prison was the scene of an international incident on April 18, 2004 when Ahmad Mustafa Ibrahim, a Jordanian policeman working as a UN prison guard, opened fire on a group of UN police officers leaving a class, killing three of them.
General view, of the bridge, that divides Serbs and
Albanians districts in Mitrovica, northern Kosovo.
(Sygma Photo/Yannis Kotos) 22 February, 2000
Tensions rose considerably in the city of Mitrovica after the Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008. Some 150 Kosovo Serb police officers refused to take orders from the ethnic Albanian authorities and were suspended.
Serb protesters prevented ethnic Albanian court employees from crossing the bridge over the Ibar River. UN police raided and seized the courthouse on March 14 using tear gas against Serbs and leaving some of them wounded. The explosion of a hand-grenade injured several UN and NATO staff on March 17; UN forces were later withdrawn from the northern part of Mitrovica.
The Serbian minority has formed the Community Assembly of “Kosovo and Metohija” in the city, but it has no public police force. Serbs refuse to accept the jurisdiction of Kosovo courts, Republic of Kosovo leaders have expressed concern over the future of the region, stating their commitment to keep Mitrovica part of Kosovo and prevent crime or war there.
In 2011, the city had an estimated total population of 71,601 and the municipality’s population is estimated to be some 71,601.
For nearly eleven months, Serbs have been blocking main roads in northern Kosovo to stop the country’s ethnic Albanian leadership from extending their control over the part of Kosovo
populated mostly by ethnic Serbs. Troubles started in July when Kosovo sent special police units to the northern border to enforce a trade ban with Serbia but were turned back by armed Serbs.
NATO-led troops in Kosovo have warned the Serbs to lift the blockade. The peacekeepers say they want to establish freedom of movement in the region and reopen supply routes for their troops. Kosovo Serb leaders are likely to remain defiant, so far there’s nothing to stop them.
However, Mitrovica remains a never-ending conflict story, barricades remains in northern Kosovo, but also stances such as “they will be removed” keep remaining printed in online and printing in Kosovar and Serbian broad news agencies.
More than 80 countries, including the United States and 22 of the EU’s 27 members, have recognized 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.
But Serbia maintains that Kosovo remains part of Serbia, which is why it says it has a right and duty to hold elections there. Abandoning Serbian-run “parallel institutions” in Kosovo is a condition that Brussels has set before Serbia, if the country wishes to get a start date for accession talks with the EU.

Vedat Xhymshiti | Promote your Page too

Vedat Xhymshiti; is an independent journalist and war correspondent. He has reported on a number of Middle Eastern conflicts from the Arab Spring in 2010 to the current Syrian civil war. He has been published in various media including Der Spiegel, NY Times, TIME, Paris Match, Le Monde ect. He is specialized in International Relations and Diplomacy. Xhymshiti is also a print media critic, a columnist for the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, and founder of THEFrontliner.net

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