September 2, 2008

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia, the last in 2007, is dedicated to Kosovo.

In his article “Kosovo 20 Years Ago and Today,” diplomat Rein Oidekivi traces the historical origins of the current problems and outlines the part played by Slobodan Milošević in the recent history of Kosovo, as well as the role of Kosovo in the rise and fall of Milošević.

This issue of Diplomaatia, the last in 2007, is dedicated to Kosovo.

In his article “Kosovo 20 Years Ago and Today,” diplomat Rein Oidekivi traces the historical origins of the current problems and outlines the part played by Slobodan Milošević in the recent history of Kosovo, as well as the role of Kosovo in the rise and fall of Milošević.

English summary

This issue of Diplomaatia, the last in 2007, is dedicated to Kosovo.
In his article “Kosovo 20 Years Ago and Today,” diplomat Rein Oidekivi traces the historical origins of the current problems and outlines the part played by Slobodan Milošević in the recent history of Kosovo, as well as the role of Kosovo in the rise and fall of Milošević. Oidekivi dismisses the myth that depicts Milošević as a tabula rasa before he went to Kosovo:
“He stepped forward, the crowd was facing him, suddenly a shock went through him and he started speaking in sincere and honest words. By the time he returned to Serbia, he was a hard-line nationalist. There is not much truth to this legend. The ‘spontaneity’ was planned in advance and acted out faultlessly.”
The rest is history: Milošević seized control in Serbia, the Serbian nationalist movement gained ground in the whole of Yugoslavia and the bloody disintegration of Yugoslavia followed soon after.
“Looking back, I cannot escape the analogy between Yugoslavia and a puzzle. When Tito put it together, it was quite fascinating and even glorious. As it turned out, the pieces did not fit,“ states Oidekivi.
Christa Meindersma, a political analyst and former UN and Dutch diplomat, continues the analogy of the puzzle game. She states that stability in the Balkan requires a solution to Kosovo, the last remaining piece of the puzzle. “An imposed peace that satisfies no-one may offer a short-term reprieve but will lead to more violence and instability in the medium to long term,” maintains Meindersma. She claims that the risks of enforcing secession of Kosovo against the will of Serbia are too grave in terms of dividing Europe and undermining the legitimacy of the UN as well as setting a dangerous precedent for resolving other minority issues. “Therefore the international community should discourage a premature declaration of independence by the Kosovar Albanian leadership and continue to facilitate negotiations, within the framework of resolution 1244 and building on what has been achieved so far.”
Tim Judah, writer and freelance journalist also working for The Economist, examines how the turmoil in Kosovo affects the unity of the European Union. According to Judah, a lumbering Russian bear, roaring: “I am back”¦” egged on by Serbia, terrified the flock of undecided EU sheep, including most prominently Germany, into rushing into the pen labelled “EU Unity.” Judah continues: “Now, as it becomes clear that Russian policy is heading for failure over Kosovo, Mr Ahtisaari is saying, with only the slightest hint of irony in his voice, that ‘the Russian attitude has reinforced the unity of the EU. I don’t think that was the original intent.’”
Fyodor Lukyanov, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Russia in Global Affairs, points out that the West had anticipated Moscow’s unconditional acceptance of its plan to solve the Kosovo problem. “However, the Kremlin saw Kosovo from a different perspective. This issue involved a question of principle as to who defines the rules in the international arena and how these rules are defined.” Lukyanov claims that Kosovo could easily turn out to be an example of how a complex, but solvable problem is treated unprofessionally, thus transforming it into an almost global crisis. “It seems that after the Cold War diplomats have lost their ability to achieve any goals,” summarises Lukyanov.
Political scientist Eiki Berg considers Kosovo’s independence through the prism of international law. According to Berg, one of the peculiarities of the present situation is the fact that international law provides both for the right of national self-determination and for the inviolability of territorial integrity. “The same regulations determine the principles of indivisibility and divisibility of sovereignty. While some nations and territories may become independent under certain conditions, others may not.”
Diplomaatia publishes the article “Countdown. The Letter from Kosovo” by William Finnegan, a contributor to the magazine The New Yorker. He introduces Agim Ceku, the former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army who later became the prime minister, as well as describes the lives of the Kosovar Albanian nationalists and the Serb hard-liners. He paints a colourful picture of all the controversies raging in Kosovo.
Diplomat Karin Maandi analyses Kosovar identity and its construction. Maandi states that in recent years public opinion polls have shown that 90% of Kosovar Albanians desire independence and 10% prefer to join Albania. “They do not want to join Serbia. This means that while the Kosovar Albanian nationalists have for a long time claimed the opposite, today young Kosovars have their own, Kosovar identity.”
Now many Kosovars claim that even though they were raised as a part of the Albanian nation living in Albania, their identity has changed.

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