Nr 52 • Detsember 2007

The Countdown

Early in the morning on May 14, 1999, a large force of Serbian paramilitaries, soldiers, and special police appeared in Qyshk, a farming village in western Kosovo. The Serbs had come to Qyshk before, searching for weapons and valuables, but this time they herded the residents, all ethnic Albanians, toward the center of the village. They said that they were looking for Hasan Ceku, the father of General Agim Ceku, the chief of staff of the Kosovo Liberation Army. This was at the height of the war between the Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic’s forces and the K.L.A., and seven weeks after NATO had entered the conflict, bombing Belgrade and other parts of Yugoslavia in an attempt to halt Milosevic’s brutal campaign against Kosovo’s Albanian majority. Hasan Ceku, who was sixty-nine years old, came forward, according to an eyewitness. To prove who he was, he produced a picture of his son Agim. “They shot Hasan right there, and set him on fire,” another witness said. The Serbs also killed Agim’s uncle Kadri Ceku.

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A Russian Bear and EU Sheep

Barring unforeseens, a new state looks set to be born in Europe early in 2008. If Kosovo is then recognised by the vast majority of EU states, the US and many others, this will represent a major defeat not just for Serbian diplomacy but for Russia as well. If this proves to be the case, it should provoke a lot of soul-searching amongst Russian policy makers since the fact is that its policy over Kosovo seems to have backfired, producing exactly the opposite result from the one intended.

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Kosovo: Solving the Last Piece of the European Puzzle

The unresolved situation in Kosovo has serious implications for the European Union (EU), for the United Nations (UN), for NATO and for regional stability. Adoption by the UN Security Council of a plan for supervised independence for Kosovo, formulated in May this year by the Finnish negotiator Ahtisaari, was blocked by Russia and China. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon then gave the parties until December 10 to negotiate a new solution. These negotiations have not (yet) resulted in a mutually acceptable resolution for Kosovo’s future status. The failure of the international community to agree on a way forward after December 10 risks renewed violence, refugee flows, bloodshed and destabilisation on the edges of Europe. It also risks undermining the unity of Europe and the legitimacy of the UN.

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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.

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