BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's Euroblog
« Previous | Main | Next »

Kosovo lights up the EU

Mark Mardell | 08:00 UK time, Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Here in Pristina, you can do the Solana spark-up. All the rage is a lighter with a button to the side: press it and a picture of the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs is beamed on to the nearest available surface. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Javier Solana with Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci in Pristina
But can EU foreign policy set the world alight, or rather prevent it bursting into flames?

More specifically is the European Union's position on Kosovo an unholy muddle, testimony to the near impossibility of getting 27 countries to agree anything of substance, or a triumph for those who want EU foreign policy to be big and bold?

Diplomats who want the maximum support possible for an independent Kosovo are very pleased that they got as much agreement as they did at this week's foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. Because of worries that this sets a precedent for their own would-be breakaway minorities, five countries, led by Spain and Cyprus, were very nervous.

Hard nut

The pro-independent diplomats had to ensure that certain practical measures were agreed before independence, to massage the feelings of those countries. It was a tough, long haul, with the usual preparatory meetings failing to reach agreement on the exact words to use. Spain was a hard nut to crack, and at one point it looked as if, as one source put it, they wouldn't sign up to anything that even mentioned the word "Kosovo".

So I can understand their frustration after this hard slog that some are left distinctly unimpressed.

But the words on the paper are a pretty bland confection of fudge. This is the detail of what the 27 foreign ministers agreed: They note the fact that Kosovo has declared independence. They note it's up to individual countries to recognise Kosovo, or not.

They welcome the continued presence of the international community, based on an old UN resolution. They agree to play a leading role in the region, referring specifically to the previously agreed 2,000-strong team to "mentor" Kosovo's police and judges, and the appointment of an EU special representative.

The Commission is asked to help with political and economic development.

It may have been hard to get even this agreement, but step back a bit. Only months ago the talk was of a "big bang", the US and the EU countries declaring as one that they recognised Kosovo, which would give momentum to the process.

This has not happened. The five opponents of independence within the EU may not quite agree with Serbia and Russia that it's illegal and immoral , but presumably their stance means they don't think Kosovo should be independent.

You could argue that this is a pretty pathetic failure to get agreement on a very basic question, and one that sends a signal of muddle and lack of resolution by the EU.

Ultimate power

And yet, and yet... the European Union is here, or at least will be, in force. The 2,000-strong police and justice mission will arrive to keep and eye on police, judges and government: its real mission to stamp down on corruption and make sure the Serbs are protected.

EU Special Representative Pieter Feith pictured here in 2001The EU's Special Representative, a Dutch diplomat, will be the ultimate authority here. Although he would be loathe to be seen as some sort of colonial governor, and would stress that his role is to advise the government, he does have the power to over-rule the elected politicians if they try to depart from the path set out in an agreed plan.

The European Commission will be pumping money in to this place like there is no tomorrow, and paving the way for Kosovo to one day join the European Union. Presumably other members of the EU will have to recognise it by then.

Any of the countries with doubts could have used their veto to stop any of this, if they really do find it offensive, although I suspect they were subjected to quite a lot of Qualified Majority Bullying (or perhaps Bribing) by Britain, France and Germany, not to mention the Commission and the United States.

So this is rather odd. No strong symbolic statement, just practical, big picture action. What is the world coming to if the EU's real impact is stronger than its rhetoric?

Comments   Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 09:20 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Ronald Grünebaum wrote:

Mark, you point out, like many other journalists, that the EU 27 don't have a common position on the indepedence of Kosovo.

Why should they? This is a very complex and emotional issue (basically it comes down to the still not completed dismantling of the Ottoman empire) and people naturally have different views.

Make a simple test: Ask the BBC's foreign policy team about this. Do you all have the same position?

Nothing wrong with that as long as a majority position evolves and is respected by everyone. It's called democracy.

  • 2.
  • At 09:45 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • RP wrote:


'paving the way for Kosovo to one day join the European Union.'-- do you mean in 75 years or so? Pumping money
in a black hole is easy, creating any type of economy is immensely more difficult. Let's just wait a bit to see the EU's real impact. The rhetoric is all coming from the
politicians-- just imagine the Danish, the Dutch and
the French approving Kosovo's entry into the EU in a

I'm amazed that you (and the press in general) do not state the obvious. The northern part of Kosovo will spilt up and rejoin Serbia proper. Whether the Serbian people
are willing to pay this price to give up on Kosovo, it is another story. One problem is that no Serb in the right mind will believe any of the EU promises.

  • 3.
  • At 10:25 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • AbdoulHamid wrote:

I am a muslim livin in england and i do not agree with Kosovo being split up from serbia. It is there coutry and always will be there holy land.

  • 4.
  • At 10:47 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Gael wrote:

This is largely the story of all European achievements. Beforehand, we shake our heads and say "that will never happen." Afterwards, we shake our heads and say "Is this really all we could do?".

We can talk about democratic deficit - it exists, it's true. We can talk about symbolic deficit - I, for one, would have gladly chucked the rest of the constitution in order to get a common flag, anthem and motto.

But still, when we look back, the European Union is there because it actually gets work done (naysayers notwithstanding), and that's why it will stay.

  • 5.
  • At 11:09 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • SD wrote:

Interesting that Belgium has recognized the new Kosovan state. They have no worries about separatism?

Personally I hope this is all going to lead eventually to a European Union of around 50 little states, each with a population of about 3 to 12 million. And only two level of governance: the EU (fully democratic by then, with no 'large' states against 'small' states) for everything that needs to be done together, and the mini states for things that matter directly to their citizens. Ultimate utopia.

  • 6.
  • At 11:19 AM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • miles wrote:

To the comments that fall back on the word 'genocide' as a pretext for the Serbs being ethincally cleansed from their heartland, simply google or wikipedia Kosovan Albanian SS, where you can find lots of information about real genocide committed by Kosovan Albanians against jews gypsies and serbs with the full blessing of Adolf Hitler. Its nice to know we are completing the job. I am ashamed to be British.

  • 7.
  • At 12:00 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Pappas wrote:

Kosovo is Serbian and has been so for thousands of years.

Kosova to stay in Serbia where it belongs!

Free North Cyprus from the brutal Turkish occupation! Cyprus has been Greek for thousands of years!

Shame to UK and the USA. Nation wreckers.

  • 8.
  • At 12:21 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Michael Walsh wrote:

In fairness, the police and justice mission would have probably happened anyway! Claims of either Serbian or Kosovan sovereignty are all rather hollow. The EU's going to be in charge. Its bite really is bigger than its bark!

  • 9.
  • At 12:32 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • kosovari, USA wrote:

Mark, I have to agree with you. Kosova is going to be a big test for the Union, which consists of so many states with different political, ethnical backgrounds and I'm confident that it will pass it, There are not to many choices out there. With the independent Kosova a historical and moral justice has been served, and justice is the heart of any union. Of the countries that oppose the independence, the Spain is the biggest and the more significant, but I'm sure that after their elections Spain will join the rest of the European Union. As far as Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus they should be kicked out of the Union for about five years! Next time EU should be more picky who becomes a member of our Union!

  • 10.
  • At 01:33 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Jelena wrote:

The purpose of the UN mission on Kosovo was to bring peace and tolerance, to introduce certain standards before solving the status. I am not sure if they succeeded....All that money for what? Someone’s salaries, official vehicles, private businesses run on Kosovo(?)….If you have been to Kosovo after the conflict you would seen people from all over the world who have never left their village working for UN mission. That kind of people should help Kosovo in its pat to Europe? How they will fight against mafia and criminals who are dictating economy and trade on Kosovo? How they will fight against corruption? Will Kosovo be accepted in EU despite all of this?

  • 11.
  • At 01:43 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Erik wrote:

I, for one, as a Dutchman am proud one of my fellow countrymen will play such an important role in a crucial area in the Balkans. Perhaps we can finally start to repair our broken reputation in the region since the Srebrenica horror from the mid-1990s.

  • 12.
  • At 02:01 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • potatolord wrote:

Gosh, it's shocking that all these other countries are not immediately recognising Europe's newest state, isn't it?

The fact that, several days of the announcement, only a half dozen EU countries have chosen to recognise Kosovo/ Kosova speaks volumes about how this development is viewed. No-one I have spokne to in the UK seems to think this is a good idea. Oh, except the BBC with their usual partisan reporting.

As a British man, I am appalled at the fact that my government has connived in dismembering a country against its will. I am equally horrified that we now seem to have entered into an indefinite commitment to financially and militarily support this country.

  • 13.
  • At 02:21 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Burim Breznica wrote:

Dear Mark,
This is again an excellent and very realistic article on Kosova written by you. Thanks for been so professional!
The Kosovo people want to be assisted and in some areas even coached by the EU for a period of time but also to be integrated into the union as soon as possible. That is why the Kosovars have accepted this monitored/supervised independence (in the fields of rule of law, police and security as well as minority and cultural rights)which is based on the Mr. Ahtisaris plan.
Probably most people of Europe have seen how the Kosovans celebrated in Prishtina and other cities with EU flags, with British, French, German, Swiss... as well as American flags. That shows the sympathies, the respect and gratitude that people of Kosova have for the Europeans&Americans and for all what they did for Kosova but also for the values and for what they represent.
Burim B. Prishtinë

  • 14.
  • At 02:36 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Tony Robinson wrote:

Those areas of Kosovo which have a majority of ethnic Serbs and border Serbia should be part of Serbia.

  • 15.
  • At 03:13 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • John Smith wrote:

"The European Commission will be pumping money in to this place like there is no tomorrow"

You forgot to add "for decades" to the the quoted text. We are all just puppets of the big all-mighty USA. I really have to give it up to Serbs, because they are one of the few nations left that have dignity (and guts) to go against the US and their puppets.

  • 16.
  • At 03:19 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • TINA wrote:

My worries are related to the countries who dont recognise Kosove and still are willing to send their staff in the new mission. Rumanian soldiers last year killed 2 persons in peaceful protestst and now they are ready to send 250 people in Kosove even though they are so much against the Kosove independence. So when it comes to their nationals receiving high salaries their are willining to participate ...VERY Odd !

  • 17.
  • At 03:57 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Marko wrote:


Although you do a fair job of alluding to the behind the scenes bullying conducted by the Americans to push many of the EU counties into recognition, you skirt around the fundamental issue of illegality. Recognition by various countries may provide the Kosovo seperatists with some practical assistance for teh time being but recognition by, say the USA, does not render an illegal act legal and there can be no doubt at all that the attempt at secession by Kosovo is illegal. This has created significant instability in the Balkans and is likely to lead to a reopening of other post Yugoslav territorial settlements. It has, however, broader implications because the signal that it sends to the rest of the world is that the EU is happy to jettison legality when it believes that this suits its short term interests. The absurd, not to say, tragic paradox is already finding ample illustration in attempts by NATO to force Serbs in northern Kosovo to accept the authority of a illegal state which they reject.

  • 18.
  • At 04:06 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Sam Douglas wrote:


A good article, thanks.

Apart from setting a precedent for breakaway oprvinces, one of the problems arising from the recognition by the US, the UK, Germany and France of an independent Kosovo is that the rights of 300,000 Serbs who have been displaced from that area of Serbia have been ignored. The UN, NATO, US and EU have condoned what could be viewed as ethnic cleansing of a significant portion of the Kosovo populace since the 'West' forced the Belgrade government to withdraw.

It appears to me a further problem is that it will only be by the EU heavily subsidising that small region that it will have any chance of economic survival on its own.

London NW10

  • 19.
  • At 04:11 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Stefan Kirov wrote:

I do have two very simple questions:
1. Do you think there ought to be a "right of return" for the Serbs that were ethnically cleansed after NATO took over?
2. Could the Serbs in Kosovo, where they form majority, separate in their own country (let's call it Serbovo, or perhaps even better Mitrovo) and declare independence?

  • 20.
  • At 04:23 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Oliver wrote:

Hi Mark, could you make mention of the UN charter here? The opening (Chp.1, Art. 2) of the charter states that the purposes of the UN are.. "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;" As Russia and Serbia are long signed up members of the UN, aren't they obliged to recognise the right of Kosovans to declare independence. It might well be illegal for the EU or USA or declare Kosovo independent, but presumably not to recognize the legal personality that Kosovans have endowed upon themselves.

  • 21.
  • At 04:59 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Stefan Kirov wrote:

I do have two very simple questions:
1. Do you think there ought to be a "right of return" for the Serbs that were ethnically cleansed after NATO took over?
2. Could the Serbs in Kosovo, where they form majority, separate in their own country (let's call it Serbovo, or perhaps even better Mitrovo) and declare independence?

  • 22.
  • At 05:01 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Ronald wrote:

Why would we want to have Kosovo in the EU?

They have absolute nothing to offer but crime and poverty, so why in godsname should we take in Kosovo.

We don;t even want Turkey in the EU and they are a lot bigger and richer, the EU is already to big, yet you advocate to get more country's in, you what happens if too many country's get in???

The rich country's will leave the EU again, so stop promoting Kosovo in the EU, the majority of the EU citizens didn't even want Romania, poland etc etc in the EU.

Wait till next elections in the Netherlands where the strong anti-EU political party will win the elections.

  • 23.
  • At 05:03 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • nysret s wrote:

the very fact that most of the western countries which are well known for their democratick rule do recognise rightly so kosova as an indenpendent country tells everybody that this is the right thing for the all sides much as rusia not recognising the right of the kosovans to declare their own country this or that it should not suprise anybody sice even though they call themselves democratic we all know what that means in russia and they still live under the impression that they can forge the world to their liking in this case siding with their cousins which was most probably expected by most if not all free thinking world.The only thing suprising in all this mele is the reservations of some european countries not cyprus or greece to support the rest of the eu as they should.In few years when kosova is most probably one of the eu (and serbia )eventually all this is going to be remembered as a bad part of the history of the region and a black spot on the resyme of the countries who want to be in eu just for their benefits without really backing the proper decisions this body is trying to take .

  • 24.
  • At 05:08 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • michael yates wrote:

I'm fed up with the phrase 'International Community'. why doesn't someone at the BBC have the independence of mind to unpack it or analyse it fully for the enlightenment of everyone?

  • 25.
  • At 05:15 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Justin wrote:

Now that Kosovans are free from the shackles of the pathetic government in Serbia, they can now work to become a thriving, prosperous nation with full membership of the European Union.

I think the path ahead for Kosovo is rocky but ultimately very bright. The European Union is the way ahead for Kosovo. As a British person, I am very proud that my country has played it's part in saving Kosovans from the psychotic and evil regime of Milosevic.

I also think Serbia has got a nerve trying to claim Kosovo is still a part of their country after all they have put the Kosovan people through. The only thing Serbia has brought the people of Kosovo is misery. I am very glad the Kosovan people are finally free at last.

  • 26.
  • At 05:20 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Philip wrote:

Well done Europe,
We can now boast of our very own nacro-state and NATO protectorate.
All we have to do now is sit and wait for the street price of drugs to plummet.

Philip - Greece

  • 27.
  • At 05:40 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Zoran wrote:

This was not an act of independence. This was and act of separatism. Kosovo Albanians declared their indpendence from one country (Serbia)waiving flags of another country (Albania). Kosovo is nothing but Southern part of Serbia and will always be. You can call it however you like.

  • 28.
  • At 05:48 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Luis Martinez wrote:

Dear Mark,
It is very clear that the position adopted by Spain has deeply hurt the so called "big powers" in the UE as well as the US. The reason why they failed to impose their will on the entire UE is mainly due to Madrid's stance on this issue. Not surprisingly, the anglosaxon media is up in arms in a campaign denigrating Spain's position as self serving in view of the alleged risk of seccession in Catalonia and the Basque Country ( a nonsense for everyone knowing a bit about Spain). Besides, it is a very curious allegation bearing in mind that the "big ones" have at home the likes of Scotland, Northern Ireland, Corsica, Bretagne or the Padania in Italy. The difference between them an Spain, beyond our diverging interpretation of International Law, it is simply that we in Spain do not have the same geopolitical goals as they have in breaking up the Balkans or confronting Russia at all costs.
Yours sincerely
Luis Martinez

  • 29.
  • At 05:49 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Zoran wrote:

You see, problem is, that Europe did a lot of mess in history on Balkan.
Even Serbia never attacked any country during history, we have situation that Serbia was always tried to be conquered by Turkey, Austro-Ungarian Empire, Germany, and to not mention Bulgaria, Croatia [Jasenovac].
Nowadays, european countrie leaded by Germany recogniozed Slovenia, Croatia [their allies in II World war] and Bosnia, now Kosovo, and break apart Yugoslavia.
Serbian people used to live in Croatia [Kraina mmostly], Bosnia, Slovenia, Kosovo, but now Serbia has more then 300.000 refugees on her back, refugees that came from Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Kosovo.
Kosovo was not the republic in old Yugoslavia, but part of Serbia, as Vojvodina is.
Should we expect separation of Vojvodina in next 5 years?
Or Sandzak?
Or Zvezdara [part of Belgrade]?
Just because "mighty" countries thinks so?

  • 30.
  • At 06:47 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • kingpin wrote:

One big thing is being forgotten here.EU is betraying a young serbian democracy.It took a big effort to transform the serbian state and the people,make them see the true values of democracy.Even a prime minister was gunned down not so long ago...A PM who was devoted to the "democratic" idea...PM who was favoured by the EU...PM who turned over Milosevic etc prospect of Serbia in EU was being built in each and every serbian mind for the last 10 years....and that is all shattered now.Now all those liberal thinking people will support the conservative or should I say radical party just to spite the EU.

A young democracy is being betrayed in order to create a slim-to-very unlikely-fair new "democracy" in kosovo.

The guy who was the cause for kosovo albaninas suffering is dead,serbians sent him to the hague and he was being tried for his crimes,unfortunatelly he died.That is not a reason to compensate it with something as great as a creation of a new state...that never egzisted before in history.They have a native is called Albania...,the fact that a very large number of albanians lived in a neighbouring country doesn't give anyone the right to anex it in retaliation for somewhat allegged and egzagerated war crimes . This demografic warfare is unacceptable ....

sorry for bad english....

  • 31.
  • At 07:17 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Charles Clarke wrote:

The Turkish government obviously think the issue of a precedent is less important that giving a signal to one of the old Ottoman territories, despite having the Kurds seeking autonomy. Just like Afghanistan, by recognising Kosovo, they are also sending a signal to the Russian government as much as they are to the Kosovars. Remember Russian intervention in Afghanistan? That was where it all began. What does it really matter what Spain does? When did they ever engage with Russia? They appear to be more concerned about their own backyard politics than the discontent all along the Russian frontline.

  • 32.
  • At 07:23 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • adam wrote:

What I am most happy for is that the people of the world can finally see that a country can say its democratic but not mean it. In the case of the Serb leaders, Instead of looking towards the future and directing there people to fully understand what it is to be Democratic. They have ounce again surrendered to their tails of long ago and history only known through a one sided ideology. They have chosen to keep their people in the dark an to never show them the light. Kosova is going to be the E.U.'s child. An through their tutelage It will become every thing the E.U. and Europe stand for. Serbs have not lost kosovo but have gained a chance to move forward. The president of kosovo has made it clear that kosovo belongs to everyone an that we all have history here An that's what make it unique. So to the Serbs and the Albanians who for centuries fought side by side and against each other. Know it was the corruption of the leaders who have divided you not each other. Say no to nationalism and yes to your future. The Balkan are home to all of you. And that they are all rooms in one house.

  • 33.
  • At 08:10 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Sonja wrote:

Well, to begin with, I'm Serbian. However, my view on Kosovo is that it's in Serbia's best interest to get rid of it ASAP. Serbia needs two million quickly reproducing Albanians unwilling to integrate, about as much as we need another NATO bombardment. Besides, Kosovo is now a cancer of drug trade, organized crime, forced prostitution and other unsavoury activities, and I don't envy whoever is charged with cleaning that place up in the end.

Having said that, I must also say that I too am appalled at US & EU's handling of this matter.

There are two things, above all others, that I find extremely disturbing:

1. That G. W. Bush was never criticised for undermining the negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo by basically guaranteeing independence for Kosovo Albanians before negotiations even began. Serbia bent over backwards to offer everything BUT formal separation, and it wasn't enough.

2. That "the west" has chosen to handle this issue by in effect backing a democratic Serbia with EU ambitions into a corner, thus fuelling the feelings of betrayal, resentment and nationalism, and creating a locked situation and a division into old cold war era east and west.

Surely nobody wants that?

At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, I must say that US foreign policy in recent years has me extremely concerned, not only for Serbia, but for the world at large. I have no words to describe the Iraq fiasco.

Finally, I have to wonder why there have been no offers of compensation for Serbia, which is involuntarily being stripped of a large chunk of land and rich natural resources. And also, why northern Kosovo with its Serbian majority isn't allowed to remain within Serbia's borders, as they have clearly demonstrated is their wish. Don't THEY have a right to self-determination?

To close, I will also say good luck to Kosovo Albanians. They're going to need it. Ironically enough, full autonomy within Serbia would have been a much better deal for them than the one they ended up with. A modern day fiefdom that will forever be under American control. And they're happy about this. Good grief.

  • 34.
  • At 08:21 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Ivan wrote:

So how about the rights of Serbian refugees, just to begin with? There isn't a single day that BBC would not mention the right of Palestinian refugees.

UNSC resolution 1244 guaranteed the territorial integrity of Serbia (then Yugoslavia). What happened now is nothing but an unprovoked aggression of EU against Serbia. And, unlike Iraq which peacniks love to mention all the time, there was no 12 years of threatening UN resolutions.

  • 35.
  • At 08:25 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Admir wrote:

Well, eventually all EU states will have to face the reality and recognize Kosovo. Wether it is a special case or not remains to be seen as other independence aspiring people might try to mimic the strategy. The underlying truth is that Serbian and Kosovar Albanians cannot live together. Not after the serbian government embarked on a shameless crusade of ethnic cleansing. Not after the serbian army razed to the ground countless villages, commited mass murders and terrorized 2 million of its own citizens. Not after the serbian public sat back and simply watched in approval without a minimal protest against those barbaric attrocities. Not after there has been no reparation to the Kosovars, no sincere apology, no sympathy from the post-Milosevic Serbian governments. Ten thousand lost their lives not long ago.
How can Kosovars ever return to Serbian rule? Wont that just be a receipe for the same disaster?
Kosovo is Independent. De facto. Legally, it might take some time. The Serbs need to get rid of their raging nationalism that has led them to so many wars in so short time and accept the olive branch the Kosovo government extended even after the wrongdoings the Serbs have done to the Kosovar Albanians. There is no other way but to cooperate between each other. For the sake of future generations.

  • 36.
  • At 09:16 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Bozidar wrote:

We keep on hearing Kosovo needed to have independence because the status quo could not be maintained.What does this mean??? After 9 years of running their own affairs they were still frustrated. Basically frustrated that there were still Serbs living in Kosovo if we follow this argument. Does it mean that sooner or later the Albanians could not be controlled and they would repeat what has happened 3 years ago when they pillaged Serb homes and churches? What has changed? Sure they have an illusion of independance. Now Germany,France England could invest in Kosovo and everything will be better? Keep on dreaming. Macedonia,Romania are in EU yet Albania is not, and as a Muslim country will probably never be. So Kosovo Albanians can keep on dreaming. Even Germany says "we can talk about EU membership" in 20 years. The fact of the matter is that when the dust settles the Albanians will still be left with 70% unemployment, lack of electricty and a government that is in fact run by EU beaurocrats. It won't take 20 years before this "frustration" will resurface. Serbia will wait and be patient and clean the EU mess once the time comes.

  • 37.
  • At 09:39 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Petrit wrote:

According to Official Yugoslav statistics in 1991, which to say the least were biased, there were 194,190 Serbs in Kosova. This question is for all the people, including the governmet of Serbia, who say that they have 250000 serb refugees from Kosovo and there are another 100000 left in Kosovo, how is that possible?

  • 38.
  • At 10:17 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Visar wrote:

Just to answer Stefans two questions,

1. Yes everybody who has left Kosovo should have the right, and the help of the government of Kosovo to return to Kosovo and start fresh. And that is exactly what is happening. There actually is a ministry for return and the head of this ministry is a serb. There have been never dying attempts by the government of Kosovo to make sure everybody returns to Kosovo. Brand new houses have been built for serbs to return, however i think there should be more done on providing security for them.

2. They can not seperate for 3 reasons. 1) The situation we have today in the northern Kosovo, resulted from Serbs moving northwards and thus making it difficult for the Albanians that left the northern Kosovo as a result of the conflict to return. In another word, this reality was created based on ethnic clansing and created recently thus having no basis for a seccession. Reason number 2 is, that most of Kosovos natural resources, including one of the most important lakes that provides some 300 000 kosovars with fresh water are in that area, and without that area, Kosovo would simply collapse. 3rd reason is, if northern Kosovo were to go its own way, you are sure that Albanians living in the Presevo valley will, in western Macedonia and Montenegro will join Kosovo, and this will be followed by Republica Srpska leaving Bosnia and then all hell would break loose.

  • 39.
  • At 10:23 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Srbin wrote:

Why don't you mind your own business? Forget Kosovo. It'll be Serbian sooner or later. Not erased from our memories since 1389 AD, Kosovo is engraved in our genes. We shall not forget and we'll regain our holly land tomorrow, in a year or 100 years.

The only countries which opose KOSOVO as an independent state are the countries formed artificialy after the First World War : Serbia, Romania, Slovakia, Russia etc..
Shame on Spain being in the same camp with the above countries.I wonder what happened to the 800,000 strong ethnic German population in Romania? they know why Romania is opposing Kosovo's independence, and there is another 2,000,000 Hungarian minority too.

  • 41.
  • At 10:40 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • DY wrote:

This is just a pure colonial occupation of Serbia. Serbian people are one of the few people on this planet who have stood up against American impearilistic attempts to run the world. Of course, then you have the smaller nations such as the British, French, Italians, Germans who in the past used to be "colonial" powers but these days they are minor players on the world stage and they can't come to terms with it. As such they see the opportunity to impose their will on the rest of the world by blindly serving the USA. However, it looks like the nations who have been ruled in the past are now becoming rulers (China, India). Western arrogance and clear aggression and ignorance of all basic human rights and human dignity is bringing the world closer and closer to the WWIII.
Kosovo is a perfect example. The west doesn't care about the Albanians from Kosovo, for them they are just a puppet nation who will serve their needs. If necessary, the west will turn arround and completely wipe out the Albanians, if that's necessary in order to complete their strategic goals. This dutch guy is just a colonial ruler, nothing else.
I feel proud that I am a member of Serbian nation that has for years now resisted the occupying forces of the western world.
Our biological existence is in question because for almost 20 years now we have been subject to western military agression and propaganda.
All because we don't want to give up our lands and give them to West to use for their murderous activites around the world.
We have resisted the Ottomans, Austro-Hungarians, Nazis, and we will resist the NATO pact.
I hope that Western people will find the strength to finally elect leaders who will lead them to a path of peace, not total war against the rest of the world, because right now it seems that the world is chillingly divided along the lines of America & western Europe V the rest of the world.

  • 42.
  • At 11:15 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • D wrote:

Your statement makes no sense. Exactly as you quoted "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples". I emphasize "equal rights". I mean no other minority or separatist movement have the right to declare independance from their country, so where is the 'equal rights' in making it ok for kosovo to do this. On basis of what would Serbia and Russia be obliged to recognise kosovo? There is not a single legal backing for what is going on, just a
"this once its different".
It is just sad that most people dont know the whole story behind kosovo which has been going for a lot longer than last 15 years. The mistake that Milosevic has made (Which does not represent the view of serbian people) is not enough reason to take kosovo away.
I live in Australia, and Australian government has just a few days ago accepted responsibility for a mistake that they have done towards Aboriginal people by mistreating them for 50 years up to 1970s (so not so long ago)...They apologised, and thats as far as it goes.
Nobody here wonders why the situation with kosovo got so bad in the first place. Milosevic did not do what he did for no reason. He just took an absolutely wrong approach towards the issue, and now the people of serbia have to pay.

Im sorry, but there is no legal or moral backing to this whole issue. Only political!

  • 43.
  • At 11:59 PM on 20 Feb 2008,
  • Brian D wrote:

Mark a very good piece indeed

Here in Ireland a 'balkan' solution was presented to us -the electorate-for much of the Twentieth Century.We have had well publicised momenets of becoming Europe's failed state.

We survived through intervention of others-some large,some small and now are labelled as perhaps a European Union success story.Yes we struggle with issues and some people find our northern border abhorrent but the vast majority no longer see this as a barrier despite centuries of animosity. We in the Republic certainly see our future at the centre of the EU;a point of view increasingly part of Northern Irelands dialog too.

I hope Kosovo and Serbia can at some point reach this level of understanding too-within Europe we ALL have rights of recognition and obligation. I'm glad the situation here is on a new level let's hope it can be the same in the southwest of my home continent.

  • 44.
  • At 12:04 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Nikola wrote:

Mr. Mardell, I apologise if this sounds rough, but these analyses are at the epistemological level of bad Western movie or Disney cartoon.

Why do you say that "Spain and Cyprus won't recognise Kosovo because of the fear of its own separatists movement"? Spain officially stated that there were only two ways for Kosovo to become independent, and these were Serbia to recignise it or UN security council to change existing resolutions. If you want to interpret like that, then please be consistent and say e.g. "USA will recognise Kosovo because it wants its mines and energy, territory for military bases, and funny 'country' willing to do anything that Washington wants."

I, as a Serb, hope that Serbia will never join such horrible organisation like EU. Please take Kosovo instead. The West acts as a real enemy of Serbia. Serbs (unlike Albanians) were your allies in every 20th century global conflict, giving more than million of lives. Serbia has never been a threat for any Western country. Reward? "Allies" devastated Serbia in 1944 and 1999. And now just finished it, splitting the country in two. Milosevic was just a poor excuse.

  • 45.
  • At 12:51 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Rick Porter wrote:

Kosovari usa, who are you to say who should be in the EU? What an arrogant and offensive comment.
Kosovo should have the same status as the RS in Bosnia, no more no less.
The argument that Serbia repressed them is weak considering with no repression and revoking of autonomy they would have simply separated 15 years earlier.

  • 46.
  • At 02:13 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Radman Robert wrote:

May God have mercy on you all. You don't know what are you talking/doing.

Should any part of any country be separated just because of some ethnic majority?? If answer is YES, ask yourselves how many new little countries would light up. Millions. If answer is NO (like it should be) then think why Kosovo earn its independence.

USA will eat you all. They just needs time. And you helping them. How masochistic.

And I don't even mention the big violation of international law. Think about that too.

You are proving to us (Serbs) that Slobodan Milosevic was right. After Milosevic, we acted more polite and with nerves and will for agreement. But look what we get. I can't believe.

  • 47.
  • At 02:25 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

Pumping money into Kosovo? Serbia (for a while with the help of the rest of Yugoslavia) has been pumping money into Kosovo for a century. Why not pump money into Serbia to compensate it for EU's appropriation of Kosovo land, minerals, factories, etc., including all of Serbia's investment into that Serbian province. Also, EU has to compensate Serbia for 300,000 non-Albanian refugees
from Kosovo.

  • 48.
  • At 02:40 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Ori wrote:

I find your articles quite informative Mark. Kosovo is indeed a delicate issue. Is its independence legal? I'm not sure. Is it right? Yes. Unfortunately, the right and the legal do not always go hand in hand. International law is not perfect and has failed far too often, as we see in Darfur. A lot of money is going into Kosovo; most of it should be going to infrastructure. As an Albanian, I believe too much excitment is being aroused. Kosovo is a poor state, but southern Serbia is not much better. Both will join the EU at the same time (lets not kid ourselves). Provided that both Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo have a job, decent living conditions, and security, the "historical" claims will decrease in importance. People think a lot clearer on a full stomach.

If Serbia and Kosovo aspire to join the Union (where borders will come down), their energies should focus on a more prosperous future for their people, rather than a bitter past.

  • 49.
  • At 04:19 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Radman Robert wrote:

May God have mercy on you all. You don't know what are you talking/doing.

Should any part of any country be separated just because of some ethnic majority?? If answer is YES, ask yourselves how many new little countries would light up. Millions. If answer is NO (like it should be) then think why Kosovo earn its independence.

USA will eat you all. They just needs time. And you helping them. How masochistic.

And I don't even mention the big violation of international law. Think about that too.

You are proving to us (Serbs) that Slobodan Milosevic was right. After Milosevic, we acted more polite and with nerves and will for agreement. But look what we get. I can't believe.

  • 50.
  • At 05:41 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Bob wrote:

1244 was a transition arrangement, and the transition has come to an end now the the international community has given its best shot to set up a government.

Democratic Serbia has acted in good faith and the international community has not. Given the failure of the international community to set up an autonomous government (clearly what was is required by 1244) in my view it is legitimate for Serbia to reenter Kosovo (non violently) in order to do what the international community has failed to do, and to properly establish an autonomous government in line with the terms of 1244. I hope that it uses peaceful obstruction in order to achieve this.

The nonsense of 'losing the right to rule' is not a legal basis for over-ruling international law. I am surprised that the EU has not realised that. I am also surprised that the EU has gone for imposition rather than negotiation. Negotiation was the basis on which the EU was formed. There were solutions to be found if they had bothered.

This will not go away. Serbia has democratised, it now has right on its side and it will assert itself. The international community cannot get away with punishing democratic Serbia forever - things have moved on.

  • 51.
  • At 07:06 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Al wrote:

@ Tony Robinson:

Than you would agree with me that areas with albanian majority that are on serbia but border kosovo should join kosovo?

If you dont you cant have it both ways!

  • 52.
  • At 07:44 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • asier wrote:

Thank you Mark for reflecting the different positions of the European states. Anyway, let me say that as a member of an ethnic minority inside Western Europe (I´m basque, from the southern side of the Pyrenees) I´m astonished when I see the reaction against new would-be states in Europe. Why don´t we deserve to have a State? Have we got less rights than the other citizens? Is it a sort of apartheid against the small countries? Haven´t be the big nationalisms of Europe -Spain, France, Germany, Britain, Russia- much more dangerous than the small ones? Everything is a matter of respect of the will of the people. When everybody is respected, hate and trouble simply don´t exist.

  • 53.
  • At 08:02 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Artan (Tirana) wrote:

Dear Mark.

I think At that point of view that you are writing is realistic.

For sure that a bigg power in Europe wiil be a balance for all Macropolitical issues.(World)
This is not very simple Kosovo issue.
Allready it is also a TEST for EU.
I'm sure that such this things (tests) will be time after time.
For sure that there might be and someone that will oppose with those.
That doesn't mean that things will remain the same after some years.
For sur that it needs time
But how can different be consolide this power.
I'm sure that after some years this will be not an issue (Kosovo).

Those parts that with their rights can opposed.
Exp. next step Turkie (hard deccision for EU) But if this will be fix,With this will be fixed and Cyprus issue too.So no reason for opposed more.
This is also and the outface for Eu diplomacy.
If there is a clear picture for the EU future, everything will be fix (step by step)
This is happend that EU is not consolide yet 100%.
For to much reassons its expasion at the Central and south Europe.
All this mechanism to work efficently need time. Maybe years.
After this for sure that those are details.
Maybe those thing that are today big issues that day will be paranoya.
According Kosovo for sure that this is a NEWBORN.
As a little child they need Milk(food) to grow up.
As a little child they will need also helps to make first steps.
Also they need educations
For sure that this will neeed some times to be a normal progres.
They (me to) believe that EU has and will contribute for this.
If there are "really" good wishes in order to finish this situation for sure that will be progres.
For sure that this need necesary a monitoring from EU.

  • 54.
  • At 08:47 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • john wrote:

The northern part of kosovo (mitrovica) will NEVER become part of serbia. there is no way that the kosovar government will allow that nor the international community. Mitrovica compromises at least 15% of Kosovo territory. The serbs living in kosovo have to face reality. And plus, they would live better if they stay in kosovo b/c of the euro union backing. Serbia will continue to isolate itself from the western world.

  • 55.
  • At 09:59 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • FS wrote:

Hi Mark,

I cant understand... people who is judging Kosovo's economy in just 5 days, i think it will take time to rebuild an economy in a palce where the lack of investment has been more than 30 years.

And what is up with this land grabbing comparing Kosovo with the likes of Cypruss, Calirfonia etc
Kosovo was a unique problem regardless how serbs propagated as it's birth as it's heart all that nonsense, which makes people wonder where did Serbs come from the South (aas they claim to be) or the North (Russia).... another thing i must mention here Kosovo was part of Albania before 1912 and there has always been wars between us and the sllavs and the turks but whats important is that regardsless how long it took us to liberate ourselve we did, yes we did in a modern time where international laws were created.

Just to get the record straight there werent 300.000 serbs living in kosovo it was around 150.000 to 200.000 you can not count serbs that came from croatia and bosnia as kosovan serbs, they came to kosovo after they lost the wars and livend in our schools and university building, how could you call them kosovan serbs?

  • 56.
  • At 10:35 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Srdjan Lozo wrote:

Kosovo dividing opinions in EU shows only that there are still couple of countries which are not US and GB lap dogs and which are aware what a threat to stability of region seccession of Kosovo is. They are also aware that Kosovo is in charge by drug lords, main drug route to EU, main people trafficing route aswell and country which is run by criminals. On the other side US has its own interests by their base which is biggest US base outsied of america. British crown is with them, they are always teamed up, and their lap dogs support them. Now tell me, since that independance is against all laws UN is based on, and against international laws, what the word justice for ? when obviously biggest powers define what justice is. and who will pay Serbia for everything we invested in Kosovo? anyways, shame on EU, but it will payback dont worry. I hope Kosovo gets in EU this year, so you have fun with immigrants and much easier narcs and people trafficing. Enjoy what you created.

  • 57.
  • At 10:56 AM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Srpkinja wrote:

Dear Europe and all the others, I just want to let you know one thing, Kosovo is Serbian land, not Albanian.Serbia did not took away this land from anyone, it was tooken from Serb`s 17.2.2008.
Imagine what will happen if one part of your countrie ocupate someone and declare indenpendance....Would you agree with it or try to fight on diplomatic way?
So, dear Europe, let us alone and please try to ignore ocupation in 21 century. It is not happening to you ...yet.

  • 58.
  • At 01:00 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • rp wrote:

To Steven Zalany:

The answer to your question is simple: the Germans
left for a better life in Germany, some before 1990
(sold by Ceausescu), most of them after 1990. The Hungarians from Transylvania didn't leave--
where would they go? Their country now is Romania
and there was no better life waiting for them in Hungary.
Hungary could follow the Kosovo model and annex Transylvania. There will be a little problem: the minority (Romanians) will almost equal the majority.

  • 59.
  • At 01:44 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Kostis wrote:

Such a bad turnout of a deep and long-lasting Balcan's problem.

It is all about US politics in the area.They have a lot to profit from Kososovo's indepedence. The picture of ethnic-albanians, waving Usa and Albanian flags, last Sunday speaks by itself.
What is truly unacceptable and worrying, is EU policy towards Kosovo's indepedence.
EU has nothing to get out of it, nothing at all! Not to mention the violation of the UN laws. People all over europe are slowly loosing their faith and trust in the EU, many are already speaking about EU as the do about US.. no respect to laws, no respect to history, no respect to common sense, no respect to its own citizens will.. just cold politic!
We are simply becoming all of us, the meat in the mixer-machine of international politics guided by US.

  • 60.
  • At 01:47 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

"As far as Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus they should be kicked out of the Union for about five years! Next time EU should be more picky who becomes a member of our Union!" [#6]

A small correction, if I may:

HALF a Cyprus (a speck of land next to Beirut, way east of Istanbul and south of Antalya)

  • 61.
  • At 03:04 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Nikola, Belgrade wrote:

Please don't forget that Javier Solana, the first EU representative to visit Kosovo after "declaration", was actually the person who personally ordered bombing attacks (as a NATO cheif) in 1999, when Serbia was completely devastated for Kosovo Albanians' sake. Just like now, those attacks were undertaken without UN Security Council approval.

With Kosovo, the EU can reclaim it's spot as an imperialistic power, finally playing on the same field as the US, Russia and now China: the field where countries are created and dismantled like on a chest board.

The sad story of the Balkans started over 600 years ago and there is no sight to it's end. Western Europe first incursion on our mountainous piece of rock was after the Treaty of San Stefano, when the UK flew to "rescue" of the Ottoman empire and reduced the newly born Bulgaria to a fraction of the size agreed at San Stefano.

Since then, wars have been a regular fixture on the peninsula. WW 1 saw the liberation of all the Slav tribes from the Austrians, but all wars since, oddly enough (I guess it's all just a big coincidence) saw the fragmentation of the people's of the Balkans into smaller and smaller states. Actually, I doubt it's a coincidence. Like the Romans did: divide and conquer. Because smaller states are easier to influence, because smaller states leave a state for everyone to influence: one here for Russia, one there for the EU, and now they are all big-boys.

I am ashamed that Bulgaria is in the EU, an institution that now shows its interests are more geo-political and economical than we all thought they were. My question to the EU: why a free Kosovo and not a free Basque Country, a free Corsica, a free Kurdistan in Turkey and Iraq? And what about a free Palestine? Do you all see the similarities? The big and strong states enslave at home and liberate at other's homes. I am disgusted by this double standard.

And how will the EU close this Pandora Box now? Northern Macedonia will become independent? Is that the next step? And forget about Serbia in joining the EU, which betrayed them. But that's fine for the UK, France and Germany I guess, leave Serbia for the Russians to play with, at least the EU got Kosovo.

Unfortunately, I see no easy solution.

  • 63.
  • At 03:40 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Melisa Kosova wrote:

Different opinions and compares...
Most of you don't know the history very well...or you know just during the last years.
Serbs know Kosova as part of Serbia..How come that Serbia Government sent a army inside his territory to kill people that lived in territory of Serbia....Normally two different countries are fighting to each other...but not like serbia fighting in his own people Kosova has never been part of Kosova and it will never be...serbs occupied my land in Nis in 1878 while did ethnic cleanup..One day I have to ask for my forefather property there..and I can tell you there are almsot 200.000 albanians famly that lived in Serbia territory..thanks God I have proofs for that..

  • 64.
  • At 04:43 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • jack wrote:

i feel for afew european countries because they have no true knowledge of where they oiginate from. but i can help the serbs out...check out russia for confirmation

i hope i was of any help

  • 65.
  • At 05:09 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Sanford from NYC wrote:

I don't see what all these Serbian posters are so mad about. Serbia lost the war and therefore gets no say in what happens. That's what happens to losers.

  • 66.
  • At 06:48 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • jon wrote:

well done briton and the usa more crime, drugs and prostitution in europe.

  • 67.
  • At 06:50 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Bernard wrote:

Poor Serbs, whining about the injustices done to them. Droning on and on, but never recognising that their own politicians are to blame. Not NATO or the EU.

And to those thinking that there are countries not recognising Kosovo: think again.
While officially that may be true the reality is that NO EU-member-state opposed the EU mission going there.
This is in reality nothing less that the recognition that Kosovo is no longer Serbian but its own state.
Words may matter, but deeds matter even more, and the EU unanimously agreed to send the mission to put on track the Kosovan institutions and to keep an eye on wether or not the new state is living by the Ahtisaari-plan.

  • 68.
  • At 06:52 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Aleks wrote:

It's just another disastrous 'EU policy' in a long series.

There is no 'EU' in this.

Traditional 'powers' such as UK, France and Germany like to use the fig leaf of the EU to cover their short-sighted strategic objectives - cut up Serbia (as Tito did) to bring 'stability' to the region (the disunity of 'the EU' is proof of this), because they are incapable of coming up with an intelligent policy in the face of earlier failed policies.

It goes to show how empty European CFSP is, not that it ever existed in any metaphysical manner.

The Albanians and the EU know the score. Kosovo will continue to haemorrhage Serbs and other minorities, but not enough to exicte the media exciting. A few Serbs will be allowed to remain to please the EU and show how Kosovo has kept its 'multi-ethnic character' and show how 'moderate' the albanians are.

This recalls the shock of bureaucrats who on hearing Catherine the Great's wish to tour the provinces and see how her country was being run, came up with a plan to temporarily and radically improve all the villages and towns to be visited. These became known as 'Potemkin villages', named after the mastermind behind the plan.

'Independent' Kosovo is a bastard creation that will never be independent nor fully self-governing, not to mention that the leadership in kosovo still do not recognize the border between Serbia and Macedonia.

The EU will be drawn in to the same cycle as Tito. Kosovo albanians will sooner or later riot for their 'rights', more and more money will be thrown at them as a means of pacification. Nothing will be resolved.

Even worse is that the plight of the Roma is almost now totally ignored. Human rights for some, not for others.

  • 69.
  • At 07:07 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Marcos wrote:

The EU should use it's power properly in a carrot-stick manner. They should have told Cyprus. "Want to join? Then re-unite!" and to Serbia "Want to join? Then give Kosovo independence." I'm not sure why this "new superpower" as Blair put it, refuses to use its superpowers! It's good to see Kosovo independent, anyone who neglects the Serbs' genocide of Kosovars fails to see what is at stake here. It wasn't that long ago! How quick do people forget! The Scandinavian nations and now Latvia have recognised Kosovo and soon Lithuania, and Estonia and Croatia will probably follow. You can't reverse independence unless by an act of aggression, just get over it!

  • 70.
  • At 09:56 PM on 21 Feb 2008,
  • Peter wrote:

Why hasn't the media reported on the fact that the U.S. has only intervened because of the trans-balkan pipeline? Kosovo is unique to the U.S. because they are going to profit immensly from the oil reserves in the Capsian Sea (600 M USD a month). The intervention in Kosovo and Metohija was carried out in order to please Albania, whose port of Vlore is the ultimate destination of the pipeline. The "genocide" of the Kosovo Albanians was one of the biggest propaganda acts the world has ever seen. I guess there was WMDs in Iraq as well? Read the UN resolution regarding the conflict. A total of 4,249 Victims [Serbian and Albanian] have been found dead or are missing. Where are the reports of over 400 Serbian Churches being burned or destroyed since the UN/NATO occupation? I'm neither Serbian or Muslim, but people need to know the truth.

  • 71.
  • At 02:28 AM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Allan wrote:

I am going to be like UN & NATO. Arrogant!. It will be wonderfull to see it all come down on you now. Sad for the people from all nations. Big Big political failures are to blame for what the future will bring now.
EU,NATO and UN leaders just smile about it, thinking you are in control. Now you will learn what you have sown. Unfair? Not really. Objectively you have deserved what will come. Who do you think you are you failing arrogant leaders? Wake up - it is to late for you now!
Listen to the Empire attitude and tone when US and NATO adresses either one or the other. Your are laughable. Yes a joke. How dare you advice anyone what to do or not and be carefull. You be carefull and watch what you have done to your selfes. Ignorant politicians and leaders, full of lies and deceit!
Some are embarrased about their nationality. Don't be. Be embarrased about humanity and what our leaders have done or should we say failed to do!

  • 72.
  • At 07:26 AM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Mirek Kondracki wrote:

"Why hasn't the media reported on the fact that the U.S. has only intervened because of the trans-balkan pipeline? Kosovo is unique to the U.S. because they are going to profit immensly from the oil reserves in the Capsian Sea " [#65]

Because it's a pure baloney.

There IS a major pipeline from the Caspian, which US suported and helped build. It runs from Baku - via Georgia to Ceyhan (a Med harbor) in Turkey, and which, thanks to G.H.W. Bush's foresight and insistence, bypasses not only volatile Balkan powder keg, but more importantly both, Iran and Russia, which have been understandably furious about it (no possibility of a blackmail/sabotage).

[There's also a separate gaspipe running to Turkish Erzurum]

  • 73.
  • At 09:38 AM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • JorgeG wrote:

This is the EU, Britain and the US at their worst, i.e. double standards and the rest of it. With regards to the US and its British appendix, that is nothing new, but I, most naively, had expected better from the EU.

The principle of Kosovo's independence is wrong. Just because there was a war and ethnic cleansing (on both sides) that doesn't justify creating new independent states out of nothing. There are many territories in the world that can claim more right to independence than Kosovo, e.g. California, where the majority of the population are ethnic Mexicans (not 'hispanics' or 'latinos' as the politically correct label says), its name is Spanish (and so is Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.) and was part of Mexico until the US took it by force in the 1840s in a series of land grab wars, together with other vast Mexican territories, e.g. Texas, New Mexico and Arizona (of course as history is always told by the victors this is never mentioned when American whites protest about the amount of ‘illegal immigrants’ from Mexico in these US states…). And what about Northern Ireland? Well, I best not go into detail on this one to avoid falling foul of BBC’s censorship. And Gibraltar, the Falklands, what is the claim to these territories other than centuries old colonialism together with present greed, bullying and distortion / manipulation of reality? Catalonia, Kurdistan, Scotland, Taiwan, Tibet and a long etc. could also rightly claim far more right to independence than Kosovo.

If Kosovo is an ethnic Albanian territory and it is really impossible to make it coexist with Serbia (have the EU/US really tried?) then the only logical outcome would be for it to be annexated to Albania, rather than create a new minuscule country with little chance of survival as a viable state. What is being created here is a long term EU protectorate which will remain as a conflict zone for decades to come.

The argument of 'exceptionalism' = Kosovo is a one-off, is a very dangerous one. This is essentially not dissimilar to the argument that was used for the illegal Irak invasion – in the ‘dodgy’ dossiers et al: 'This is a great danger that urgently needs confronting, there is no room for slow moving UN diplomacy' ... and the rest, as they say, is history.

And finally, Mark, with regards to the crux of your article, i.e. the EU’s foreign policy is pitiful but its actions on the ground are quite substantial, this is somewhat disingenuous, in the sense that a) there is no such thing as ‘EU foreign policy’ and b) there is an EU executive, i.e. the Commission, that carries out what the Council (i.e. the heads of government of all EU countries) asks it to do. This is exactly why things in relation to Kosovo are happening as they are. Why is it that the British Public School elite and the media are so fascinated about something that doesn’t exist, i.e. a common EU foreign policy? How can there be a common EU foreign policy with no QMV? Perhaps, the reason why the Oxbridge elite that runs this country is so fascinated by the EU’s foreign policy is twofold: One is that they like the grandeur of world diplomacy (it reminds them of their days at Eton and the like) and two, more seriously, because these are the ONLY MAJOR COMMON EU policies:

1. The common Border & Immigration Policy = Schengen – The UK has opted out of this one
2. The common Economic and Monetary policy = Eurozone – The UK has opted out of this one as well
3. The Single Market – The UK has opted out of the FULL implementation of this one as well, as a result of its opt-out from Schengen, as can be clearly inferred from the preamble to the Schengen Convention: ‘WHEREAS the Treaty establishing the European Communities, supplemented by the Single European Act, provides that the internal market shall comprise an area without internal frontiers’

So now we all know why the ruling Public School elite are so mesmerised by a non-entity called EU foreign policy!

  • 74.
  • At 10:43 AM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • ckm_pl wrote:

The same going in Poland and Czech Republic.The countries that were first EU-members created the laws to protect their own particular interests. The selfishness rules above the empathy, solidarity and fair cooperation in EU.Many are represented by groups like the Prussian Trust, which has brought compensation claims against Poland and Czech Republic to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Germans were expeled after WW2 from Poland, the Czech Republic and other countries in Eastern Europe. Now many of them are represented by groups like the Prussian Trust, which has brought compensation claims against former soviet bloc countrys to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
Some of them have regained property.
Serbia and Eastern europeans who already are in EU must have 100 percent certainty that our situation is secure and nothing threatens the land who belongs to us.

  • 75.
  • At 11:04 AM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • tim wrote:

#60:" "As far as Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus they should be kicked out of the Union for about five years! Next time EU should be more picky who becomes a member of our Union!" [#6]

A small correction, if I may:

HALF a Cyprus (a speck of land next to Beirut, way east of Istanbul and south of Antalya)"
Yes, this is true democracy in action. But why stop with them, expell the UK too, since it has opted out of most EU policies.

And for Mr. Mirek Kondracki, a correction: Cyprus is ONE country, recognized by ALL EU members, 40% of which is occupied by a foreign power, in this case Turkey. The EU has troops to send to all sorts of missions outside the EU, but not to defend EU soil.
BTW, british and french colonies(Reunion,Polynesia,The Falklands etc) are much further away from the bulk of Europe than Cyprus.

With Kosovo, the EU can reclaim it's spot as an imperialistic power, finally playing on the same field as the US, Russia and now China: the field where countries are created and dismantled like on a chest board.

The sad story of the Balkans started over 600 years ago and there is no sight to it's end. Western Europe first incursion on our mountainous piece of rock was after the Treaty of San Stefano, when the UK flew to "rescue" of the Ottoman empire and reduced the newly born Bulgaria to a fraction of the size agreed at San Stefano.

Since then, wars have been a regular fixture on the peninsula. WW 1 saw the liberation of all the Slav tribes from the Austrians, but all wars since, oddly enough (I guess it's all just a big coincidence) saw the fragmentation of the people's of the Balkans into smaller and smaller states. Actually, I doubt it's a coincidence. Like the Romans did: divide and conquer. Because smaller states are easier to influence, because smaller states leave a state for everyone to influence: one here for Russia, one there for the EU, and now they are all big-boys.

The EU is an institution that now shows that its interests are more geo-political and economical than we all thought they were. My question to the EU: why a free Kosovo and not a free Basque Country, a free Corsica, a free Kurdistan in Turkey (30,000 dead according to the BBC) and Iraq? And what about a free Palestine? Do you all see the similarities? The big and strong states enslave at home and liberate at other's homes. I am disgusted by this double standard.

And how will the EU close this Pandora Box now? Northern Macedonia will become independent? Is that the next step? And forget about Serbia in joining the EU, which betrayed them. But that's fine for the UK, France and Germany I guess, leave Serbia for the Russians to play with, at least the EU got Kosovo.

Unfortunately, I see no easy solution.

Yes, all people deserve freedom, but they way this was done is wrong and is a mistake. And don't forget: my freedom ends there where your freedom begins.

  • 77.
  • At 03:14 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Zivadinka Petrov wrote:

As a Serb, I am ashamed of the atrocities committed against our fellow Kosovar Albanians during nineties by our security forces. Unfortunately, almost all of us remained silent and did not condemn any of these terrible crimes. We are still discovering mass graves of Albanian civilians buried in the backyards of different military compounds in Serbia. We have neither moral nor legal rights to ask them to stay in Serbia. And now we dare to invoke the international law! Good luck to Kosovo! I wish them all the best in the family of free nations. I wish the same to my beloved Serbia, but… I don’t see much perspective for us with the political ideology that runs our nation.

  • 78.
  • At 03:58 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • john wrote:

Many Kosovans earn money for their families by working as gastarbeiter in Germany for which they need a visa. This is a Schengen visa and therfore allows them to enter any part of the EU which subscribes to that arrangement. Spain is a subscriber but does not recognise Kosova - does that mean that Kosovans can no longer be provided with Schengen visas, or do we now have to sit down and re-write the Schengen Agreement?

  • 79.
  • At 06:43 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Andjelko wrote:

" * Sanford from NYC wrote:

I don't see what all these Serbian posters are so mad about. Serbia lost the war and therefore gets no say in what happens. That's what happens to losers."

You wouldn't know what the war is even if you'd seen one! You fight only when you know your gonna win! Its called bullying.. Go get some bling ya all, leave politics to educated people!

  • 80.
  • At 06:45 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Nick wrote:

I myself may sympathize with the Serbs, as an established nation, and find it difficult to rejoice with the Kosovars, whom I see as an anarchic force. But these are only sentiments.

The reality is that Serbs and Albanians cannot live in one state. Not because they are so 'different' or 'distinct", but precisely because they are very similar in their xenophobia and intolerance (of course, I am generalizing and not talking about individual exceptions on both sides) – which is a common feature of almost all societies that don’t have a long history of political pluralism within themselves.

The main reason why I feel that what is happening is wrong, however, is that, in my view, only more advanced, mature, and liberal entities should be allowed (and, if necessary, aided by the international community) to secede from their more backward and oppressive masters. Then it will be a rightful and well-deserved reward to the 'liberated', and a good lesson to those 'ditched'. That's why it was right when the Baltics gained independence from the Soviet Union, or Slovenia left the former Federal Yugoslavia. And that's why there's no Kurdistan or Palestine to this day. Now, with Kosovo and Serbia we have exactly the opposite - and that's what truly makes it an exception and a dangerous precedent.

  • 81.
  • At 07:11 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Mick wrote:

By the same merit give native Americans right to secede. Give Corsicans their own state, Baskist separatists, Catalonia, and god knows how many others. Give Ireland secession. Serbs in Bosnia and in Croatia (how many of them are living as refugees? That is never mentioned). Than lets talk about justice for all. Lets arbitrarily for some extrinsic interests change borders every 50 or so years and have laws changed every week as well? Let's change international law as it fits us on daily basis. Let's break it down to each individual to have their own state and not be responsible to their community or vice versa?

  • 82.
  • At 07:52 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • jack wrote:

2 mln ALBANIANS and 8 mln SERBS i SERBIA hate each other. Serbs have shown in the past their solution to this problem would be to drive all Albanians out of SERBIA or kill them.

Can they live together in one country ?And why? According to this logic IRELAND,NORWAY,Baltic states,all African and south american countries shoud not exist.Is Britan any worse off that Irland is an independent country?
The "black hole" of Kosovo was created by unregulated status?Who is going to invest long term money in country thats not a country?

  • 83.
  • At 10:30 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • Simon Lertin wrote:

Yesterday a BBC headline reported that a charred corpse was found on the US embassy in Beograd that had previously been attacked by Serbian demonstrators. What happened to the corpse? Has it been identified yet? Have you got a follow-up to this unbiased gem of lofty journalism?

  • 84.
  • At 11:23 PM on 22 Feb 2008,
  • brian whittle wrote:


  • 85.
  • At 01:58 AM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • rrakateli wrote:

My fellow Serbs, do you know what are you talking about when you say that Kosova is the heart of Serbia? Do you know that Albanians lived in Kosova before you came from Russia? Now I have to do some research and find out if Huxley wrote the "Brave New World" somewhere in Serbia! And apparently babies that were indoctrinated were Serbs! I call this an overdose!

  • 86.
  • At 03:16 AM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • Dolce wrote:

Kosovo is not Serbian but Albanian territory.
They speak the Albanian language and wave the Albanian flag-I believe that is enough to prove that they are true Albanians.

  • 87.
  • At 04:19 AM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • MikeZ wrote:

What I find surprising in the whole matter is the total lack or realism on the part of majority of European politicians. The Albanians living in Kosovo are going to attempt to join Albania as soon as possible - and no silly resolution on how Kosovo is supposed to stay an independent territory will solve that; any person aware of what is actually going on there would know that the most likely effect of the "independent Kosovo" is handing over of about 90% of the oldest Serbian territory to Albania. Or, if you are not convinced by this, imagine that in some 100 years immigrants from Poland (I am Polish myself) would constitute a majority in, e.g., Yorkshire, and after some ethnic fighting declare independence, with approval of most of Europe to the idea of "free Yorkshire".

  • 88.
  • At 11:07 AM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • MikeZ wrote:

The "free" Kosovo will most likely result in Albania gaining a new province in a few years. No silly resolution (or "help", for that matter) by EU will stop that, and I am amazed at the naivete of politicians who think otherwise.

  • 89.
  • At 12:33 PM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • Nebojsa wrote:

My, oh, my...

I'm over 40, I remember '91, '92... '99!
I'm not agree with destroying of embasy, because building itself is not guilty for human supidity.

Osetia, Abhasia, Baskia, Corsica, do I forget something? Perhaps Scotland and Wales? Flandria? Iceland?

And, of course, start saving money. Once you let albanian mafia to your neiborhood you'll very soon start to use narcotics. Italian mafia is child play to albanian democratic boys.

Now you have oportunity to fight for your way of life. Our struggle is finished. Thanks to your leaders and politicians.

Thank You, Europe.

--- serbian fool, Nebojsa ---

  • 90.
  • At 02:10 PM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • bukuroshi wrote:

JorgeG wrote:
"There are many territories in the world that can claim more right to independence than Kosovo, e.g. California, where the majority of the population are ethnic Mexicans ..."

Dear JorgeG,
Texas and California will never ask for independence, that's not going to happen. For two reasons:
1) the government of the United States is not committing atrocities, no massive raping, and no concentration camps have been set, different from Croatia, Bosnia and Kosova (where Serbs committed the worst atrocities since Hitler)
2) the Union is still strong in the United States, and no brake away States have been reported so far. If let's say twenty Union States declared independence, then Texas would have the right to do the same. And that's what happened in former Yugoslavia. There were eight units in it, and six of them are now independent countries, therefore Kosova should become independent too. It does not get any simpler then that!

  • 91.
  • At 05:25 PM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • JS wrote:

The thing that really upsets me about giving Kosovo independence, is that my taxes pay for it. And have been for a long time. I can't understand how you can give a country independence which can't support itself.

That said I hope that the borders between Kosovo and Serbia are irrevocably closed so that the Kosovans are unable to take advantage of Serbia's greater wealth which they have rejected for independence.

As an englishman I beg the EU to do the same to the UK as they have done to Serbia, ie take Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UK. Independence for England I say, let's separate the wheat of England from the chavs of Scotland, Wales and N. Ireland.

  • 92.
  • At 06:09 PM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • Shon wrote:

First of all, EU and US send their troops to maintain peace and order and to protect minorities, not to create a state. Their presence is regulated by UN resolution that was annulled by recognizing Kosovo as independent state.

Second, last year US officials and Bush himself, during his visit of Tirana (capital of Albania) PROMISED that Kosovo will be independent.

Several months after, last negotiations started between Serbs, Kosovo Albanians and UN envoys (one from US, one from Russia and one from EU). Negotiations failed since Kosovo Albanians refused to consider any offer that was presented by serbs. And why should they consider any offer since Bush personally promise independence several months before?
So, all that was one big theater after US and some EU countries confirmed there is no other way then to create (in)dependent state of Kosovo.

US and EU have huge credibility among Kosovo Albanians, and if they use that to clarify how Kosovo can't be anything more than Serbian province with the largest autonomy rights on this planet, Albanians would listen their mentors. However, US decide to go other way, as Kosovo Albanians are the only Muslims on this planet who, without reserve, supports and adore US probably because of their own interests - getting independence.

  • 93.
  • At 06:53 PM on 23 Feb 2008,
  • Visar wrote:

All y'all are haters just hating...Kosovo or Kosova belongs only to the people that live in it and that happens to be a diverse population. The majority of this multi-ethnic population voted for indendependence; it's simply called democracy and democratic countires support such a process. With time (up to 5 years) Kosovo will prosper and the new independent government will have it ready to join the EU. That is a stark contrast to where Kosovo was under Serb rule where thousands of people were killed. So quit hating and give democracy a chance!!! I mean can't we all just get along!

  • 94.
  • At 09:31 AM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Shimew wrote:

The independence of Kososvo is a well rehearsed and stage managed exercise by the EU and the US to humiliate Russia.

On the surface it appears that, by provoking reaction from the Serbs, the US and EU are poised to finish what remains of the Serbian nation.

They may well be doing that. The larger picture is to prove to Russia that it can do nothing to save Serbia, its small ally, when they are dismantling it piecemeal.

  • 95.
  • At 11:41 AM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • R, Pristina wrote:

Serbia lost Kosovo when the Serbs perpetuated oppression (and ethnic cleansing) against the Albanians. The Serbs now hold the same beliefs like those war criminals being tried at the Hague today. They could have still had Kosovo if they had learnt to live in a multiethnic landscape of Albanians (particularly), Turks, Bosniacs, Roma, etc. Claims to Kosovo are now to serve their ego (when Kosovo was "taken away", or rather protected from them by NATO) and their nostaligia for the past (as they all presumably originated from Kosovo and this is described vividly in their literary culture). Kosovo has since 1999 functioned as an independent territory with its own economy, bilateral trade, budget, legal framework and specific relations with the international community (and organisations), all duely blessed by the United Nations. It now seems that Serbia is asking for something in the past and one wonders if this can ever be justified. Both Serbia and Kosovo should move on today and address the more important issues of dealing with poverty, making institutions more democratic and effective, addressing unemployment, enhancing the living standards of the common people, and becoming modern states (with or without EU integration) in their own right.

  • 96.
  • At 01:33 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • ben wrote:

Hi there,
all those who have to say something against the independence can refrsh their memory with this link:
After all that somebody says albanians should stay in country where the strongest party is the one from seselj or the prime minister ist kostunica called kalashnjikov, where the milosevics mafia is controlling everything etc. And which are the arguments, that kosovo is the cradle of serbian state and nation?Not true, serbia has been founded in raska. That the churche s are serbian, not quite true, also most of the albanians where orthodox cristians until 130 years ago, etc..
After the wars the serbs provoked, also lots of serbs would like their independence from the rest of the retrograde serbia. There is no single argument that speaks against the independence. Otherwise could also the ancient empires come back and ask back the territories they owned once.
But one positive thing for the serbia-supporters i see in all this: thanks to internet they get a free pastoral or psychological care for the price of a flaterate. It means less suicides. The world is going forward.
best regards to all

  • 97.
  • At 05:05 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Tanja wrote:

Kosovos independence was very well deserved. It has nothing to do with the accusations of it being an act of humiliation for Russia. It simply has to do wit the opression of the people, and mass murder that took place.Some of you compare Serbian deaths in Kosovo to those of Kosovars and that is ridicilous, Serbian deaths were very minimal, and those that died were killed because they were killing. The other thing is , their deaths weren't slow and painfull and no Kosovar cut up Serbs into pieces or raped little girls and then kiled them. So before you go on claiming it's your heartland (which it isn't, you only say that because you want a reason to hold on to Kosovo) go look at what you have done to the population of it. If Vojvodia wanted to declare independece you would claim it is your heartland too, because you would want it to remain in Serbia. I am surprised Russia is backing you this much considering your history in Eastern Europe. And no this isn't an attack on all Serbs, I am sure there are great Serbians who are pro democracy and against all the crimes that happend in Kosovo or anywhere else, unfortunatly for them they are few and the rebells get all the attention.

  • 98.
  • At 05:26 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

I applaud the European States and the US for supporting the Independence of Kosovo.
Sadly, the world sees the REASON for this support as political self interest and not principle. It is bourne out by the divisions in Europe.

There is a UNIQUE OPPORTUNITY NOW for the WEST to ASSUME the MORAL HIGH GROUND by defining the PRINCIPLES FOR SUPPORTING INDEPENDENT STATES based on HUMAN RIGHTS and APPLY IT IMMEDIATELY to obvious candidates such as Darfur in Sudan Africa and Tamil Ealam in Sri Lanka Asia where there are violations bordering on genocide.

It will make rogue states behave better to avoid partitions and create a more stable and peaceful world order.
Without this action this will be one more case of some crooked nations exploiting others.

Andy. Bethesda. MD US.

  • 99.
  • At 06:05 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • kushtrim wrote:

i am so disappointed in some of the people in here. They dont know anything about the region but they feel than they have to put their 2 cents in,as most of the modern world know that Serbia has been oppressing kosovars since 1912 by killing them, not being able to talk their own language in the state institutions and taking away they goverment jobs. As far as Serbians claiming that they are 30000 serbs in Kosovo i lol because every war thet they lost with ex yugoslav republics they brought Serbian refugees and dumped them in Kosovo. The reason they committed so many crimes is that they did not have anywhere to go but in kosovo. Kosovars are the most pro American people in the world,who would not be when they liberated us from the oppressor who was killing us from the moment we are born and stripping us of our basic human and civil right within our own country. And as far as Serbians claiming Kosovo is they heartland since 1387 it is a propaganda because they feel thet it is the only thing they can lie about, but they seem to forget that during the time all of Albanians we were Christians too and they fought aganist the Otomans with the Austohungarian empire .So for the rest of you let the will of all the Kosovars thrive cause it is the will and the right of them to separate from a nationalist state who colonized us for so long.

  • 100.
  • At 06:53 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Dusan wrote:

Good luck to EU with a Kosovo and will need lot of luck with them.

  • 101.
  • At 07:35 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • george wrote:

20. At 04:23 PM on 20 Feb 2008, Oliver wrote:
Hi Mark, could you make mention of the UN charter here? The opening (Chp.1, Art. 2) of the charter states that the purposes of the UN are.. "To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace;" As Russia and Serbia are long signed up members of the UN, aren't they obliged to recognise the right of Kosovans to declare independence. It might well be illegal for the EU or USA or declare Kosovo independent, but presumably not to recognize the legal personality that Kosovans have endowed upon themselves.

what about un resolution 1244 and, independence of kosova to be recognised by un, in its general assembley...
it seems that many more long signed up members do not recognise kosova as independent state, beside russia and serbia.

all aligned main stream press vehiculate the notion of "many western nations have recognised the independence of kosovo"... but, how many, never say...

and, one more thing: what about the right to self determination in kurdistan, kashmir, tibet, alaska, lakota nation, greenland, northern ireland, scotland ...

  • 102.
  • At 08:24 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Peter V wrote:

The US is trying ot make this into some kind of East VS West problem. Even Serbias muslim community is opposed to Kosovo indpendence, because it is they're country. The countries that so far are opposed to Kosovo independence are: Russia, China, Indonesia, Vietnam, Venezuela, Bolivia, Romania, Slovakia, Argentina, Cyprus, Sri Lanka, Greece, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, South Africa. Thats about 50% of the worlds population. Brazil and India are studying the legality of Kosovos independence. So the US and western Europe are being increasingly isolated by the legality of Kosovos independence.

  • 103.
  • At 09:44 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • Dogsbody wrote:

I see in the news this morning that the "EU Mentors" mentioned in this article are on the run from northern Kososvo. I can only hope someone remains in the area to prevent the usual massacres. Is this another EU soft power debacle or simply base cowardice?

  • 104.
  • At 09:49 PM on 24 Feb 2008,
  • chuck wrote:

Judging from many of these comments, the American declaration of independence from the British tyrant George III was illegal. That the throwing off of Spanish rule by the Latin American states was illegal, etc, etc, etc. European tribalism is alive and well - must be some way for them to make money out of this.
It may just be time for me to redraw the lines first drawn by the British and French following world war one. Yeah, that'll settle it - I will fix things.

  • 105.
  • At 03:09 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Miso Uzice wrote:

International laws and orders are broken. Same countries that are signed and agreed on UN resolution 1244 denied it (resolution 1244 clearly stating that UN guarantee to Serbia sovereignty over the Kosovo). Freely interpretations of resolution 1244 from US and EU is nothing but hegemonism and rule of force. In negotiations between Serbs and Albanians, US and EU backed Albanians and tell them to request nothing less of independence and those negotiations are far from fair and sincere. They are highly influenced from outside( US, UK and others). Resolution 1244 also prospected entering of Serbian security forces into the Kosovo but this part was never implemented. If US and EU not respecting the law why should others have obligations to yield to the same laws? This stand off is not good for anybody and this will prove the fact there is no sustainable peace without consent and agreement from all parties in conflict. In other words if its nothing changed in oncoming days we will see this stand off for years and as someone in this tread said earlier that will be pumping billions into the black hole (what Kosovo it is nowadays) and it will be source of instability on Balkans for years to come.

  • 106.
  • At 03:40 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Mircea wrote:

As a former inhabitant of a communist country, I have lost all confidence in the West's political class' integrity and honesty. For the life of me I can not understand how so called (or self called?) democracies like US, UK and France have allowed the breaking up of an independent state. It is simply disgusting to see all this as it was the bombing of Serbia by US a few years ago (and the invasion of Iraq for that matter). Could all this have been possible if a balance of power would still exist today. I can't belive I'm saying this, but after all it looks like it was better to have a USSR around. It's unebelivable how drunk the Americans have become with power after seeing themselevs as the only superpower. It is very, very regretful. Am I just too idealistic?

  • 107.
  • At 03:59 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • D V wrote:

Personally, I think that the kosovars have a long road ahead of them to become part of the EU; they have a lot of skeletons in their closet to clean up ranging from sex-trafficking women, trafficking weapons, supplying europe with drugs, and laundaring money.

My concern with this whole thing is how the serbian population in kosovo depleted so much since 1999? It has gone from 10% to 5%. I have a serbian friend from kosovo that I have met in my travels, who got the priviledge after the nato bombings to receive a refugee visa, but under one condition: that he never comes back to kosovo. Now, my question is, was this a common thing in the region to help kosovo get rid of its serbian minority?

  • 108.
  • At 04:11 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Leebo wrote:


Equating Kosovo to some of the conflicts you mentioned shows some naivity particularly the Falklands.
However, I do believe annexation was wrong and that instead there should have been more efforts to work out the grievances there.
It seems that the reality of the world is, if you get enough people with a common ideal/culture such that you outnumber the indigenous inhabitants/culture, then you can turn to the UN and get them to give you ownership of the land. And that's sad.

  • 109.
  • At 04:52 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Jaro_the_Pole wrote:

Serbia has rights to defend integrity of his land. I predict that it will be a conflict. Russia will probably support Serbia with the right equipment (especially air defence).
If Serbia will attack Kosovo, one day, who will defend it? Who will put money on that war and risk live of soldiers. USA? EU as a whole? UN ?
None can count on UN blessing (Rusia, China are members of security council) Or maybe those who so bravely (and unfortunately stupidly immediately recognized that state) France, UK, Germany, Italy.
I hope that I'm wrong but a lot of blood is going to leak into soil.

All of you that think Kosovo Independence was wrong, deal with it and move on....yeah Kosovo belonged to Serbia and before that belonged to Turkish Empire and before that it belonged to Yllirija ( Albanians in other words) so deal with it and move the d* on.....
-This is 21st century and we need all the peace we can make it happen in any country in every side of the world.
-If Serbs wanted Kosovo so bad they should have though this in 1968 or 1974 or wait 1981 no maybe 1989 or 1991 maybe when they started all the mess, that continued until 1999 so many people died and got killed (no killed its great word to describe dying while cut into pieces) slowly seeing the loved ones get massacred before they died, and still have family members missing....would you like to live under that kind of Government?
-And remember because of haters over PEACE and INDEPENDENCE like YOU we have disturbed world IS THAT WHAT YOU ALL DO? ALL OF YOU, SIT AROUND AND THINK WHO OR WHAT TO ATTACK FIRST....
-Enough with WARS and rude arguments over Kosovo this and Kosovo that, don't compare Kosovo situation with anyone and unless you lived or been there to experienced all the horror this Kosovars have been through then talk otherwise none of you have no right to judge so...MOVE NO....GO READ A BOOK, A HAPPY BOOK...THINK POSITIVE, MEDITATE WITH YOGA. Mrs. L

  • 111.
  • At 06:21 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • anna wrote:

There is the law of "unexpected consequences", and it is fully in effect in what was Yugoslavia.

On the other hand there are conspiracy inclined minds, who look at the effects as the desired result and ponder on the possible puppet masters:

I can see why the US sees this as win-win and loose for Serbia for which it does not care as many have stated, seeing it as a proxy of Russia.

I cannot see what the EU has to gain, except some resources that it would already have within a Serbian federation in the EU anyway. It is gaining a headache of more desires of coutryllets arising from ancient feuds, from Northern Ireland to Scotland to Corsica to northern Italy and God knows where else. In addition, Kosovo itself with the neighboring Albanian populations will always be a flash point in the underbelly of the EU.

The only one who can gain from this scenario is the US, with divide and conquer, on its way to world government.

Unless conspiracy theories are right and it is the Illuminati or some such world governance group that is pulling the veil over the eyes of EU countries.

I see the situation as loose-loose for the EU.

  • 112.
  • At 06:47 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • An Opinion From Australia wrote:

How sad is it to read justifications of Kosovo's independance all over the internet. Mass media has become so government controlled these days that the only opinions we see being published are those of "big" countries such as the US. Kosovo's independance is clear violation of international laws which have taken years to establish by those who have wished peace accross Europe, and so far they have been upheld. That is until a country as ignorent and self-centered as the USA come along and decide that it has enough power to not only recognize Kosovo's Independance but to bully other countries into it too. So hence what happens is the sad result of violation of International law (justified by ironiclly saying it will bring peace) and of corse the loss of a land considered sacred and holy by a small country. Cant you people see this is only another one of USA's bullying tactics? How can violation of law bring peace and calm in any country?
How very sad is it to read all of this and yet have so verry little power to do anythinng about it but to post a comment on a bulletin such as this in hope that others who read it would see the sheer ignorence of the whole mattter.
How very sad...

  • 113.
  • At 06:54 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • osi USA wrote:

whats is gone be if nato lived kosovo before kosovo declare indepedence.Ugly war betwen albanians end serbians dont forget thats not same war like 1989-99 were albanians was with no wapons.So nato its not saving only albanians now but end serbians to, so the serbians should apriciate that thing.

  • 114.
  • At 09:00 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Harley Pearman wrote:

I live in Australia and it is pleasing that we do not have these border issues to contend with.

However, everyone involved in the Kosova breakup ought to tread carefully as this has the potential to become a world flash point. Reading both sides of the arguement for and against and who is saying what and the threats being made, this does have potential to spark a war that could become a regional war engulfing much of Europe in one way or another. The ramifications are immense but it seems that unless there is a circuit breaker, then this is the outcome.

I do not want to see a third world war or any war but given the recent history of this region and the enclaves and the inability of people to think about their actions and the ramifications of what they are doing, then this is the inevitable outcome.

Harley Pearman
Sydney Australia

  • 115.
  • At 09:04 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Alastair Greig wrote:

I have to say, I long supported the EU and European integration. This issue has made me very anti-EU, and very opposed to European integration. The hypocrasy of the EU (supporting the minorities in one region and not another) has made me think the EU is a dangerous organisation run by French, German, and to a lesser extent British elites.

The simple fact is if the population in Kosovo were Russian, we would not be talking about splitting the country. If this region was in any 'Western' European nation, we would not split the country.

To talk of Serbia as an evil empire, while France is propping up a brutal dictator in Chad, and Britain (along with half of the EU) destroys Iraq is a terrible double standard.

I believe in Scottish independence, I am happy for the Kosovars, but the EU is a shameful organisation designed to protect current political elites. I used to believe the EU was the safegaurd of our civil liberties, it is changing into a arrogant bully, who legitimises tyranny from some but not others.

  • 116.
  • At 11:23 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • horus13 wrote:

If Europe's final goal is to be unite all the countries under the Union's flag my question is how will the new developed nations cope with being in a union of many if they couldn't cope being in a union of two?!
Are we now diving Europe in small ethnic compact territories just because we cannot cope with living with a different other? I thought we already passed the nations-building centuty and moved toward being more alike than apart...

  • 117.
  • At 11:38 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Henry wrote:

I have seen the future of the EU. All current countries will be broken and reunite by different ethnic and different language. And I have seen the true that USA is laughing at the politicians of EU because they all fall into the trap of unstability and putting money in the black hole. That's what I saw behind this incident.

  • 118.
  • At 11:49 AM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Aleksandar wrote:

Well, i could probably write a book about the double-faced so-called democratic world's politics on Kosovo, but i'll try to make it short. Somebody posted a comment about Serbian attrocities against Kosovo Albanians and mentioned terrible sufferings, genocide, mass graves, etc... citing 10,000 victims. What he failed to mentioned is that the 10,000 is the total number of all victims of Kosovo conflict (including Serbian military, KLA fighters and both Albanian and Serb civillian victims of NATO bombing). Far from that i condone any act of violence against civillians, we can hardly talk about genocide here. It has been cleverly manipulated by the western governments, riding on the well-established anti-Serb media image of the 90's. I ask myself only one question: Why would the EU decide to jepardise 8 years of hard work with the Serbian government on building a prosperous European country by humilliating it in this way and openly siding with the Albanians against all known international laws? The EU has compromised itself, given itself a "mission impossible" to build anything out of such a small, poor, corrupted and kriminalized society, and ultimately seriously destabilized Serbia. Now istead of solving one, they have created two problems.

There are times in history when one people forfeit the legitimacy of their right to rule over another people, usually because of cruel use of disproportionate power. Britain lost its right to rule over the majority population of Ireland for just such a reason after WW1. Had the Serbian people and its leadership not promoted genocidal war across the Balkans and particularly in Kosovo, this would never have happened. Actions have consequences.

  • 120.
  • At 12:33 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Dino wrote:

For all those worried about the money spent on Kosovo - which is a legitimate concern - they could be reminded that, as in similar international missions, a very poor percentage of the total finances will end up with the people of Kosovo. Something below 20%. The rest mainly trickles back into the pockets of the selected from donating countries. Nevertheless, it is easy to imagine that the tax payers from donnor states would prefer that the sums are spent differently and closer to their immediate needs, so that their communities get those 20%. And they could actually hope for a higher percentage.

  • 121.
  • At 12:47 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Auron wrote:

I'm going to try to be very neutral and realistic, was there any other solution for Kosova?
A decade ago, The Serbian authorities committed attrocities and genocide on the Kosovar Albanians, so how can anyone expect Albanians to just forget and become loyal serbian citizens? It's just utopic.
Kosova's independence was the best, and maybe only solution for the Albanians.

  • 122.
  • At 12:49 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Jugoslav Rinas wrote:

Surprise! You begun to think. Too late EU, it was enough for us.

  • 123.
  • At 01:32 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Berihun M wrote:

What happened to serbia last week is like some body ordered you to cut your own finger because that person doen't like you!!! The pain is so painful that nobody can imagine. I remember what I was feeling when Eretrea went away from her motherland forever some 15 years ago because of the U.S.A wants so and did it under the UN cover. the scare is still fresh in most Ethiopians. it so painful that the place you used to see and refresh your memories is no nmore your place!!!

  • 124.
  • At 01:55 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Mr H wrote:

I have no axe to grind or would not seek to take sides.
But, just curious, can somebody simply explain to me how the UN or EU or anybody else can lawfully take away a part of a sovereign state and give it to a majority population in an area within that sovereign state.
I am not saying it is wrong or right, but as an independent observer, I just don't understand how it can be lawfully done.
Please explain.

  • 125.
  • At 02:39 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Buja wrote:

Kosovo is part of Serbia. Kosovars should have high level of internal jurisdiction but should not be accepted as an independent state.

True, Milosevic did everything possible to provoke the world to act. However, the world should not have acted as the final arbitar.

Let me add a paralel: like Milosevic, Iraq's Saddam was a dictator and someone who was indiscriminately oppresing and even killing Kurds in their own region.

However, the USA administration made it clear it would not support any idea leading Kurds in their quest for independence.

  • 126.
  • At 02:41 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • tim wrote:

#60:" "As far as Romania, Slovakia and Cyprus they should be kicked out of the Union for about five years! Next time EU should be more picky who becomes a member of our Union!" [#6]

A small correction, if I may:

HALF a Cyprus (a speck of land next to Beirut, way east of Istanbul and south of Antalya)"
Yes, this is true democracy in action. But why stop with them, expell the UK too, since it has opted out of most EU policies.

And for Mr. Mirek Kondracki, a correction: Cyprus is ONE country, recognized by ALL EU members, 40% of which is occupied by a foreign power, in this case Turkey. The EU has troops to send to all sorts of missions outside the EU, but not to defend EU soil.
BTW, british and french colonies(Reunion,Polynesia,The Falklands etc) are much further away from the bulk of Europe than Cyprus, which BTW is larger than Luxemburg and (#69) whose prime reason for joining the EU was security, not EU subsidies.

With respect to Kossovo, there is one more aspect not covered in the otherwise excellent analysis of #73: It has to do with credibility of the EU and the Western powers in general: The Yugoslav army withdrew from Kossovo
as a result of 1244 and the clear understanding that it remains Yugoslav territory. While one may see nothing wrong with tricking a bad guy like Milosevic, this plays into the hands of even worse guys like Ahmadinezad, who will justifiably say: The west speaks with forked tongues and their promises actually mean nothing-hence we need nukes. The fact that he will have a valid point makes is deeply troubling.

  • 127.
  • At 03:11 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Andi wrote:

Hi Pappas,

Is better not to be emotional. To say that is has been for thousands of years it means that the Serbians have been in Balkans for thousands of years, but everybody knows that they came on the 7th century AD.

And Hamit, what the religion has to do with independence of one country and human rights?

  • 128.
  • At 03:21 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Steve wrote:

I ask the same question as Mr H, how would the UK Government like it if the UN and EU recognised Wales as an independent state. Also why are we so forward all of the time, the UK government seem to be out to interfere in everything.

  • 129.
  • At 03:22 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • ER wrote:

"Someone with a good memory of the conversation once told me how Lord Carrington, then one of the "mediators" of the incipient post-Yugoslavia war, came to the conclusion that Slobodan Milosevic was a highly dangerous man. Well-disposed toward Serbia (as the British establishment has always been), Carrington told the late dictator that he understood Serb concerns about significant Serbian minorities in Bosnia and Croatia. But why did Milosevic also insist on exclusive control over Kosovo, where the Albanian population was approximately 90 percent? "That," replied Milosevic coldly, "is for historical reasons." It's a shame, in retrospect, that it took us so long to diagnose the pathology of Serbia's combination of arrogance and self-pity, in which what is theirs is theirs and what is anybody else's is negotiable.

We used to read this same atavistic proclamation by the hellish light of burning Sarajevo, and now we glimpse it again through the flames of the blazing U.S. Embassy in Belgrade, and by the glare of similar but less dramatic arsons set by Serbs in ski masks in northern Kosovo itself. But it needs to be understood that "Serbia" itself has lost nothing and has nothing to complain about. With the independence of Kosovo, the Yugoslav idea is finally and completely dead, but it was Serbian irredentism that killed the last vestige of that idea, and it is to that account that the whole cost ought to be charged.

Forget all the nonsense that you may have heard about Kosovo being "the Jerusalem" of Serbia. It may contain some beautiful and ancient Serbian and Serbian Orthodox cultural sites, but it is much more like Serbia's West Bank or Gaza, with a sweltering, penned-up, subject population who were for generations treated as if they were human refuse in the land of their own birth. Nobody who has spent any time in the territory, as I did during and after the eviction of the Serb militias, can believe for a single second that any Kosovar would ever again submit to rule from Belgrade. It's over.

But how did it begin? In fact, Kosovo has never been recognized internationally as part of Serbia. It was only ever recognized as part of Yugoslavia, and with the liquidation of that state Serbian claims upon its territory became null and void. A little history here is necessary.

During the Balkan wars of 1912 and 1913, the then-distinct kingdom of Serbia, with some regional allies, did manage to invade and annex a formerly Ottoman territory that had been the scene of a Serbian military defeat in—wait for it—1389. (In that year, England was laying emotional claims to large and beautiful areas of France.) Serbian monarchist and nationalist propaganda hailed the "liberation" of the ancestral land, but the shrewdest foreign correspondent of the day took a different line:

Do not the facts, undeniable and irrefutable, force you to come to the conclusion that the Bulgars in Macedonia, the Serbs in old Serbia, in their national endeavor to correct data in the ethnological statistics that are not quite favorable to them, are engaged quite simply in systematic extermination of the Muslim population in the villages, towns and districts?

Leon Trotsky, writing this in January 1913 as an open letter in the (Menshevik) paper Luch ("The Ray") was addressing the "liberal" Russian chauvinist politician Pavel Miliukov. So, as you can see, the arrogant Russian support for Orthodox Christian ethnic cleansing in the Balkans is not a new problem. (Under Russian President Vladimir Putin's pious rule, though, our own timorous press prefers not to call attention to the way in which Russian political thuggery is increasingly backed by an Orthodox religious hierarchy.)

The same Balkan war—as Trotsky had predicted—went on to draw in the whole of Europe and indeed the rest of the world, and by the time it ended, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires had imploded entirely and there was to be a new state, Yugoslavia, where they had once jostled at the borders. You might argue that Kosovo was now part of Serbia by "right" of conquest (in other words, de facto), but in fact, not even Serbia had adjusted its own laws to make it a legal province de jure, and this was in any case moot because all future treaties and agreements were signed between Yugoslavia and the no-less-new state concept calling itself republican Turkey. Legal instruments agreed between these two entities recognized Belgrade's sovereignty over Kosovo, but solely in the sense that they recognized Belgrade as the capital of Yugoslavia. (For a more extended discussion of this essential constitutional point, see Noel Malcolm's Kosovo: A Short History.) Thus, and if we exempt some decisions made by Stalinist bureaucrats after the re-creation of Yugoslavia in 1945, Kosovo has never been treated or recognized as Serb territory within Yugoslavia and never at all by international treaties outside that former state. Even those hasty Stalinist decisions were later undone by Tito, who granted Kosovo a large measure of autonomy in 1974. It is very important to remember that Slobodan Milosevic launched his own petty and violent career, as the head of a Serb-Montenegrin crime family, precisely by canceling Kosovo's pre-existing autonomy in 1990, remaking himself as a nationalist demagogue instead of a Communist one, and bringing in the roof of the Yugoslav federation.

You will by now have read dark remarks made by partisans of the Russian and Serb Orthodox viewpoint, to the effect that if one "secession" is allowed, then what is to prevent every Gypsy or Chechen or Ossetian from proclaiming their own statelet? You should, first, ask if the Bosnian Serbs ought not to have thought of this first and been better advised by the "realist" or Kissinger school that now weeps such hypocritical tears. You should, second, ask if you know of any case comparable to the Kosovo one, where a national minority was so long imprisoned within an artificial state.

Of course, one ought to acknowledge that this is a calamity for the Serbs and indeed an injustice in the sense of an insult to their pride and history. But the injustice was self-inflicted. I remember seeing, in Kosovo, the "settlements" for Serbs that the Milosevic regime was building in a vain effort to alter the demography. And who were the bedraggled "settlers"? The luckless Serbian civilians who had been living in the Krajina area of Croatia until their fearless leader's war of conquest for "Greater Serbia" had brought general disaster and seen them finally evicted from farms and homesteads they had garrisoned for centuries. Promised new land on colonized Albanian territory, they had been uprooted and evicted once again. Where are they now, I wonder? Perhaps stupidly stoning the McDonald's in Belgrade, and vowing fervently never to forget the lost glories of 1389, and maybe occasionally wondering where they made their original mistake."

This text so encapsulates my opinion that I had to post it.

Taken from "The Serbs' Self-Inflicted Wounds
With Kosovo independent, Yugoslavia is finally dead" by Christopher Hitchens.

  • 130.
  • At 03:50 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Dimitri wrote:

Kossovos Independant, and the Turks are in Kurdistan or Northern Iraq or that matter.

Isn't it interesting. You see with Kossovos Independance, the Kurds would revolt or rise with similar demands. But the U.S. needs Turkeys support these days, so they allow entry into northern Iraq, in order to put down any such movemant.

Fascinating, the puppeteering of Global politics. The Eu better shape up or else it will be preoccupied with a war in its own backyard instead of a constitution.

  • 131.
  • At 04:31 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • PESHEFF wrote:

We Europeans should see the Kosovo issue for what it is: the latest of the US's "divide and conquer" tactics used all over the world. Bush doesn't care about Albanians or Serbians! All he wants to do is upset Russia and prevent the EU from emerging as the dominant world economic power by igniting yet another fire in the Balkans. Until when will the EU be a lapdog to the Bushies? America itself hates the man, why can't we see that?
Kosovo is only the first step; next, please be on the lookout for the republic of Dardania in present day Macedonia; after that, parts of NW greece and Montenegro will be added to Albania, and the US will gladly oblige, as long as this throws europe into disarray.
I can tell you, most of the Bulgarian people support our cousins the Serbs, regardless what politicians do or say!

  • 132.
  • At 04:50 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Radomir Putnik wrote:

Kosovo or "Kosova", either way you say it it means "grassy plain in old Serbian, It really doesn't mean anything in Albanian, a non Slavic language. Plus it's pretty hard to find any Albanian "Kosovars" born there before 1940. I guess ignorance is a requirement for recognition. As for the EU, "when you don't standup for can fall for everything"

  • 133.
  • At 04:53 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • John Field wrote:

I am British living and working in Belgrade. I would say I was neutral, but the UK has made that difficult for me. Why do people refer to the terrible things that Milosevic did to Kosovo and not refer to the equally terrible things done to the Serbs living in Kosovo by the Albanians? What about all the Serbs ethnically cleansed in the name of NATO and the EU? What about the innocent Serb civilians in Novi Sad who suffered bombardment by NATO but lived many miles from Kosovo? What about the Chinese embassy hit by missiles from NATO? Compared with this the fire at the US embassy, whilst not right was rather small. The media have been the tools of the USA and UK in reporting events. The USA have clearly manipulated the situation to make the Serbs look bad (viz. a convoy of 40 cars taking US non-essential staff and families to Croatia). How many people were aware of the huge and peaceful crowd of Serbians who went to the Orthodox temple to pray. This surely is a news worthy event, yet it was swept from the coverage by the fire in the US embassy. Please can we have balance and justice for all people and stop the interfering of US and EU for what are clearly very unclear motives. If there was genuine concern for people who want to be independent, what about the Kurds and and maybe other people groups?

  • 134.
  • At 06:35 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • nora wrote:

i'm sorry for you zoran but kosovo is kosovo now... i think that you can call it whatever you like, but the kosovo's people are free now and this is a miracle.

  • 135.
  • At 07:47 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Jelena wrote:

I would like to hear an explanation about that law that gives other countries the right to give a peace of land of a sovereign state to another land. Poor emotional and naive Serbian people have been blamed of being violent, but finally we see the truth about who is violent and has the power in this world. If USA and Europe have decided to give independance to Kosovo someone should at least offer some economical compensation to Serbia for the territory that they are taking away from it. Otherwise it is a theft.
Additionally if they like Albanians so much they can invite them to join their countries and in 50 years when they become majority there, they can allow them to be independent. I wonder if they would allow independence if this happened in their own house.

  • 136.
  • At 08:39 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Gani wrote:

I don’t know what is with all this people that don’t want to recognize the reality , all of you that are against Kosovo’s independence , before you make any comments please read the history , because all this what is happen in last 15 years in Balkans is, because in 1912 countries like UK, Germany, Franc etc decide to divide Albanian land . When it comes to Kosovo to join the EU its all fine with Kosovars if you don’t want as we wont be there and when it comes to support Kosovo with your money don’t forget from 1989 till 1999 we did all in are own like health, education etc even why we are occupied bye most brutal regime in Europe the modern history recognize. Keep in mined all of you if you want peace in this part of the world then you have to accept the reality

  • 137.
  • At 08:46 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Jovana wrote:

Why you don´t research a little bit what happened with Serbs between 2000. and 2008. in Kosovo?
People should find out about ethnic cleansing, and all violence over Serbs by Albanians - that`s the way they got the ´´country´´...
So hard period for Serbs...
Shame on everyone who supports that fake ´´country´´!!

  • 138.
  • At 10:12 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • djordje wrote:

Imagine the autonomy where minority doesn’t need to learn the language of the country they live in. All legal institutions (police, courts, government…) are local. The state university is in their own language. They delegate the representatives to the state government the same way any other constitutional unit does.

Those are Albanians in Serbian province of Kosovo at the start of 80th-ies. The place worth risking the life for to reach - if you come from neighboring state of Albania.

I wish I live long enough till somebody tells the truth what made Albanians’ minority start rioting, asking for republic within Yugoslavia. Did they already have a plan? Of course not. Ordinary people (as they were and still are) have no such plans. Whatever happens in such a scale is orchestrated. It went on for 6-7 years. Became unbearable for Serbs. In their own country. They start moving away. To their own country . Then came Milosevic and promised protection.

The rest is remainder that there is no good or bad nation.

  • 139.
  • At 10:13 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • TexMex wrote:

What about an independent Texas? Or Alaska? Huh?
C'mon guys! As far as I know, nobody cares about Kosovo...But everybody care about power and money!

  • 140.
  • At 10:15 PM on 25 Feb 2008,
  • Australian Kosovar wrote:

Nothing new here.

A shame rich kids can't be taught to make a living in a different field. Their lazy rich parents reek a nice living in war(s).

The so called "powers" for centuries have used lovely flowery words to get together and determine the lot of the little countries - while sowing the seeds of hatred for the next generation.

Generation "$" lives on !

World economy needs a war - see you there soon.

Seems anyone crossing a border can be a Kosovar - can we Aussies get a piece as well – the communists gave 10 acres out to volunteers – what are you guys offering now?

  • 141.
  • At 12:13 AM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • B Blairsdale wrote:

Amusing Visar, Albanians, Gypsies, Gorani (muslims who speak Serbian) and Serbians have moistly been cleansed or ringed into ethnic pockets. Pull the other one on multi-ethnic.

Unless you want to include former terrorists, criminals and Albanians ? Sorry I forget what an ethnic is these days just like why international law was developed over hundred years.

Even one of the KLA representatives stupidly said on sky news in 1999 when asked about abusing Albanians who were neither for nor against separatism and violence, he said “they must pay for their independence”.

Or comments made my Former Canadian Ambasador James Bisset, Nato Gen Mackenzie, Former pacific Admiral Lyons, UN Gen Satish Nambiar or US department official George Kenny. Just search their names in Google with Bosnia, Yugoslavia or Kosovo and read.

They give views on what has happened in Yugoslavia, Kosovo etc that many journalists so called professional opinions would be shown for what they are.

Like most things that don’t agree with most journalists or should I say the editors who set the tone required or the type of story demanded, it doesn’t get reported often enough. Many journalists disgust me as it is not about reporting two sides or fact but about personal crusades or toeing the right line like a little lap dog.

  • 142.
  • At 03:21 AM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Boris Dutina wrote:

Hi Mark,
I don’t know if you have noticed, but all the people that have praise for your articles are Albanian and all the people that criticise are from the rest of the educated world! I think this pattern should start giving you some indication that you are biased! Please read the Book "Media Cleansing" I would really like you opinion! I know you probably won’t publish this article but hey I tried!

  • 143.
  • At 07:47 AM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • klauss bauer wrote:

There is no alternative to sustained peace to a compromise solution. People who say Serbia lost the war and therefore gets no say are preparing for genarations of Serbs growing up with the lofty ideal of taking back what they see is rightfully theirs. Helsinki was an agreement to say: stop this, we all agree the borders are fixed, regardless of what they used to be at some time in history(which in many case was fluctuating).

But in reference to an EU big 3 foreign minister describing as "nightmare" the position of those that do not agree with him, let me just offer a brief glimpse of nightmare:
Serbia signs a defence pact with Russia and invites Russian troops,
who enter what Serbia and Russia (and 1244) consider Serbian territory
, including Kossovo, at the invitation of the Serbian government.
What are NATO troops going to do then? Shoot at them, argue with them
or what else?

  • 144.
  • At 02:20 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Natalie wrote:

Where do you people get those census results? Maybe in Mars.....And who dares say who has right for what? I personally have nothing about Russia nor America, but, as many people, I do have a problem with the administrations of certain countries?
What did the Serbs do? And what did the English do? And what are the Americans doing all ove the world –dropping bombs. And what did the Germans do? And what did the Croats do? And what did the Russians do?And Causesko? And Pol Pot? And what did UCK do? Bad is bad no matter where it happens - who dares say which bad is worse then somebody else`s?
Hoe come the "horrible Serbs" managed to build Kosovo with their own money and other ex Yu republc`s money?How come "poor Albanians" were pouring into Serbia for decades from Albania? If Serbia was a bad place to live, why didn`t they stay in Albania? Serbia is not rich enough to support parasitic part of the country for decades and it is good to get rid of them (with due respect, the norther part has to stay within the boundaries of Serbia as we don`t want to force those people to live there against their will).Serbia built all the schools, roads, everything in Kosovo. And most of them came from Albania, theit motherland. Why? Are we going to get that money back now? Now the West will be paying for them. Will they ever invest a penny into "their country"?
Also, there have been problems inKosovo for decades. They have been expelling Serbs from there for decades(my mother`s family went through that 60 years ago). But, please explain: how come that the number of "ethnically cleansed albanians" has not decreased in number, as but the number of Serbs did dicrease. What happened to the Serbs? Where did they go? TO Mars? Where did Albanians come from? From Mars again.... Or are the Albanians giving us all some of the heroing they are smuggling so that we all have lost common sense (including Serbians).

  • 145.
  • At 03:06 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Sasha wrote:

With due respect, independence of Kosovo (or large part of it) from Serbia may be realistially the best present solution for Serbs. Everything else (federation, confederation, authonomy, etc.) would be a pure masochysm of Serbs, since living together with 2 milion or so moslems, with large percentage of thugs and racist/religious fanatics among them, would keep on destabilizing Serbia forever. I think that we (Serbs) should make most out of this situation, by minding our own business and let the US/EU cook in their own soup. And, of course, be ready to regain the control of the territory, once the US/EU give up after going through the same experience we've had with them in last years, decades and centuries.

  • 146.
  • At 03:50 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Eri wrote:

It remains a mystery to me, why so much fuss and indignation and fears towards Kosovo's independence from Serbia? Isn't it part of a larger process of separation which began long ago, when all the other countries Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia- Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, one after the other, all moved away from Yugoslavia? Kosovo was the last and the most difficult of all, but it doesn't mean that just because of that it should be considered less legitimate. It was a natural process that finally got through to realization... Why didn't Russia protest over Croatia's declaration of independence? Or Montenegro's independence for example, which was also only recently confirmed completely? Why so much attention and protection now, especially now? The separation of Kosovo from Yugoslavia to form its own country, is perhaps the most natural of all the other separations, given the different language, culture, religion, traditions, etc of Kosovo people from Serbian and other ex-yugoslav people...

  • 147.
  • At 04:53 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Richard wilson wrote:

By 1987, the Times was portraying a dire situation in Kosovo. David Binder reported (11/1/87):

Ethnic Albanians in the Government have manipulated public funds and regulations to take over land belonging to Serbs…. Slavic Orthodox churches have been attacked, and flags have been torn down. Wells have been poisoned and crops burned. Slavic boys have been knifed, and some young ethnic Albanians have been told by their elders to rape Serbian girls….

As Slavs flee the protracted violence, Kosovo is becoming what ethnic Albanian nationalists have been demanding for years, and especially strongly since the bloody rioting by ethnic Albanians in Pristina in 1981--an ''ethnically pure'' Albanian region, a ''Republic of Kosovo" in all but name.

  • 148.
  • At 05:16 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Attila wrote:

If the independence of Kosovo creates a precedent then it would be interesting to re-analyse the political status of the Hungarian minorities living in the neighbouring countries of Hungary.
Romania 1.7 million
Slovakia: 520.000
Serbia: 250.000
Ukraine: 100.000
Croatia: 20 000
Do these hungarian ethnic minorities also have the right for their self-determination? They are not immigrants, they were split from Hungary due to Peace Treaty in 1920.

  • 149.
  • At 06:03 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • ER wrote:

To Natalie:

Calm down dear, and start reading history books not published in Belgrade.Then you will see who came from where and when.
If you say that you don't want us, and I know we definitely don't want to be governed by you, then I don't see any problems.
FYI: Mars is uninhabitable.

To Kosovans (of all ethnicities):

Happy Independence. And in words of Mr Spock "Live long and prosper!"

  • 150.
  • At 06:18 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Oscar Lima wrote:

The main lesson to be learned by the Serbs (and other similar small countries) about the Kosovo affair is that while countries like USA, UK, Israel, India, even Russia, may be free to demonise Islam in order to extend their power over resources (oil and what not) smaller countries (especially those not fully aligned with the world's masters) cannot afford this luxury.

I see many comments by Serbians and pro-Serbians trying to use the muslim=terrorist equation to justify Serbia's hold on Kosovo. How naive is that?

The fact is that Serbia has found itself on the wrong side of the fence. Kosovo is what the big (western) powers must cede, in order to secure Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia, etc. Also, with all that Iraq/Afghanistan/Palestine/Somalia thing on their record, they must "prove" to the muslim world that they are not biased. Kosovo is the easy way out for them and there's nothing Serbia can do about it.

It is sad to see though, how the Europeans always end up playing in the USA hands.

  • 151.
  • At 09:15 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • sara wrote:

to ER
kosovo is serbian land, that's a historical fact, as much as it is that the albanians from kosovo came from albania. where were albanians in 1389 when serbs defended their land from the ottomans and 500 years from 1398, when serbs suffered the turkish repression while the rest of europe was prospering and developing (thanks to serbs, croats and slovenians).
i understand that you are very pleased to have your own country which was ripped off from serbia, with a big help of the usa dictatorship, and put into hands of a war criminal.

i am afraid that illegal, unilateral declaration of kosovo independence is the last straw that will trigger the 3rd world war.

i am also disappointed in the eu leaders and in the world population in general, to allow this corrupt american administration to rule the whole world.
why do we need international law if it overturns its own decisions?

  • 152.
  • At 09:26 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • dimitris wrote:

to ER
you should learn about the Balkan history

And answer to the point of what Natalie asked

tell your opinion about the Scotish issue and their independence from England
or what about Whales and North Ireland ?

Us And their european province
have a byword :"If you want to be a king you should divide nations"

  • 153.
  • At 09:40 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Alex wrote:

It is appalling to absorb the explanation of some EU and USA that Kosovo is a “special case”, and therefore it deserves exception from the international laws that have been put in place exactly to prevent these unilateral declaration, and subsequent consequences.
Then some EU member states go on to say that, Russia should tone down their rhetoric, even more so saying that Russia has no power to change anything. What a disgrace and arrogance.
Firstly, Russia and other countries opposing the unilateral declaration of independence have a moral high ground for standing up in the forefront protecting the international laws and standards. Anyone who recognizes Kosovo simply is doing an illegal act in violation of the UN charter. These fundamentals were practiced way before the WWII but were cemented after through the UN Carter, and Helsinki Final Act, as well as in Serbia case the latest UN resolution 1244 which reaffirms Serbia’s sovereignty over Kosovo. Simply you cannot unilaterally change the borders without the consent of the state involved period.

  • 154.
  • At 09:41 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Kosovar opinion wrote:

I am an Albanian and not such a big history person, but rather, I try let reason and pragmatism lead me. I do not know who is right and who is wrong, historically speaking, because I do not know trust neither Serbian or our Albanian history on many things, but I have to raise some points that especially Serbs have to think about.

Serbian claims about Kosovo being their Jerusalem are just a Milosevic-like rhetoric that is making for them difficult to accept the truth.

Kosovar Albanians consider Kosova as their Jerusalem, too. Moreover, they call Albanians ethnic Albanians, and they do not call ethnic Serbs. Bulgarians ruled Kosovo for 200 years before Serbian battle (perhaps "Serbian" because we also claim that all the christians of the region in 1389 fought the battle - 1389, think of it, looks to far to be believable for anything, and this is not France or England, it is the Balkans after all, so God only knows what happened then) and Turks ruled Kosova for 500 therafter creating more mosques than Serbs did churches. Should Kosova be considered a craddle of Otoman civilization?

I hear Albanians came to Kosovo moved after second world war from Albania. Rationally thinking, how could have that possibly happened when Serbia ruled Kosovo since 1912. Migrations, however, existed from all sides(as the Serbs that were given land benefits to move to Kosova in 1918, but left after WW II, and Tito forbid their return). Serbs left Kosovo for economic (and political perhaps in some cases) reasons and so did the Albanians. The difference is Serbs went to Serbia and the Albanians went to Switzerland and Germany for mostly economic reasons (and many to Turkey when Tito stroke a deal with Turkey, which he later withdrew, to move Albanians to Turkey). The only true claim from the Serbian side is that the composition of population changed even more after WW II due to our high birth rate, especially after Kosovo was given an authonomy and Albanians felt more like part of Yugoslavia. That is also a fact because we, Albanians were always less developed in former Yugoslavia. But this is also why Kosovo today has big economic problems because the current devastating situation results from mixed factors such as communism (slightly), a devastating repression under Serbia (mostly - infrastructure compared to Serbia is poor, the maintenance of public facilities was at level zero, etc.) and the legal limbo which prevailed since 1999.

So, let's leave history aside, because it will never bring peace and reasons to move forward. Right now, we have to agree that Serbia cannot guarantee any rights until 50% of its population votes for Radicals. Another reason why the most practical and feasible solution for Kosova is independence. Serbia could have gotten a lot in return (despite Mladic and Karadzic) for letting Kosova go, but they wasted another opportunity.

Another point: Serbia would take R.Srpska tomorrow if it could and Russia would do the same with Georgian and Moldovan territories. What about the international law in this case? Moreover, international law should stand there to protect human rights and morality more than it should sovereignity of one country. Where do you draw line, it is diffuicult to say. Should the UN SC be the power to do that or the international community? Or there is time for something else? Yet, the ultimate conclusion is that my feeling is that Russia is trying to get something in return and to assert itself as a Great Power again more than to protect any law, and US does not want that. It is unfortunate that Serbia will have to suffer the consequences of this fight by trusting Russia, instead of looking toward EU, where hopefully all of its people will one day realize it belongs at.

  • 155.
  • At 09:54 PM on 26 Feb 2008,
  • Adrian wrote:

I ask you, why would those who were persecuted and killed in a government sponsored genocide want to stay with Serbia? Does it make sense? Unless the history has been re-written in the past week, Serbian nationalism is still responsible for major killings on innocent people in the Balkans.
To those who claim that Kosovo is Serbia's soul, have you ever been to Kosovo? Why don't more of you live there?
The remnants of the old, milosevic regime, and the radical factions, are using kosovo to strenghen their political stronghold. It is the reality of politicking in that country. Too bad Serbs are naive to understand that they are being manipulated by Russia, too.
I for one am glad that the country has declared independence. The healing can now continue.

  • 156.
  • At 12:02 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • dtleafy wrote:

To All:

I have a question to all readers regarding "The Kosovo Question"

I have heard and read repeatedly that Kosovo is the homeland of the Serb nation. If that analysis is unquestioned why was it that the majority of the people living in Kosovo (pre-breakup of Yugoslavia) ethnically Albanian? Where did the Serbs go and why?

Since I am not a Serb nationalist (or a nationalist all together) I do not think that I can understand the sheer nonsense that Kosovo is something that Serbs are ready to die for, as one man has already done so during the protests in Belgrade last week. Yes, we can hark back to the Battle on Kosovo Field and the historic meaning that the stand against the Ottoman empire had. But the battle was in 1389...1389!!! The Serb nationality is a whole lot more than a battle over 600 years ago.

It is not hard to rationalize that after the ethnic cleansing that took place in the former Yugoslavia that no ethnic group would feel comfortable (this is considerably understated) living next to another. And from this feeling of fear (which is entirely justified) the hatching of the independent state of Kosovo would take place. Isn't this chain of events highly logical and probable? Most people knew that this day was coming.

The media record and reasonate the loudest voices (and in this case it is the rhetoric of the Serb PM that is impossible to escape from) but I wonder what does the rest of the Serb body politic actually think about this? What are ordinary people in Belgrade thinking?

  • 157.
  • At 12:10 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Kelly Moran wrote:

Regarding "Justin, post 25"

He mentions "I also think Serbia has got a nerve trying to claim Kosovo is still a part of their country after all they have put the Kosovan people through. The only thing Serbia has brought the people of Kosovo is misery."

What about the "misery" Albanian Kosovars put Serbian Kosovars through when they "ethnically cleansed" over 90% of them right out of Kosovo?

Ignorance and deliberate lying.
Either is abominable.

  • 158.
  • At 12:43 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Nesh wrote:

What will be next step now, when enormous majority of this planet do not recognize Kosovo independent ?
Will you preassure and punish us too ???
Will you accept self-slap in your own face ?


  • 159.
  • At 05:06 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Agron Gashi wrote:


I guess the best thing is to learn better the history, and learn it using more then two sources.

Kosova-definitely is INDEPENDENT and it should have been forever. Does anyone knows about the ethnic cleaning of the southern serbia near Nish and Leskovc, after the WWII, or you have been blind and had no ears for these times. More than 600,000 people have been removed between 1945-1968. Thats equivalent of 2 millions today approximately.

So before you come here and write, look better at the history--cause SLLAVS came to the central Europe while the albanians have been living in this land.

  • 160.
  • At 05:50 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Boris Dutina wrote:

ER, it is fact that you are Albanian and if you want to be Albanian you should go to Albania! I am Serbian and I live in Australia, the Anglo Australians always say if you don’t want to be Australian and want to be Serbian then go to Serbia. I do agree that Belgrade is at fault for the current situation but not for been tyrants, but for being to flexible! The only reason the West is sponsoring Kosovo is that they don’t want Albanians refugees in their backyard; they would rather take Serbian refugees who they know will assimilate into what ever society they move into!

  • 161.
  • At 11:14 AM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Attila wrote:

Serbs on their recent rallies condemn EU but their troublemakers smahs shopwindows and throw stones on Austrian police in Wienna. I am really very curious that it would be possible in Beograd at all?

  • 162.
  • At 01:02 PM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • Mospyt wrote:

The more I learn about what makes Serbian nationalism tick, the more I am convinced that it is the greatest danger to peace and stability in the Balkans. Serbia's violent reaction to the Kosova's independence has once again proven the Kosova Albanian arguments that Milosevic may be dead but his ideas still govern Serbian government thinking. In the 1990s Serbia should have been forced to cleanse itself of the chauvinistic nationalism much in the same way as Nazi Germany was denazified after the WW2.

  • 163.
  • At 06:01 PM on 27 Feb 2008,
  • zoran wrote:

Feb 21 2008
Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie interview regarding to self proclaimed independence of Kosovo.

After huge demonstration, provoked by kosovo's independence selfproclamation, this night in Belgrade including braking in to USA Embasy and atacking several more, Maj-Gen Lewis MacKenzie was interviewed for one of the Largest Canada TV stations.

Those were his words:

Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie:
"Kosovo to Serbia is same like Jerusalem to Israel." So if it hapens that Palestina proclaim Independence takin Jerusalem with them you can for sure expect large demonstrations from Israel side. It is a holy place for them just like Kosovo is holy place for Serbia.
India Brasil Argentina Rusia Rumunia Spain all aren't endosing recognizing indenpendence Canada hasn't made it's mind yet - I hope it doesn't recognize. And we have the people who led in my estimation iligal bombing campain on the 50th aniversary of Nato against Serbia and kosovo.
So I think the riots today particularly picking overthere on the US embasy was not atack on the US embasy, it was atacking Madelene Abright who was the devil in.... as far as serbs are concerned. She is the one that bought in to..., she bought in to the orchestrated Rachak Masacre and ended up
convincing Nato to conduct a bombing campaign. I mean we are talking about terorist organization the KLA as recognized by the CIA and others
anti terorist organizations. Led by individuals one of whoom is the prime minister now who led the atacks over and through the Canadian positions in Croatia during operations Storm and during the Medak pocket batle two years earlier. So as far as canadians should be concerned these are the people that atempted to kill our soldiers, so I don't have alot of simpaty for the leadership in Kosovo. Am I showing my bias, you are damn right I am!

Yeah I think you came across clearly, but I apreciate your position and the way you express it. Um... lets talk about then political reality on the ground right now. Can what has been done be brought undone? Is there any way of those, i mean there has be 100s of thousands of people on the streets of Serbia, you have listed Countries that are against this but lets face it the Kosovars have declared the independence Britain, Germany, USA significantly online, and 20 nations overal and more considering it. Is there any way to reverse it in your view or this, this, this is the way of history where is this going from here?...

Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie:
Well it's going to be modified and two days ago in a similar interview I predicted that the northern chunk of Kosovo as defined by the river that runs East West through Kosovska Mitrovica would infact form a paralel government, would declare it's indenpendence, from Kosovo, hows that for Irony..?.. And the same thing will hapen with Republika Srpska as part of Bosnia and I understand they are meeting in Banjaluka right not they are meeting to do exact same that. So have got domino efect now that is
going to impact on the Balkans dramaticaly.

Something have to hapen in kosovo, 40% of unemployment, very poor area, many people there look at the EU as their salvation, they weren't loking at Belgrade as their salvation, um.. in many ways was this inevitable.

Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie:
Well then what they are loking down there you will notice two days ago on the selebration on the independence they weren't waiving their own flags, they were waiving the Albaninan flags. So there is going to be the greater Albania that gives them access to the sea. So once again we have an Islamic nation that is going to be put together with the assistance of the West that was originaly created the genesys was a violent campaign.

Alright... I apologise for my ignorance here, let me just ask here from your point of view, with your experience What's in this then for those western nations so they are supporting an independent Kosovo?

Maj.-Gen. Lewis MacKenzie:
They just want to go on with a next problem. They are sick and tired of having their foot in the tarpond in the Balkans. It's like a dog chasing a schoolbuss. It's realy fun for the dog untill he catch it. Then he is gota do something about it. Well we caught the balcans back in 1992 the international comunity and we have been suffering for it ever since.. There is a strong theory wich I sometimes endorse. When these people started fighting each other, not just on the balkans but on the other areas
the last thing you should do is get your self involved in stoping it. Because it doesn't resolve the issue. It's a mater of leting one side win and other loose whatever and get on with life and help them rebuilt the country. But going in and stoping it wich we did in Bosnia, what we did in Kosovo, it's not always the best thing to do, but thats ............

  • 164.
  • At 06:49 AM on 28 Feb 2008,
  • aerofrancoa wrote:

Hi Mark, I was just thinking whether you have already forbidden the publishing of my comments on the matter. If you’ve really done it, I shall be just glad to have resisted the temptation of having some fatal compromise with my own principles… If I am mistaken, I sincerely apologize to you, and I shall make my best to take part in you blog for the simple reason that it directly concerns all Balkan nations…
I would condemn all those barbarian acts in Belgrade, but before that I will try to better understand all that tragedy in neighbor Serbia in the context to the history of ‘old good Europe’…
I read and I read again the declaration of Berlin marking the 50th anniversary of the treaty of Rome which is aimed at the renewal of the foundations of Europe from here 2009, and I become increasingly anxious… The incompatibility between the mere spirit of this document and the pressing reality, since the recognition of the Moslem state of Kosovo on a territory that is deemed to be sacred by the whole Orthodoxy, is evident…
I am not a practitioner Christian who would over-estimate the role of the religions now existing in Europe, but I do not have any illusion as for the metamorphose of all those people who consider themselves as free thinkers or declared atheists, to start from Voltaire and to finish with my fellow-citizens in Bulgaria, and who preach values known as universal ones as if they were the authors of them… I think these values are only a historical interpretation of our well forgotten Christian values, and consequently, all these buddies are only deluded kids who do believe of having discovered the true formula for the prosperity of our civilization… To that matter it is necessary to read and read again the European history and… the Bible… in order to discover again…. ourselves….
This said, I would allow myself to recall that the mere idea of the Treaty of Rome is based on the necessity of acting in a way that Europe, which according to the statements of the first Belgian diplomat of that time, Paul-Henri Spaak, `… saw its positions weaken, its influence decline, its capacity of making progress lost in its divisions…', should regain the lost ground and should become again a political and economic community where the democracy and the liberties of the individuals would be used as angular stone for the construction of the Member States… From where came the necessity to promote the secular authority as operating principle of the public institutions as well as the need to raise the tolerance as the sole tool of cohabitation between the many ethnic groups which populated the old Continent.....
I think that the ideologists and fathers founders of the European Union like Jean Monnet, Robert Schuman, Conrad Adenauer, Paul-Henri Spaak, and so much from others, had never called into question, nor discussed seriously the Christian identity of the prevailing majority of all fellow-citizens of the future European Community. The topic has never been considered this way for Christianity was the only spiritual base and the common language of almost every individual … And if there were tensions provoked by some separatists’ movements like those of Northern Ireland, of the Basque province of Spain or of French Corsica, nobody among the European leaders did ever have the insane idea of building borders between the ethnical groups with the effect of preserving of the social peace in such or such member state… Hence the efforts of all western governments were aimed at the demolition of all existing borders in the name of the equality in rights of all ethnical groups, of all nations, and in the name of the prosperity of the whole European Community …
And I would ask the actual leaders of France, of the United Kingdom, of Germany and of Italy: of which right do you have destroyed a Christian state in the full center of Europe and detached from its territory the most sacred part which is the cradle of its national identity? Serbia is Christian ever since the IX century, and its contribution in the cultural heritage of Europe is evident. And if you have sacrificed an orthodox country today, is there a guarantee that tomorrow, after the next Albanian unrest in Macedonia , in Greece, or in Montenegro , you would not intervene in favor of a new Moslem state (the mere existence of which shall be heartily welcomed by countries like Pakistan, Iran or Turkey)… Where is lost the approved by the UN standard which would guarantee to all countries of the old Continent the equality in rights and the integrity of the national territory? And for better rendering my views on this tragedy, I would allow myself to ask you how you would approve of the mere idea of an eventual massif gathering of Maghreb people of third generation in the South of France where they will be authorized by the `international community' to establish their Moslem state with Marseilles for capital, or that of a Pakistani enclave in the full center of the United Kingdom, or that of a `very small Turkish state' on the territory of Bavaria where the mosques shall dominate over the cathedrals? The picture is unrealistic , macabre and absurd for your spirits, but it is just real with Pristina, and it could be that it becomes a reality in any corner of Europe if you continue to underestimate the historical realities and to sacrifice the orthodox and (other Christian) countries as you have done it on several occasions in the past …
And I also ask: is the Atlantic alliance the only pledge of our security, or, it is assigned only to preserve the current status quo, where the United States will have the last word to say for all that is referred with the internal or the external security of Europe? …The US which is too young in human history and which is too far away from our European traditions and values… will certainly intervene only in its interest…
And since I am Bulgarian of stock, I would allow myself to recall to all fellow Europeans who have still good historical memory of our Slavic apostles who were “… witnesses of undivided Church in the plurality of rites and languages, faithful to the pope as with the patriarch of Constantinople of which they were (spiritual) sons, ..... Cyril and Methodius have been named Co-protectors of Europe, together with saint Benoit, holy Catherine of His, holy Brigitte of Sweden, and Sister Thérèse Bénédicte de la Croix - Holy Edith Stein…”
What a pity Mark that to-day’s leaders of the four largest European democracies are so badly prepared to implement the text of the Berlin declaration which stipulates that, ' We are striving for peace and freedom, for democracy and the rule of law…’ For they have already violated one of the fundamental principles of the European Community … just to please one overseas power and … to `resist' to another one…. in Eastern Europe …
What a pity indeed… and what uncertain and macabre future for all of us… Balkan nations…

Vladimir Bozhinoff, Sofia, February 28th 2008

  • 165.
  • At 07:01 AM on 28 Feb 2008,
  • aviocesolongago wrote:

Mary Edith Durham Queen Of the High Lands. Thank you....
You have allowed me to finaly enjoy this moment. I can only whish you could have been there to see the smiling eye of the Albanians. You are the vioce and the tears that flooded these hills. You are the soil that has absorbed our blood. You are the only one that spoke of us and new of us in our truest form. Because of you our truth is writen and will stand the test of time.

Thank You..

Hi all,
read some of posts,but before some of u post something,pls take a look in the past and not just 'post it'.
- REMEMBER SREBRENICA Genocide (The serbian massacre in 1995 in bosnians where more than 10000 people were massacred.)
than recently not so long ago
The RACAC,DRENICA (in KOSOVO) Genocide from serbian regime in 1998 - 1999 where also about 10000 people all of them weak people(civilians,childrens,old men) were massacred,killed,raped etc..
Just google that and u'll find enough misery caused by "democratic Serbia" !
How can u live under so a regime!
Why are there so many Kosovans living abroad ?
Why are there so many Bosnians living abroad ?
It's all caused by serbian regime who tried to deport native people from their own countries.


  • 167.
  • At 11:13 AM on 29 Feb 2008,
  • christi wrote:

I am Bulgarian and I know Balkans history. Balkans history is the history of European mistakes and greed. It is common wisdom to learn from mistakes and never repeat them. This does not happen unfortunately and Kosovo case is a very typical illustration. UK, Germany, France have failed many times in the past separately. They will now fail once again jointly this time as the great EU leading forces. This is just the beginning of the end for the EU. It will split long before Kosovo can even dream of becoming its member. The foolishness and geopolitical blindness of EU politicians is just amazing. Or on the contrary - controlling drugs, weapons and prostitutes traffic is quite a wealthy bate for them and Kosovo is well-known to be central for this kind of "business". Unfortunately people living on the Balkans will be among the first reaping "the fruits" of EU political greed or stupidity or both, the other EU nations to follow shortly. Money don't smell.

Me again,
Dear Christi,I am a kosovar,and i've lived in Kosovo for 20 years, but i didn't see something that had to make with drugs & prostitutes & weapons trafic..I know nobody talks bad about his country,but this the truth.
Let's just be clear..
Here in Belgium there are a lot of bulgarian & rumanian girls in the streets working as escorts,and they are very known here for prostitution,ripping people etc.
And one more thing, everywhere u go here u see bulgarian shabby cars around's really striking.
Anyway i think there's been a big mistake when EU accepted bulgaria & romania in it, even some EU states were against that. They had to be more open minded.
I wonder and i don't really know where did they see the benefits, inserting bulgaria & romania in EU.

God bless EU & US

  • 169.
  • At 03:37 PM on 04 Mar 2008,
  • Artan, Prishtina wrote:

To Nesh,

If you look back the history, Kosova is the first country in the history with the fastest qualitative recongition recognition.
The next country that will recognize Kosova is Canada. 56 Arab countries already annouced that they will recognize. Well, if you talk about numbers, if China, India & Russia (the latter will not recognize for sure soon) then ,they make half of the world population. For the rest, you will be a wittnes that exepct for few countries, the rest of the world will recognize Kosova.
Countries that live in present have already recognized and/or are in process of recognition. Those who live in the past, they cannot, because they have to "come in" present time first.

  • 170.
  • At 04:13 PM on 04 Mar 2008,
  • Anonimo wrote:

There is no reason why Kosovo should be an independent country, Once again U.S and its allys are screwing things up. Every country in the world has a group of people that are unhappy about something..... are we going to let them all declare their independence???? Imagine if Texas decided that they should be independent.... Would the U.S give them the independence? This is exactly the reason why I do not support Kosovo's independence. I agree that the problems between kosovo and the rest of Serbia must be resolved, but the solution lays in them working together as a country and not by declaring independence.

  • 171.
  • At 09:23 PM on 04 Mar 2008,
  • Arbendon wrote:

Abdul Hamit You are saying I am Muslim and I don't like idea Kosovo to separate from Serbia.
Listen to this my dear Muslim, It doesn't make any difference even you were Buddha,If this is a Muslim opinion, sorry but has nothing to do with Albanians,
Why you people don't understand that:we are Albanians first than anything else.
Try to be smart and leave religion on the side because we do not really care about it.
From an Albanian
Albanian =something else
Muslim=something else

This post is closed to new comments.

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.