Thursday, August 3, 2006

Serbia Request Postponement for One Week

Serbia has requested to postpone the next round of talks for one week.  The talks were scheduled to start on the 7th.  Rumors are that Serbia would like to drop the issue of minority rights from the agenda of the next meeting.  So far, little progress has been made in regards to minority rights or protection of cultural/religious sites. 

In the news, the Wall Street Journal published an article arguing that Kosovo is not ready for independence.  Unfortunately the full-text of the article is not available unless you subscribe to their website.  The BBC posted an article today describing the anxious wait for the negotiations to finish.  It is one of the few articles I've come across that talks to both sides of the debate, Serbs & Albanians.

Of course, one thing that is often forgotten is that the Serbs are not the only minority that allegedly suffers from discrimination in Kosovo.  There are Turkish, Bosniak, and RAE communities in Kosovo that live in difficult circumstances.  The Turkish population finds itself in a quagmire as they technically did not chose a side during the conflict...neutrality did not sit well with the Albanian population.  The Bosniaks speak a dialect of Serbian that puts them at odds just because of their language, never mind the fact that they are Muslim (guess that means that religion isn't actually a problem!)  The Roma, Ashkalia, Egyptian (RAE) community lives in temporary housing for the past seven years, struggling to survive through flooding and fires in their temporary shelters.  Most of them lost their homes following the NATO bombing as celebrating mobs burned down homes in retribution for supposed wrongs committed by other communities.  Whatever the solution, compromised or forced, I do not foresee an easy time for minorities in Kosovo.