Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Pushing Fake Travel Documents in Kosovo

The Balkan Investigative Reporting Network published an article about the illegal document peddling that goes on in Kosovo and surrounding countries.  The problem stems mostly from the inability of Albanians to travel to other countries using the UNMIK Travel Document as most countries require a visa.  With old ex-Yugoslav documents, people are able to easily travel to neighboring countries such as Bulgaria, Croatia, Bosnia without a visa. 
Meanwhile, Kosovo PM Ceku has been on a tour to promote independence in Kosovo.  He has visited Russia, Romania, and Croatia in the past weeks to try to build partnerships and gain support for an independent Kosovo.  The visit that received the most press was naturally his visit to Moscow which was dubbed "informal".  Russia is still holding to their statements that they will veto any move for independence in the Security Council and insists that any solution found must be acceptable to Serbia and Kosovo.  That's easier said than done with Albanians insisting on nothing short of independence and Serbia insisting that Kosovo remain part of Serbia.

And yesterday, five Albanians were arrested in connection with the violent demonstrations on 28 November where the government and UNMIK Mission HQ suffered damage.  The figures of how many demonstrators there were depends on the source.  Local media reports that there were 5000 people, UN Security stated that there were 4000, some international media says 3000, and one UNMIK police spokesperson said 2000 demonstrators.  While always difficult to judge the size of a crowd, from what I've seen and have been told, the crowd was around 3000-4000 people...so maybe everyone should settle on the amount of 3500 :o)