Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Kosovo To Open 14 Embassies

The Kosovo government is planning to open 14 embassies in Europe and the US following the approval of independence according to a statement from the Prime Minister's office.  Embassies will be opened in the US, UK, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Albania, Switzerland, Austria, Germany, France, and Macedonia in addition to offices in the EU and UN.  With an estimated budget of just seven (7) million Euros, the newly created ministry of foreign affairs will have its work cut out for it as relatively no one has experience in foreign service with embassies as Kosovo has never in history been its own state.  The government is hoping to send approximately 30 people to a diplomatic school in Austria but critics question whether or not a cram-session of studying diplomacy will be enough and if the corruption that exists in the current government will continue in Kosovo's foreign service.
There was a peaceful march in support of Ramush Haradinaj in Pristina with approximately 600 people.  Several members of the government and Ramush's AAK party were present at the march.  There have been a few marches around Kosovo in recent weeks and posters with his picture and the words "Me Ramushin" (With Ramush) all around Kosovo since March when he returned to answer war crimes charges in the Hague.  Haradinaj was indicted in 2003 along with two other KLA associates for 37 different crimes.  Many of the Albanians do not believe that their "freedom fighters" should face charges for anything that happened during the fighting, in fact signs stated "Freedom for Liberators" during today's march in Pristina.   An article in the Chicago Tribune does a good job of outlining how complex the Haradinaj case is and how Kosovo politics have played a role.

Politicians in Serbia are alarmed and issuing warnings to Serbs in Kosovo who are planning on forming a militia.  The militia would reportedly take up arms to prevent Kosovo's secession and would be made up of volunteers from Yugoslavia's past conflicts.  Two groups, the United Serbian People's Movement and Serbian Veteran's Movement, are planning to swear in the first company of the militia on the 5th of May.  Officials, politicians, and the media have all expressed concern over the militia's formation and stated that it may "backfire against Serbia" however that they understood the reason for the militia's formation.