Serbia has proposed the return of their security forces to Kosovo for the first time in more than eight years. Serbian forces have not been in Kosovo basically since the end of the NATO bombing campaign in 1999. Under the UN Security Council resolution 1244, Serbia does hold territorial rights to Kosovo as well as the right to send a limited number of security forces to Kosovo. Following the March 2004 riots, there was discussion of having Serbian forces return but UNMIK and KFOR negotiated with Serbia.
Meanwhile, former Kosovo PM Bajram Rexhepi has suggested that if Kosovo will be partitioned, the Kosovo government would only agree if Presevo Valley was integrated into Kosovo. Rexhepi also stated that he did not believe that the 120-day period of negotiation would bring Belgrade and Pristina closer on their positions which continue to be diametrically opposed on autonomy vs. independence.
UNMIK has kick-started the process for local elections due to be held this November in Kosovo. PDSRSG Steven Schook signed an executive order yesterday that authorized the elections commission to begin preparations for the elections. In a statement, he cautioned that the elections should not interfere with the negotiations on status...which seems kind of like wishful thinking. Citizens are probably more likely to vote for candidates who appear to be able to deliver on the promises of independence which means the current government is going to have to prove that they are on the right track. Already there has been speculation that PM Agim Ceku is on his way out because of failures to deliver independence by his constantly moving deadlines.
And finally, how about MTCowgirl's Interesting News Stories???
- The Epicenter of Islamofascism?, a rebuke of Julia Gorin's Kosovo articles in FrontPage Mag
- Passports in Serbia, an interesting article in b92 about the continued flow of Kosovo citizens to Serbia who are applying for passports
- Kosovo waiting on funds , MSNBC takes a look at the economic limbo in Kosovo and plans for the future
- Lessons from Kosovo kids, the residents of Corning, NY get a glimpse of the US through different eyes
- Federalization in Macedonia?, a look at the situation in neighboring Macedonia and the link between Kosovo's independence and possible federalization