Monday, December 10, 2007

Albanians Celebrate & Call for Independence

Today up to 3000 (reports of the actual numbers vary depending on the source) Albanians gathered in Pristina to call for a unilateral declaration of independence by the Kosovo government and urged the international community to recognize them.  The crowd chanted "UCK, UCK, UCK" in reference to the disbanded Kosovo Liberation Army, of which most Kosovo politicians were part of and the Kosovo Protection Corps (TMK) was founded upon its members.  Kosovo politicians are now vowing independence before May 2008, changing from the end of this year.  It is thought that there may be a UDI mid-January. 
Meanwhile Kosovo Serbs are weighing the options and many do not welcome Kosovo independence.  Kosovo Serbs living in refugee camps in Serbia are giving up hope of returning home.  Some Albanians also do not see a future with a multi-ethnic society and there have been isolated incidents across Kosovo against minority populations (a Serbian house was set on fire with the message "Death to Serbs" spray-painted on it in Gjilane).  The Norwegian Refugee Council's Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre has warned that the risk for displacement in Kosovo is growing as the deadline for decisions pass.  Additionally, there are reports that the UN is fearing that Serbia and the Serbs in northern Kosovo will disrupt an independent Kosovo by walking off the job as KPS officers or interfering with power/water supplies.

The UN is not surprisingly quiet on the day that the troika report was due to be released.  American, British,  and EU officials meanwhile have been adding their support to Kosovo's independence.  Cyprus maintains its deadlock with other EU nations regarding Kosovo.   Russia continues to object to a UDI by Kosovo and warns of a "chain reaction".

I enjoyed CNN's Analysis: Kosovo on a knife's edge, especially the conclusion of the article which has been one of my questions for a long time.  Why is it necessary to break up Kosovo and Serbia when both someday hope to join the EU???  Will 5-10-15 years of being apart mend the apparent psychological scars that prevent the two from living together?