Thursday, October 30, 2008

Armed Fight Breaks Out in N.Mitrovica

An armed fight broke out this afternoon in North Mitrovica, first in a small village and later in the ethnically mixed Three Towers area.  According to the news, five Serbians were injured in a scuffle with Albanians although other reports are that only two Serbs or no one was injured.  The incident reportedly occurred when the Albanians crossed into the north to make repairs on their homes although Serbian politicians have called their actions "provocation" (how repairing a house is provocation I'm not quite sure but that's what was said!)  According to witnesses, there was automatic gunfire although most official accounts say that only wooden and medal sticks were involved.
A member of the European Parliament has rebuked the idea that the EULEX mission will be "status neutral" as it is dependent on the Kosovo constitution and Ahtisaari package.  Meanwhile it looks like EULEX is planning on deploying under UNMIK in North Kosovo after opposition from Serbians on the legitimacy of the EU mission without the approval of the UN Security Council.

The US has signed a deal to send 80 police officers to the EULEX mission and decided to withdraw their 220 officers from UNMIK as of 30 November.  Most of the officer's will just "switch patches" and change over from UNMIK to EULEX however many are turning down EU offers due to a pay-cut and less benefits than EU members.  While both will have weekends off, Americans will accumulate 1.5 days of annual leave each month while their EU counterparts earn 2.5 days.  There also will be no CTO time accrued which means that it takes longer for Americans to build up enough time to go home and then add the rising cost of airline tickets and the end result is it simply does not seem to be worth it to many people who have families stateside to stay in Kosovo.

MTCowgirl's Kosovo News