Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Holidays

With Serbia refusing to accept goods with a Republic of Kosovo customs stamp, the Kosovo government has announced that they may start barring goods from Serbia. Honestly in times of troubled economy I don’t see how the tit-for-tat restrictions on goods will benefit Serbia or Kosovo but that’s what’s new :) Well, that and Kosovo has said that it may bar Serbian officials from coming into Kosovo.

Allegations of corruption in the United Nations are nothing new however reports have emerged that UN and local officials squandered and stole some 400 million Euros destined for the energy sector. Another scathing article featuring information from former UNMIK employee Jim Wasserstrom states that the UN is not serious about cleaning up its act regarding misconduct and corruption.

Meanwhile, the roles of UNMIK and EULEX continue to be defined amid the confusion as to who does what. News sources report that UNMIK will continue to represent Kosovo abroad while Kosovo government officials say “Ni” and that Kosovo government officials will be representing Kosovo. Serbia has stated that it will intervene in the UN if EULEX fails to properly carry out its mandate. In the meantime, EULEX has taken over its first two organized crime cases in the municipal courts. The transition of the court in North Mitrovica has resulted in demonstrations on Christmas morning with Serbian justice workers protesting their inability to return to work.

MTCowgirl’s Interesting Articles/Commentary
As usual, a small disclaimer :) These articles do not necessarily reflect my personal opinion but are posted for informational purposes only as I found them “interesting”.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Is EULEX Neutral?

The debate whether or not EULEX will be able to maintain neutrality over Kosovo’s independence still continues with both a former UNMIK SRSG and former Kosovo PM stating that the mission will not be status neutral. Besides becoming operational in Kosovo, EULEX has announced that they will open an office in Belgrade in the near future in order to “establish ties” with neighboring countries.

It’s the time of year when the streets of Pristina start looking like an expat ghost town as droves of us head home for the holidays.  The funny thing like last year is that there are all sorts of Christmas decorations and even “Merry Christmas” signs all over the streets of Pristina…odd for a place where most people say they are Muslim.  Of course the term “Muslim Lite” is always applicable in Kosovo (check out the first of my interesting articles for the newest on Kosovo’s moderate Muslims!) but it’s still really, really, really strange that they are “celebrating” Christmas!  Naturally the Muslim Albanians are not celebrating the “real” Christmas but rather its just the commercial Christmas of trees, lights, Santa, and giving gifts…and maybe an excuse to have another day off from work *grin*  Anyways, I’ll be returning home to the US for a few weeks but if anything interesting happens and it reaches my ears, I’ll be sharing it with you :) 

The weather has been pretty moderate for December.  We just had the one really big snowstorm and then nothing significant since then.  It rains every once in a while.  With the warmer winter temperatures, the power situation has been pretty good.  It only has gone off every once in a while for 30-60 minutes at a time…hardly worth the effort of going outside to turn on the generator!

MTCowgirl’s Interesting Articles/Commentary
MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

EULEX Officially Launches

It has actually happened! EULEX has finally become “operational” on 9 December 2008 in Kosovo after much speculation on the date and their capability.  Of course, you have to question just how operational EULEX is based on the fact that most staff are going into empty offices with no desks, chairs, much less a computer.  What’s even more amusing is that a friend who walked into his new empty office is due to work in IT and he doesn’t even have a computer.  As the saying goes, “nothing to do and all day to do it”!!!
There does seem to be some confusion about the “take over” from UNMIK.  Keep in mind that EULEX is a law mission, not a political one.  EULEX has only taken over the police and justice portion of the UNMIK mission meaning that the political component of UNMIK still remains in Kosovo.  The deployment of EULEX does not mean that all the UN staff are packing their bags and leaving Kosovo…which means you can expect this cowgirl to continue blogging from and about Kosovo for some time to come :o )

MTCowgirl’s EULEX Deployment News
A little news on the deployment of EULEX in Kosovo
MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News
MTCowgirl’s Interesting Articles/Commentary

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Cowgirl is Angry

I have often laughed at the antics of Vetevendosje and their often brilliant ideas of how to get their point across like depositing a ribbon-wrapped toilet to the gate of the UN Mission HQ (now EULEX HQ) but after yesterday, the cowgirl is a bit angry.  I didn’t even really mind the last demonstration when Vetevendosje sprayed the UN with sewage water and threw rotting bags of garbage over the fence…but for me yesterday they crossed a line of decency.  So what has the cowgirl so worked up?  The defacing of the blast barrier outside the former UNMIK HQ that was so nicely decorated by the children of Kosovo and the international community!  If I was one of the youngsters who spent my International Children’s Festival day working my little heart away on my piece of the wall I would cry to see that Vetevendosje came along and spray-painted over my work of art.  The defacing of the children’s artwork demonstrates a clear lack of respect, not towards the UN or EULEX because we all know that it’s not there, but for the children of Kosovo whose art is now destroyed.  Vetevendosje, you should be ashamed of yourselves!

MTCowgirl’s Interesting Articles/Commentary

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

EULEX Delayed

EULEX has delayed its official start date rumored to be 9 December in supposed response to the massive demonstration called by Vetevendosje today.  Vetevendosje and several NGOs are preparing a cold welcome for EULEX due to the approval of the six-point proposal that Kosovo rejected and that EULEX will deploy under Resolution 1244 with a neutral status towards Kosovo’s independence.  Kosovo PM Thaci has stated that the EULEX mission would be debatable if it was not fully deployed in all of Kosovo from Day 1 and warned against non-deployment.

MTCowgirl’s Kosovo News