The tension in the Balkans has gone up yet another notch. According to a report by the Associated Press yesterday, Serbia threatened to impose an economic and travel blockade on Kosovo if the province declares independence. Serbia also warned — ominously — that “bloody confrontations” could await Kosovo if it declares independence, and that any country who recognizes Kosovo independence will have to “bear the consequences” for “whatever will follow.”
Apparently, Serbia has made these statements as a “last-ditch attempt” to negotiate a settlement.
Hmmm. Where has Serbia learned its negotiating tactics from, a rabid dog? And does Serbia understand that it is the dog that wags the tail, not the tail that wags the dog?
Serbia’s statements do nothing to come closer to a solution and do nothing to ease the tension in the Balkans. Serbia has again irresponsibly placed a gas tank on top of a fire. Statements of national unity against Kosovo only go to incite elements in the Serbian community that want to do harm.
Serbia’s actions during this negotiation process shows the validity of the old saying: when you are in a hole, stop digging. Serbia, though, is digging and digging itself deeper into “you-are-never-going-to-join-the-EU-with-such-behavior-and-go-ahead-join-Russia-if-you-want-land.” By doing so, Serbia has shown what the world already knows: that underneath that velvet glove is a misguided, backward, and iron fist.
Great behavior, Serbia! Do you really think Kosovo will now trust being your autonomous province? Do you see why so many countries are going to recognize Kosovo independence? Do you realize what you are doing to the reasonable people of Serbia? Do you like the Dark Ages?
I guess I’ll ask this to you Serbia: what the hell planet are you on?
As talks deadlock, Serbia threatens blockades if Kosovo declares independence
William J. Kole (Associated Press)
BADEN, Austria — Serbia threatened to impose an economic and travel blockade on Kosovo if the breakaway province declares independence, as a last-ditch attempt to negotiate a settlement deadlocked and appeared doomed to fail.
“Hopefully, in a time not too long from now, we will be able to take our decision,” Kosovo’s president, Fatmir Sejdiu, told reporters in the Austrian spa town of Baden, where the closed-door talks at a castle hotel wrap up Wednesday. Sejdiu shrugged off Serbia’s fierce opposition to statehood for Kosovo, saying the province “will not be held hostage” to those who object.
As the talks mediated by the U.S., European Union and Russiahit what looked like an insurmountable stalemate, there were ominous statements from the Serbian side suggesting ugly and possibly bloody confrontations could await Kosovo if it declares independence unilaterally as many expect. Serbia will impose a “complete economic and travel blockade” of Kosovo, including cutting off electricity supplies to the province and banning ethnic Albanians and their goods from crossing the borders, a high-ranking Serbian official told The Associated Press in Belgrade on Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the issue.
In Baden, Serbia’s minister for Kosovo, Slobodan Samardzic, said Serbia would respond “like any country in Europe would react if its borders would be in danger.” And Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said: “Whoever decides to make such a unilateral act will have to bear the consequences for whatever will follow.”
Serbian President Boris Tadic insisted there was room to compromise and offered Kosovo self-governance, which the Albanian side rejected. “The way these negotiations started, they must end, and that is in the U.N. Security Council,” said Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica. He denounced any unilateral declaration of independence as “completely unacceptable” and a violation of international law.
Critics, including Russia — an ally of Serbiathat insists the U.N. Security Council have the final say on Kosovo’s future — contend a unilateral declaration of independence would plunge the Balkans back into turmoil and set a dangerous precedent for other separatist movements worldwide. Kostunica said his government would swiftly pronounce Kosovo’s statehood “null and void, illegal, which it is.” Asked about specific punitive measures under consideration, he said only: “If it happens, you’ll see.”
Hashim Thaci, a former rebel leader who is Kosovo’s incoming new prime minister, played down the chances of renewed violence. “No more war, no more killing, no more violence in the region — that is our commitment,” he said.