A War Of Words . . . But What Will Follow?

Kosovo’s Prime Minister, Hashim Thaci, finally broke his silence with regard to the recent inflammatory comments by government officials in both Serbia and Russia about Kosovo’s independence. thaci.jpg Thaci vowed that Kosovo will guard every “inch” of its territory — clearly referring to the heavily disputed area of North Mitrovica.  Obviously, though, that is easier said than done.  

Indeed, a showdown is in the making.  Will NATO and KFOR force the issue in North Mitrovica?  Or will the international community let sleeping dogs lie and let North Mitrovica essentially be a no-man’s zone?  As of now, the ball is in Serbia’s court.  If Serbia keeps the status quo, I think the answer will lie in the decision to make no decision about North Mitrovica.  However, if Serbia takes affirmative steps to establish itself in North Mitrovica, then a likely showdown between Serbia and the international community will come to fruition.  In the end, a test of diplomatic will and skill will be demonstrated . . . or not.

Serbia, for their part, promised to sue all countries that have recognized Kosovo’s independence.  Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica promised to turn the dispute into a legal “minefield” (interesting choice of words, Kostunica).   In light of their lawsuit, Serbia’s Branislav Ristivojevic warned the United States — and by extension all other countries — to annul their recognition of Kosovo’s independence.  I assume that if the United States and other countries annul their recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Serbia will withdraw the lawsuit. 

Good luck with that.  I’m on the edge of my seat. 

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci vowed Tuesday to guard jealously every “inch” of its territory, as Serbia threatened to sue the United States for recognising a “phoney state.”  “We will never allow Kosovo’s territorial integrity, which has been internationally recognised, to be jeopardised,” Thaci told reporters on a visit to Racak, the scene of a massacre by Serb security forces in 1999 which prompted a NATO air war on Serbia in defence of the ethnic Albanian community.

The authorities were in “permanent touch” with the UN mission in the former Serbian province and also cooperating with NATO-led peacekeepers (KFOR) deployed in the territory, he said. With the rhetoric nearing fever pitch, an advisor to Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica threatened to turn the dispute into a legal minefield, the Beta news agency reported.” Since this outgoing US administration has recognized the phoney state of Kosovo, Serbia’s charges will follow,” Branislav Ristivojevic told Beta.

Ristivojevic said “it would be best for the (present US) administration to annul the decision to recognise the phoney state, or for the new administration to do it immediately” after America’s November presidential elections. “If the US does not annul this decision, than we will file suits against America before all international courts,” Ristivojevic told Beta.

Meanwhile, more than 1,000 Kosovo Serbs rallied on Tuesday in a 10th consecutive day of protests in the ethnically-divided northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica. Hundreds of Serbs also clashed with police outside the US consulate in their Bosnian stronghold of Banja Luka. Six people including four policemen were injured with a teenager suffering serious head injuries, a hospital official said. Police detained 20 of the demonstrators including 15 minors, spokeswoman Bojana Gasovic said.

After a five-hour National Security Council meeting, Serbian officials insisted “all those taking part in (all) violence must be identified with necessary justice measures taken.” However, Tanjug news agency said the meeting “praised” the police and “the way they conducted their activities during all protests in Serbia.”

Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic will come face to face for the first time with Kosovo representation in round-table talks on Wednesday and Thursday in Bulgaria.  Despite important energy deals with Russia, economic insecurity is beginning to bite, going by Economy Minister Mladjan Dinkic comments Tuesday.

“At the moment, foreign investors do not consider Serbia as a heaven for financial investment,” Dinkic told reporters.

Quoted article can be found here.


4 thoughts on “A War Of Words . . . But What Will Follow?

  1. Mr. Cheeseburger,
    Not sure what can or will happen in Mitrovica. I believe that the russian military is in the Northern part of Mitrovica protecting Serbs, and of course to keep an eye on NATO troops. If my memory serves me correctly that part of Mitrovica is rich for mining. I really don’t think that Hashim Thaci should be so inflammatory with his rhetoric. He should device some sort of forward moving plan to lower tensions between Serbs and Albanians now that they are independent, even though the Serbs and Russians do not recognize this yet. Maybe try to figure out ways to ensure Serb safety inside Kosova. Try to reach out to the Serbs. Probable just a crazy thought, but oh well life is crazy.

  2. Dear Kru,

    Thanks for your comments.

    First, you are correct that north Mitrovica is rich in mining. A lot of money has been made and will be made there.

    Second, you are absolutely right of the danger of Thaci making inflammatory remarks. He is Kosovo’s leader and in Kosovo, people follow their leader, especially when it comes to such a contentious issue like independence. Your thought is definitely not “crazy.” In fact, your thoughts are critical. The issue, though, is whether he has a willing audience. . .

    Mr. Cheeseburger 9000

  3. Mr. Cheeseburger,
    I doubt very much he has a willing audience. People do not forget that easily. I can remember speaking with some Kosovars probable around September of 99. My interpreter and some others. I asked a question something like “Why not try to make amends with the Serbian people that are left in Kosova now that you guys have the upper hand?” This was of course a ignorant question to ask these people after they had just suffered so much. It was similar to Richard Gear getting up after 9/11 and speaking about compassion towards those who did wrong to us. It did not go over very well. I think the one person that would have been brave enough to seek reconciliation with the Serbs would have been Rugova. He was such an intelligent leader. Someone I feel has to take this position in Kosova (the high ground). There is nothing to be found by taking the low ground except the continuation of hatred. Mr. Thaci needs to think about the future of Kosova. How does Kosova move forward now that they are independent? I would think by speaking of what Kosovo/a needs to become. A place where all peoples are respected and have the same rights. I now that is a dream, but dreams have to start somewhere. Look the dream in the United States is not even yet realized, but it was started by Martin Luther King.
    My Best Kru

  4. The fact is unfortuned that Serbs don’t recognise the diplomatic language. And their mother country Russia too.

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