Saturday, October 29, 2005

Kosovo partition would lead to disintegration of Macedonia

Here is a commentary by a Macedonian Albanian that says if Kosovo Serbs attain autonomy in Kosovo, Albanians in Macedonia could also request autonomy, given that their share of the Macedonian population is "three times higher" than the percentage of Serbs in Kosovo. The only option that would prevent Macedonia's disintegration is thus "official recognition of the independence of Kosovo", the paper argues.

Bashkim Muca

Skopje[Shkup]-Macedonia-According to a well-established view that has been around for some time, the first thing that would happen in case of the partition of Kosova [Kosovo] would be the disintegration of Macedonia. If we are to believe this implication, then it also follows that the international community, rather than being concerned about a unified Kosova, is trying to preserve the stability and integrity of Macedonia, which could escalate to a major problem (it could become a second Bosnia-Hercegovina) if the whole game were to begin all over again. Ranked by their importance for the developments in Kosova, Macedonia is not far behind Albania and Serbia. But the key issue that puts Macedonia in the first place is that it is the crucial balancing factor for the preservation of a unified Kosova. Even if Albanians were to agree with Serbs on the partition of Kosova, I have the impression that the international community would not allow it, because it believes that there could never be a unified Macedonia without a unified Kosova. The problem of preserving the unity of Kosova is linked to a much more important problem: that of preserving the unity of Macedonia, in which a great deal has been invested.

All "fences"

The option of Kosova's partition, apart from its immediate implications for Macedonia, would create conditions for a new reconfiguration of the Balkans. The fact that this is something that the Serbs want, has made it something that Albanians will always oppose, even though the outcome might not have been so disadvantageous to them even if they had to give up Trepca [mine in northern Kosovo], which is considered a very important resource. Based on the concept of the nation-state, which is still a prevalent concept in the Balkans (it is thought more stable than multiethnic states), Albanian political quarters have often wondered why they have to strive to be governed or share government with others in areas where they make up the majority population. [Passage omitted]

One of the key arguments that the Serbs have been using against the independence of Kosova is that they cannot agree to the formation of two Albanian states in the region. Here, the Albanians would have a ready fallback option which would lead to the disintegration of Macedonia.

Albanians should have worked openly in their decisionmaking offices on the option of partition of Kosova, which would have had Serbian support (Albanians and Serbs cannot be enemies for ever). This option would never enjoy the support of the international community, but it could serve as a form of pressure against it [the international community], given that such plans would enjoy the support of Albanians as well as Serbs. This would persuade the international community of two things: that the partition of Kosova was out of the question and that the Kosova Serbs should not enjoy any autonomy in Kosova (let us remember that this, too, is a Serbian project). I believe that the least that Serbia expects to get is a special status for the northern part of Kosova, thus creating initially a ditch and, later, an imaginary border with the hope of seceding that part in the future, when a favourable moment may arise as a result of internal problems in Kosova. However, the issue of Macedonia would again emerge on the scene.

Most functional option

Given that the Albanians in Macedonia account for a percentage of the overall population that is three times bigger than the percentage that the Serbs account for in Kosova, in accordance with the traditional Balkan mentality autonomy for the Kosova Serbs would lead to a similar demand by the Albanians in Macedonia, thus invalidating the Oher [Ohrid] Agreement. The reasoning is simple: if the Serbs refuse to live as a minority in a common state with Albanians, then Albanians, too, do not have to accept such a thing in Macedonia.

If we are to apply the rule of elimination to find a balanced solution for Kosova, then the conclusion is clear: the option of partition of Kosova is automatically ruled out if we want to preserve the integrity of Macedonia. Second, the option of autonomy for the Kosova Serbs should be counterbalanced with the demand for a different status for the Albanians in Macedonia, which should be much stronger than that of the Kosova Serbs (some kind of republic). In that case, the demands of the Montenegro Albanians for a more favourable status in that country and for a special status for the Presheve [Presevo] Valley Albanians should also be taken into consideration. So this option would have to be ruled out, too. So, it is clear that the only option is a united Kosova. In that case, there are two options: Kosova's return under Serbia, or independence for Kosova. Given that any intermediate solution is hard to imagine - not just for the Kosova citizens but also for the whole of Europe - the last option that has to be ruled out is the return of Kosova under the Serbian protectorate. This means that the only remaining option is the one that takes Europe into Kosova and Kosova into Europe. This is official recognition of the process of independence of Kosova with the support and supervision of the Euro-American factor.

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