Monday, February 20, 2006

Talks begin on....the status of Kosovo Serbs?

As many people have predicted, talk are being focused on the status of Kosovo Serbs not the actual status of Kosovo. It's looking more and more every day that the status of Kosovo has already been decided and what remains to be resolved is the status of Serb minority. I think the Serb delegation will be brought before a finished act at the end of THE Talks. How will they react when they realise it? I think much depends what happens with Montenegro. If Montenegro seperates it will be much easier for Serbia to let Kosovo go.

VIENNA, BELGRADE -- Monday - On the heals of the UN Envoy Martti Ahtisaari’s statements yesterday that Kosovo will gain independence, the first official meeting of the status discussions between the Serbian and Albanian delegations began today in Vienna. Some of the topics today were education, health and cultural autonomy in the region of Kosovo. According to B92’s sources, the main problems in the education and health discussions is that the Serbs would like to see the community municipalities preside over the administrative system, while the Albanians are demanding that the Ministries remain in charge. As their main argument, the Serbian side is reminding the Albanian negotiators that they had parallel health and educational institutions as well. The main topic of today’s discussions was as announced; decentralization. The talks began with the two sides separately meeting that Ahtisaari.

Although the meeting was supposed to be of simple protocol, it was hard for the Belgrade team to not say anything after the statement’s that Ahtisaari made over the weekend. B92’s Vienna correspondent Jelena Aleksic said that the discussions are taking place in a conference room where the teams are facing each other, sitting around “P” shaped desks with Ahtisaari’s deputy envoy, Albert Roan, sitting in between the two delegations and leading the talks. The morning meeting was opened by Roan, after which the Serbian and Albanian teams had 20 minutes each for opening arguments. Discussion began afterwards, where both delegations discussed their strategies for decentralization.

The largest discrepancy in the decentralization discussions revolves around the timeframe. The Serbian side believes that decentralization should be implemented as soon as possible, while the Albanian side believes that decentralization can take place only after a solution for Kosovo’s status is agreed upon. The optimism of the Albanian negotiators was obvious from the beginning. Their team chief, Local Self-Administrations Minister Ljufti Haziri said that his delegation is prepared to cooperate. “We will fully cooperate. Today we focused on the agenda and jurisdiction. We want to see results as soon as possible. Independence is nearing, and we are playing a positive role.” Haziri said. The discussions tomorrow will include police and judiciary issues. More detailed information regarding the talks is expected tomorrow, when both sides, along with international officials, will hold press conferences. B92


julia said...

If the "Serb delegation will be brought before a finished act at the end of the talks", why do they participate then? Cf. my comments in my blog on SEE and EU-integration.

Balkan Update said...

I did see your comment.Intersting take!

The reason they participate is simple and two fold:
First, they don't have a choice. What do you think the International Community will do if Serbs refuse to take part in the so called "talks”? Is there anything to stop the U.S and U.K from recognizing the Independence of Kosovo? Me think not. Do you remember talks before the War? The Serb delegation refused to attend the Paris talks towards the end and they kept sending low level delegation with no authority to make decision. What happened is that Serbia got bombed, and that's when they lost Kosovo.

The second reason they attend these talk is to get compensated as much as possible. They figure maybe they can snatch a few towns from Kosovo or in a worst case scenario they want to get as much privileges as possible for Serbs living in Kosovo and also for the Serbian Church.

The Serb delegation knows they cannot return Kosovo to Serbia's control. These people are not fools. They are banking on the fact that the International Community will sympathize with them when it comes to the rights of Kosovo Serbs living in Independent Kosovo. The International community does indeed want the Kosovo Serbs to have all the rights that all other minorities have, but they also want Serbia to stop using and abusing K. Serbs as their pawns.

The way it's shaping up to be is that the negotiators will hammer out a series of agreements about local issues, and in the end EU and US will tell Serbia to accept Independent Kosovo. Serbia will probably refuse and they will most likely be isolated for a year and two until new elections are held and a new government comes to power.

There really is that there is nothing to be negotiated when it comes to Kosovo. Neither Serbs nor Albanians will budge from their position. So why bother and negotiate? The advantage Albanians have is that they already have what they want- Kosovo is rules and controlled by the Kosovo government. The chances that Serbia will get to rule Kosovo again are slim to none. Whether this is fair, right or just doesn’t matter- all it matter is that this is the actual reality and everyone has to live by it.
By the way you have a nice Blog,