Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Kosovo and NATO: Never Ending Story?

The Kosovo problem never really goes away, it just lingers. Resident Serb and Albanian residents mix like oil and water, especially if outside forces keeping stirring things up/ So now, Balkan Insight reports NATO Vows to Prevent Violence in North Kosovo
The Commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force in Naples, Admiral James Fogo, has said that NATO is ready to react if violent incidents erupt in the Serb-majority north of Kosovo – after a leading Serbian Orthodox cleric in Kosovo, Abbot Sava Janjic, warned of the risk of “staged” violence there.

“Political leaders are trying to solve some difficult issues; not everyone agrees in democracies,” Fogo said on Wednesday during a tour of NATO sites in Kosovo, Kossev news website quoted.

“Some people tend to take their disagreements onto the street. I strongly recommend that they do not do it or, if they do, to do it peacefully, as in all civilized democracies,” Fogo added.

With its peacekeeping force KFOR, NATO would remain a support for the institutions of Kosovo “in maintaining a safe and secure environment during this month and in the months of the rest of the year”, Fogo continued.

Fogo’s statement comes after the Abbot of the famous Visoki Decani monastery posted on social network accounts that he was worried by rumours of potentially staged clashes in northern Kosovo, designed to lead to a rapid partition of the territory.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic called Janjic’s tweets “meaningless gossip”, however, dismissing talk of staged clashes designed to speed up an ethnic partition of Kosovo.

“This is empty talk. We will lead a policy of peace and stability. I am committed to not one person from north or south [of Kosovo] suffering,” Vucic told Pink TV, adding that Serbia would protect Orthodox monasteries and churches in Kosovo, “as well those in which Janjic is”.

However, Janjic’s warning has chimed with a feeling of unease in northern Kosovo, stimulated by rumours of a partition arrangement that would pave the way for Serbia’s recognition of an independent Kosovo.
NATO’s Fogo pointed out that KFOR has more than enough peacekeepers to deal with any disturbances, however.

“The 4,000 [NATO soldiers] who remain within the territory and on the administrative lines of Kosovo are supported, as we call them, with rapid reaction forces. So, if there is a need, they will respond, and NATO is very, very strong both inside and outside of Kosovo,” Fogo said.

The mainly ethnic Albanian former province declared its independence from Serbia in 2008.

However, the far north of the country, including the northern half of the town of Mitrovica, remains under the effective control of Belgrade.

While Serbia refuses to recognise Kosovo as a state, it has had to take part in EU-mediated talks with the authorities in Pristina aimed at normalising relations, in order to pursue its goal of EU membership.

Moreover, as Serbia’s EU integration advances, pressure is growing on Belgrade to finally resolve its relations with the breakaway former province, which most EU members recognised a decade ago.

Combined with this pressure, talk of an exchange of territories – swapping Albanian-majority areas in southern Serbia for Serb-majority ones in northern Kosovo – has again arisen among some Serbian and Kosovo politicians, although never raised officially.nic

On May 11, Serbia’s nationalistic Orthodox Church pleaded with the Belgrade government neither to recognise Kosovo’s independence nor agree to any exchange of territory.
Sectarian and perceived ethnic differences in a small relatively isolated "country" with a "war" ("humanitarian intervention") that started 20 years ago and smolders on and on and on.

Kosovo's main function seems to be as a "money pit" for the EU which has dumped over 3 billion Euros in an attempt to promote "Kosovo’s institutions, sustainable economic development and Kosovo’s European future." NATO's presence in Kosovo also has incurred costs over the past 19 years.

Not working out so well, apparently. But follow the money and the power grabs and you can see what is behind the curtains:
Corruption in Kosovo poses high risks for companies operating or planning to invest in the country. A lack of transparency and accountability in Kosovo’s public administration results in widespread corruption and negatively affects the investment climate. The judiciary, customs, public utilities and procurement sectors are the most affected by corruption. While anti-corruption laws are strong, the judicial system is inefficient, leading to poor enforcement. Active and passive bribery, extortion, money laundering and abuse of office are prohibited by Kosovo’s Criminal Code, while facilitation payments are not addressed. According to Kosovan law, all gifts received by public officials should be declared and registered. Notwithstanding, the practices of offering gifts and bribery are common in Kosovo.
Oh, joy, another kleptocracy.

Not to mention that former comrade Putin doesn't mind diverting NATO attention by supporting the Serbs, which is not a new Russian policy, but a long-standing tradition that almost caused the Kosovo war to get much bigger under General Wes Clark,

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