Saturday, May 22, 2004

Decentralizing Kosovo


Without Milosevic, the Serbs have returned to being a nasty bunch of arrogant nationalists. According to an ISN report, the Serbian government plans to carve up Kosovo in order to reintroduce Serbian ethnic dominance in many areas:
The plan foresees, at a minimum, the creation of five Serbian autonomous districts, which would in effect be all but independent of Kosovo itself. More ambitiously, however, it also suggests that while it may not now be possible for displaced Serbs to return to areas where they once lived, then they should be given “just compensation”. It says that these Serbs should be “entitled to parts of the territory that links in a natural way Serb-dominated settlements, in which previously they did not make up a majority…” The fact that the Serbian plan aims, in effect, to carve out a very large area of territory for a very small number of Kosovo Serbs, is one reason why it has received a mixed reception from Western policymakers at best. Albanian leaders have, of course, just rejected it out of hand.

The negotiations, however, are moving more toward decentralization as a means of balancing existing ethnic elements:
The Kosovo Albanians, who dominate Kosovo’s government, or as it is officially called the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government, will be given more competences, while in exchange they will have to move to allow some form of Serbian local self-government.

Report author Tim Judah notes that both Serbains and Albanians did not attend talks in Switzerland over their own status.


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