May 05th 2012 03:57:13 PM
A belated update to my blog “Albanians: We May Resort to Force if Serbs Hold Elections in Kosovo’s North; Washington: No Elections for Serbs in North” :
BELGRADE — Brussels and the U.S. are against holding of [Serbian] parliamentary elections in Kosovo…An attempt to hold the local elections at the same time as the parliamentary elections, on May 6, would almost certainly lead to cancelation of both, Blic writes.
…According to the current scenario, the parliamentary elections could be held and they would be monitored by OSCE.
“Brussels and the U.S. practically do not support any elections in Kosovo that would be organized by Belgrade but they will not allow the Kosovo government to be repressive if only the parliamentary elections are held,” Blic quoted its source as saying.
Priština will ban the elections called by Belgrade and the Kosovo assembly has even adopted a resolution banning the elections.
If Serbia decided to hold the local elections in Kosovo as well, the election material could be confiscated at administrative crossings, daily pointed out.
Belgrade has held parliamentary and presidential elections in Kosovo regularly since Serbian police and military withdrew from Kosovo in 1999 but the local elections were only held in 2008.
Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci has stated that Kosovo citizens who also have Serbian citizenship could vote in the parliamentary and presidential elections but only if they were organized by OSCE in the territory of Kosovo.
BELGRADE — The European Union and the United States exerted pressure on Socialist Party of Serbia (SPS) Ivica Dačić in order for local elections not to be held in Kosovo.
…[W]hile the request not to hold elections in Kosovo was sent to “several addresses of the authorities in Belgrade”, Dačić was “asked explicitly” due to Speaker Slavica Đukić-Dejanović’s party affiliation.
However, the speaker called local elections, while Dačić “refused that order”, writes Press, and adds that this came because the leader of the SPS “did not wish to betray Serbian national interests”.
Ivica Dačić confirmed the report on Monday, saying that EU and U.S. officials did exert pressure aimed against the holding of local elections in Kosovo, claiming this would not be in line with UN Security Council Resolution 1244.
Dačić stressed Serbia will respect Resolution 1244, but above all its Constitution, which has been the basis for calling elections in the past.
According to him, Serbia should call elections in its entire territory. “This does not jeopardize anyone,” he was quoted as saying.
Holding Serbian elections in Kosovo is unacceptable, because this jeopardizes the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Kosovo and contributes to the country’s destabilization, Kosovo President Atifeta Jahjaga said on March 20.
Jahjaga conveyed this message to UNMIK chief Farid Zarif at a meeting behind closed doors…. [Note that the UNMIIK chief is now a Muslim, or Arab sympathetic to same.]
“Any attempt by Serbia to organize any form of elections in Kosovo is a violation of international norms and laws and fundamental European tenets,” Jahjaga said.
On March 20, Kosovo Assembly Speaker Jakup Krasniqi told the Pristina RTV 21 station in an interview that if necessary, Kosovo’s institutions would use force to prevent Serbian elections in Kosovo on May 6. [No kidding!]
Krasniqi said the Kosovo Assembly had adopted a resolution that prohibits Serbian local and parliamentary elections in Kosovo and that “the resolution obliges the government to prevent any kind of illegal behavior that is contrary to the Constitution and laws of Kosovo.”
As Liz, who circulated this item, wrote:
“Atifete Jahjaga has been well-coached by Hillary….In their view, it was quite all right when they jeopardized the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Serbia by bombing that sovereign country for 78 days and nights, it was quite all right when they destabilized Serbia and stole a piece of its territory, and it was quite alright when they violated international norms and fundamental tenets. So, t’s OK when USA-NATO break laws all over the world, at will. And, they install and coach stooges like Jahjaga.”
Naturally, then: Local elections in Kosovo uncertain (April 3)
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA - Secretary for the state electoral commission Veljko Odalovic said Monday that a letter has been sent to UNMIK….Odalovic told Tanjug that the commission has still not had direct contact with UNMIK….State Secretary with the Ministry for Kosovo Oliver Ivanovic said he is concerned about UNMIK’s unclear position regarding Serbian elections in Kosovo.
“They said they cannot organize elections in this situation. This response is not clear enough and I expect it will be clarified in the period ahead,” he said. [UNMIK’s “unclear” pattern has been purposeful through the years, so that without any definitive decisions for these things, when Pristina does use the promised force, it can be justified and the rules made up ad hoc. Further, with confused parameters, the ensuing chaos is confusing enough that the public won’t understand what’s happening (as usual) and will stay out of the Kosovo fray (as usual), and Serbs can be painted as “wild” and “aggressive” (as usual), and the next stage of the Albanian usurpation can be advanced.]
Ivanovic said it is almost impossible to hold elections south of the Ibar without the help of UNMIK, and that if the UN, EU or some international organization respond negatively, holding the elections will certainly be a problem, which could lead to the Kosovo Interior Ministry “sending police, arresting people carrying election material, closing polls and detaining people.”
[Serbian] electoral commission spokesman Miodrag Petrovic told Tanjug that the commission does not have the legal authority to conduct local elections in Kosovo, and that they will be carried out by municipal commissions.
“When we conduct parliamentary elections, we need to have cooperation with UNMIK, and we have had this in the past, because organizing these elections is our legal obligation,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stressed Serbia would respect Resolution 1244, while UNMIK Head Farid Zarif has said Serbia will be violating the Resolution if it organizes local elections in Kosovo.
Zarif sent a letter to the Serbian government saying the UN mission can not organize local elections in Kosovo under the current conditions.
Last week Dacic confirmed that some EU and US officials have pressured Serbia not to hold local elections in Kosovo, because this would supposedly violate Resolution 1244.
…Head of Belgrade’s team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic confirmed for the daily Press on Monday that Serbian institutions will remain in Kosovo regardless of the election, noting that “local elections will probably not be held, because UNMIK has come out with a negative stance.”
Stefanovic added that Serbia does not want to violate Resolution 1244 “which guards our sovereignty in Kosovo.”
Is that Stefanovic buying into the definition of “1244 violation” by the very internationals who have been violating 1244 since its inception? Talk about not fulfilling obligations. FLASHBACK to March 30, 2000:
UN special envoy for human rights in former Yugoslavia [Jiri] Dienstbir said yesterday that UN provisional administration in Kosovo and KFOR “have failed to [fulfill] any of the set tasks” … “There is no revenge in Kosovo but very well organized policy of ethnic cleansing…. Except in Kosovska Mitrovica, in all other towns and villages there is almost no non-Albanian population”, Dienstbir said at news conference held at the Palace of Nations on Geneva.
So now you know why the north has to submit: so that it can look like the rest of Kosovo.
Not to mention that all this talk about local elections “violating” 1244 — as always merely the internationals parroting Albanian diktat — is based on the rule that any Serbian election held in Mafia-stan would have to be organized by UNMIK or Eulex, except that these two bodies don’t want to do it since in their minds — and in their sustained, frantic efforts toward same — Kosovastan is a separate, independent state. Which it isn’t. (90 countries is less than half of 193 UN members.) Selective interpretation has always been the name of the game. One has to ask also: How was it legitimate to hold local elections four years ago, but isn’t now? Kosovo was no less “independent” in 2008 than it is now, right?
Below, illustrating just how brain-warping Kosovo apparently is, we got the 1244-violation accusation from an international who, at the same time, is unbrainwashed enough to actually suggest the unsuggestible: autonomy for the north. (Recall that autonomy, like partition, used to be on the table, but the Albanians nixed it since the whole point is that they “dream of a Kosovo without Serbs.” But it seems some internationals — who haven’t yet heard that the threat of Albanian violence guides U.S.-led Kosovo policy — would still actually be puzzled to learn that autonomy too is out of the question.)
“Northern Kosovo should be autonomous” (March 20)
BELGRADE — The technical dialogue between Belgrade and Priština “should become more political”, said Carnegie Europe Endowment expert Stefan Lehne.
According to him, the current talks - sponsored by the EU and held in Brussels since last March - should be guided toward the issue of autonomy for northern Kosovo.
Now Lehne told Belgrade-based daily Politika that “although the technical dialogue of Belgrade and Priština has been productive, in order to achieve a significant improvement in relations, a more political and ambitious process is necessary”.
Lehne, a former envoy for the Balkans of former EU high representative Javier Solana, proposed…that the EU immediately name a special envoy who would direct the process…. “…A balance needs to be struck between the desire of the local population to control their own destiny and the fact that the region will still be part of Kosovo and will have to have ties with the authorities in Priština,” believes Lehne.
Asked if he expects new conditions will be put before Serbia before it can start accession talks with the EU, Lehne said important EU leaders have expressed the desire to see “parallel structures” abolished.
“Serbian President Boris Tadić’s proposal on regional autonomy in northern Kosovo is a way to solve the problem. An autonomous region in northern Kosovo would transform the structures into legitimate Kosovo institutions,” Lehne was quoted as saying.
Lehne said it was “contradictory” that Belgrade constantly refers to UN Security Council Resolution 1244, “and then violates it by calling local elections in Kosovo”. [Whatever.]
“An option to consider is to have an international body, for example OSCE, organize local elections as a special interim measure, until agreement is reached on northern Kosovo,” said Lehne.
Lehne was outdone, and outclassed, two weeks later: Former British ambassador backs Kosovo partition (April 8 )
Former British ambassador to Yugoslavia…Sir Ivor Roberts has stated that the partition of Kosovo would be the most logical solution, and that the territory north of the Ibar River should remain part of Serbia.
That would be some kind of fair solution, Roberts said in an interview for Sunday’s edition of Belgrade daily Politika. [Fair? Who claims to be interested in fair? Not the international overlords.]
Roberts believes that Kosovo is an unresolved issue, noting that less than half of the UN members have recognized it as an independent state, and that therefore it would be logical to make a new attempt to find a solution.
He thinks it would be utterly hypocritical to block Serbia’s EU accession before it recognizes the independence of its province, as Kosovo has not yet been recognized by certain EU countries.
The idea to ban the EU membership due to the unresolved border issue would keep not only Cyprus, but also Great Britain, Ireland, Spain, and Denmark out of the EU, said Roberts….”
But as we know, the international community is operating on the Serbia-only standard: what doesn’t apply to anyone else applies to Serbia.
And from Washington, a.k.a. Kosovo West, the prime minister underscored it:
Kosovo’s prime minister says integration is the only option he will accept for his country’s aggrieved Serb population.
Speaking after meetings with Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week, Hashim Thaci rejected calls for greater autonomy for Serb communities in Kosovo’s north.
He also said that he would never consider a territorial swap with Serbia as a solution.
“There will be no territorial swap, there will be no autonomy, no special favour,” he said. “There will be only integration.”
Mr Thaci said he would like to have Kosovo’s border open [of course he would, he’s a smuggler and smugglers like open borders], but he added: “There will be no change of the border.”
Kosovo’s leaders have been under pressure from the European Union to find ways to reduce tensions in northern Kosovo. Greater autonomy for Serbs as well as a land swap with Serbia have been suggested. But those options could spark a new series of border claims in the war-torn Balkans. [Sort of like the Kosovo secession did.]
Mr Thaci said that Mrs Clinton and Mr Biden had assured him that the United States wanted to see Kosovo’s territorial integrity maintained.
The meetings in Washington were a boost to Mr Thaci whose reputation has suffered from a 2009 European investigator’s probe that accused him of leading an organ trafficking ring. Mr Thaci has denied the charges.
Back to the election controversy. As always, ready to encourage the international community in its Albanian bought, bribed and bullied “resolve” to not give an inch to the Serbs, are all of those many “mysterious” “masked” men — kind of like the mysterious masked men who have resurfaced in recent months in marked and doomed Macedonia.
A little known formation calling itself the Albanian National Army has resurfaced and vowed to confront any Serbian-run elections held in Kosovo in May.
The Albanian National Army, ANA, a blacklisted organization in the US, has threatened to use force to stop Serbian polls from being held in Kosovo if the international community doesn’t prevent them.
The mysterious group, which seeks the unification of Kosovo with Albania [as do the rest of Albanians and U.S. officialdom], sent an email to Balkan Insight and other members of the press saying it had decided to reactivate its structures to protect Kosovo from another Serbian invasion. [Gotta love the language on that.]
“The headquarters of the Albanian National Army, at a meeting on March 17, has decided to reactivate all its military structures and confront with Serbia and its gangs in the Republic of Kosovo,” reads the message.
ANA, known in Albanian as AKSH (”Armata Kombëtare Shqiptare”) has been blacklisted as a terrorist organization by the US. [For now, and not really.]
Serbia announced last week that it was extending its local elections, due on May 6, to Kosovo.
This move was condemned by the Kosovo government and the international community as a violation of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country, which Belgrade does not recognize.
Uniformed ANA members have been seen periodically in Kosovo since the Kosovo conflict ended in 1999, and even filmed patrolling with arms. The group took responsibility for several bombing incidents in Kosovo since 1999.
AKSH/ANA said in its letter that it had ceased all activity when Kosovo declared independence in 2008, hoping that Kosovo would be left to progress by its northern neighbour.
“But for four years on [since independence], Serbia has not stopped its sabotage of the Republic of Kosovo,” the press release continues. “We ask you [the international community], before the war starts; intervene and prevent a Balkan war.”
Kosovo police said that they were “aware of the information,” and were dealing with the issue. Kosovo politicians have in the past dismissed ANA as a “phantom” organisation.
Which happens to have the same goals, opinions, vocabulary, and methods as Kosovo politicians — who themselves came from a once blacklisted organization known as KLA. Nothing “mysterious” here at all.
Belgrade Confirms Plans for Kosovo Vote (March 27)
Serbia is not giving up on its plans to hold parliamentary elections in Kosovo despite criticism from the international community, Serbian Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic said on Tuesday.
“We will continue our discussions with the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), OSCE, all relevant international factors, in order to secure unimpeded elections in Kosovo,” Bogdanovic told Belgrade-based daily Danas.
On March 13, days after Serbia became a candidate for EU membership, President Boris Tadic called for parliamentary elections to be held in Kosovo.
The head [of] UNMIK said in his reply…that “under present circumstances”, that mission could not organize the voting in Kosovo.
Serbia’s plans for elections in Kosovo may escalate hostilities in the region. Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi has said that police are preparing an operational plan to prevent Serbia from organizing the vote. [There it is.]
And here it is:
BELGRADE - April 2 - State Secretary with the Ministry of Justice Slobodan Homen urged Monday representatives of the Kosovo authorities to refrain from arresting innocent people to keep tension from escalating.
Homen told Tanjug that all steps have been taken to prevent further incidents violating Resolution 1244. “At a very sensitive time, when Serbia is trying to solve problems through diplomatic means, these provocations will not contribute to a better dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina,” said Homen. “We call on the Kosovo institutions to refrain from using force and arresting innocent people in order to avoid an unnecessary rise in tensions,” Homen said in his statement for Tanjug.
On March 25, the Kosovo police arrested five Serbs from Kosovsko Pomoravlje who were carrying material for the local election which are set for May 6 but which the Kosovo government is trying to prevent.
The court ruled to convert the initial two months in custody to house arrest with daily contact with the nearest police station. They are suspected of undermining Kosovo’s constitutional system.
BELGRADE - Belgrade’s lead negotiator in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said Wednesday that today’s attack on the secretary of the Belgrade negotiating team in Kosovo was a criminal act, and was evidently an organized attempt by extreme Albanian actors to influence the elections in Serbia.
In a statement for Tanjug, Stefanovic said that the attack on Pavicevic and vehicles of the Serbian government that went to Kosovo and Metohija today to discuss the implementation of the agreements reached in Brussels was only one of three attacks against the Serbs that took place in Kosovo the same day.
“It is obvious that it was an organized attack. This is just one of the provocations coming from the extreme Albanian factor….” [By limiting his criticism to the “extreme” Albanian elements, Stefanovic is being diplomatic, since he knows that there is no substantive difference between “extreme” Albanians and moderate ones.]
Stefanovic said that this was yet another attempt to destroy the negotiating process, the peaceful resolution of outstanding issues and the implementation of agreements from Brussels.
“This is evidence of how much Pristina really cares about the dialogue, the agreements and their implementation. Such behavior is totally unacceptable and shows what it means to ‘live together’ in Kosovo and Metohija,” said Stefanovic. […]
BRUSSELS - EU facilitator for the talks between Belgrade and Pristina Robert Cooper condemned on Thursday…the attack on the Serbian delegation convoy in Pristina that occurred on Wednesday….Such an act is not in the spirit of dialogue, he pointed out, adding that the delegation was part of the work group for the implementation of the agreements reached in the EU facilitated talks.
Two vehicles with members of a Serbian government delegation were stoned in Pristina on Wednesday…One member of the delegation was injured lightly in the incident.
Bloggers argue [that] statements from Belgrade and Pristina are calculated to avoid organising local elections in the Serbian enclaves in Kosovo on May 6th.
Many Kosovo Serbs want to vote in the upcoming May 6th Serbia elections.
The international community has opposed the idea. “Due to circumstances on the ground, UNMIK will not be able to organise local elections in Kosovo,” UNMIK chief Farid Zarif’s office said in a statement.
Serbian officials promptly modified their position, saying they are negotiating with UNMIK as required by UN Resolution 1244 but have not reached an agreement yet.
“If there are problems and it is determined there is risk in holding the local elections, at a minimum the parliamentary elections will be held,” Parliament Speaker Slavica Dejanovic-Djukic said.
[Analyst Dejan Vuk Stankovic] noted that should Belgrade [choose] to organise elections in Kosovo, it would cause a conflict with Brussels, which would strain the EU integration process that Serbian officials so value. [Like a horse values a carrot. Note it says “Serbian officials so value.” Not necessarily the Serbian public.]
Kosovo Serb MP Rada Trajkovic argued that failing to hold local elections in Kosovo will not be an issue if the outcome does not weaken Serbian institutions there.
“Everything we see — the discussions, the threats from Pristina, demands from Belgrade — appears to be a synchronised, agreed-on communication that should result in not having local elections here,” Trajkovic said.
“That would not be a big problem unless we all know that with the withering of our [local] institutions, usually the people wither away too, because the Kosovo institutions are not ready to adequately accept Serbs, nor have the institutional capacity to accept those Serbs who worked in the institutions,” she added. […]
The upshot to all of this is that there will in fact be elections tomorrow, handled by OSCE, but only national and not local ones:
Ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo can vote in Serbia’s upcoming parliamentary and national elections under a deal brokered this week by regional peacekeepers.
The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia announced Tuesday that OSCE workers and EU-sponsored police would be allowed to oversee Sunday’s elections and deter potential clashes with ethnic Albanians.
Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic has accused the Albanian-dominated Kosovo government of planning to foment disruptions in a bid to prevent the ethnic Serbs from voting.
Oliver Ivanovic, the Serbian state secretary for Kosovo, said OSCE personnel alone would be allowed to handle the ballots under the deal.
Only voting for Serbian national races will be allowed — not local elections as sought by Belgrade.
“In keeping with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, there will be no local elections in Kosovo and Metohija,” Ivanovic told Tanjug. “This resolution also envisages that (U.N. peacekeepers) have the right to gradually transfer their competencies to Kosovo’s institutions, which it has been doing in the recent years.”
OSCE Secretary-General Lamberto Zannier said preventing ethnic violence will be his group’s foremost task during the polling.
“The OSCE has begun its preparations to organize polling stations to enable eligible voters in Kosovo to exercise their right to vote in these elections,” he said. “I call on all to refrain from provocation and to allow the voting to proceed in an orderly and peaceful manner.”
The United States also praised the deal.
“Given the short time until the elections, we expect both Serbia and Kosovo authorities to cooperate fully with the OSCE and the OSCE Mission in Kosovo to ensure that the agreement can be successfully implemented in a safe and secure environment for all,” U.S. State Department spokesman Mark Toner said. [That “safe and secure environment” mantra which our National Guard troops” recite usually means more dead Serbs. Let’s hope it’s not a harbinger this time.]
The elections have prompted NATO to beef up its contribution to the KFOR international peacekeeping presence in Kosovo as EULEX is seeing its resources stretched.
NATO said this week it has begun deploying more than 700 soldiers to Kosovo at the request of KFOR Commander Erhard Drews.
“We need to consider the legitimate rights of the Serbs in the north, but at the same time we need to respect the law which bans the holding of local elections, due to the fact Kosovo is a sovereign country,” KFOR German contingent commander Col. Bernd Holthusen told the Pristina daily Koha Ditore.
Which, again, it isn’t.
Brussels. The NATO chief Friday urged “restraint” this weekend when tens of thousands of Kosovo Serbs with dual citizenship [What?!] vote in the Serbian parliamentary and presidential elections, AFP reported.
“I strongly urge all leaders and all communities to show restraint during the voting process,” Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said ahead of the Sunday ballot.
“In this critical period, it is important to avoid any unilateral actions or statements that can raise tensions,” he said, calling on both Pristina and Belgrade “to continue cooperating with the international community in order to ensure a calm and peaceful vote.”
Serbia still considers the territory its southern province. The Serb majority in northern Kosovo has announced it would also organise local polls, but both Belgrade and Pristina rejected the plan as unacceptable.
Note especially the Middle East standard in terms of the language being used by the mediators: “We call on both sides to show restraint…” And just as with the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, so it is here: Only one side is restrained. And while the other does as it pleases, it creates the new reality for the other side to accede to, urged along by the internationals, of course.
Topping the whole thing off was a TIME.com propaganda piece today to, as always, make the job of world governments easier in pulling Kosovo wool over public eyes. Naturally, the magazine interviewed the organ-trafficking prime minister, to answer the question “Can Voting Be an Act of Aggression?”
Voting is otherwise always a laudable thing in the enlightened eyes of entities like TIME, but sure enough the first time an exception is made and voting is suddenly bad, it’s when the Serbs are doing the voting.
Voting as the aggressive act, rather than the ethnic cleansing, war-making, and murdering that brought us to a point where the last breathing Serbs in Kosovo are desperately trying to stay breathing by reinforcing their ancient, universally long recognized Serbian citizenship.