Balkans: February 17, 2005


: The political maneuvering over "Who owns Kosovo?" continues. Despite the "NATO victory" in the Kosovo War and the presence of UN troops, the key question of Kosovo' s sovereignty remains unanswered. On February 13 Serbia's president, Boris Tadic, gave a speech inside Kosovo. Speaking to Kosovar Serbs in one of the "Serb enclaves" Tadic said that independence for Kosovo was "unacceptable" to Serbia. Those are regarded as "fighting words" by many Kosovar Albanians. However, Tadic was also quoted as later saying: "...we have a history of hate and destruction in the Balkans, including Kosovo, and it must stop..." At the moment politics trumps war. Diplomats are literally betting on time and peace --enough time passing with just enough peace so that the "history of hate" Tadic mentions fades in favor of a political settlement that protects minority rights. That means international peacekeepers and police will be on duty in Kosovo for several more years. (Austin Bay)


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