Balkans: The Restless Guns of Kosovo


November 8, 2005: In Kosovo, a Czech peacekeeper was wounded when his unit tried to stop a gun battle between two Albanian gangs.

November 4, 2005: Serbia and Montenegro reached a new agreement with NATO that allows NATO peacekeeping missions to transit Serb and Montenegrin territory. This may not seem like a big issue, but it has been inside Serbia. Many Serbs still dislike NATO and the 1999 intervention in Kosovo-- to say nothing of NATO bombing Serbia. There are a number of Serb and Montenegrin politicians, however, who know the long-term game is integration with Western Europe. The Serb military has voiced an interest in joining NATO-lite: the Partnership For Peace (PFP) program.

October 31, 2005: UN spokesmen are saying the NATO needs to keep troops in Kosovo. UNMIK and Kosovo's own security forces are not in control of some "armed groups." These include Albanian Kosovar militant groups and Balkan smuggling gangs. The UN will convene negotiations on a final settlement of Kosovo's status. Will it be independent, remain part of Serbia, or will it continue as a UN protectorate? The betting is Kosovo will become independent, but with "restrictions and requirements." Restrictions include size of military forces. Requirements include cooperation in controlling organized crime and fighting terrorist groups. NATO still has around 17,000 troops and personnel in Kosovo.




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