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Kosovo’s dire need to change strategy in its quest for international legitimacy

Kosovo should adopt an offensive rather than defensive diplomatic strategy and apply to as many international organizations as it can. Even if these endeavors fail, Kosovo has nothing to lose.

Kosovo recently pulled out from two attempts to gain further international legitimation. One is its planned application to INTERPOL, which Kosovo withdrew with the advice of the United States.

Second is the re-application to UNESCO, which Kosovo planned to do but preemptively aborted on the grounds that the “pragmatic postponement” is based on “full and close coordination with the US and other Quint countries.”

Apart from the dubious official statements, Kosovo’s defensive, skeptical, and hesitant diplomatic policy towards gaining membership in international organizations remains inexplicable.

Kosovo should adopt a more offensive diplomatic policy regarding its international legitimation. Kosovo should apply to as many international organizations as it can, regardless of the propensity to gain membership. The main principle of this approach should be that being refused membership by other sovereign nations is much better than refusing yourself the sovereign right to apply for membership. In any application that is submitted, there always remains some (even if a slight) chance of success. With any application that is withdrawn, there remains nothing but sure failure to gain membership. Understanding that this is not as simple as it sounds here, especially when taking into account that Kosovo may be advised by its key western partners not to apply, I will consider some possible scenarios, and the possible remedies.

Let us discuss a recent examples by asking, what if Kosovo actually pursued its applications to INTERPOL, UNESCO, or even the UN for a non-member observer status this fall? Given the advice by one or more of the Quint states, and the lack of votes that would most probably have followed, the most predictable answer is that Kosovo would not have gained membership in any of these organizations. Now the question is: so, what?

Kosovo’s foreign policy circles and the general public should not be dramatic about lack of votes from sponsors (i.e. the Quint). Kosovo should learn to accept and respect every nation’s sovereign right to decide on Kosovo’s admission or non-admission inside the family of states, be that in the UN or other international organizations and agencies. Every nation, including Kosovo’s sponsors, have their own (public or private) interests to serve, and these interests do not, and will not, always coincide with Kosovo’s interests. For instance, in an attempt to halt Palestine’s membership in INTERPOL, the US asked Kosovo not to apply in the same agency, so that the US can be successful in preventing Palestine’s membership. Other Quint states may have similar or other reasons to advocate against Kosovo now or in the future.

By suggesting Kosovo to withdraw its applications, the US or other Quint states may have tried to be nice to Kosovo, by preventing any appearance that even Kosovo’s own sponsors are not supporting the new state’s membership in international organizations. I suggest that this does not necessarily have to be viewed as such either by Quint states or Kosovo. The Quint’s explicit no-vote can in fact be tactically utilized in covering some of Kosovo’s diplomatic gaps.

It is no secret that Serbia has been fighting hard to utilize the “colonial-puppet” argument, in which Serbia positions the US as a colonial power in the Balkans and Kosovo as its puppet, when lobbying against Kosovo’s independence. Serbia has done so quite successfully in its relations with many members of the Yugoslav-era nonaligned movement, including anti-colonial regimes throughout much of Latin America and Africa that are wary of United States’ hegemony.

It is not a surprise, therefore, that Kosovo’s international legitimation lags behind especially among these nations. Labelling an entity as a puppet is not only an offensive word in international relations. In fact, it is also a descriptive purposeful label that has worked throughout history to prevent entities from being recognized as legitimate and sovereign. From France’s northern Italian republics (during Napoleon), Germany’s regimes in Slovakia, Croatia, and parts of Albania (during Hitler), to Japan’s Manchuria (during Hirohito), all were widely recognized as puppet regimes of empirical powers and none were able to gain substantive recognitions and international legitimation.

The no-vote threat by the US or other Quint states against Kosovo’s membership to INTERPOL or any other organization in the future should not be used as a signal to shift policy, and certainly should not be taken hysterically by opposition parties, journalists, and civil society.

While respecting its sponsors’ sovereign right to vote sometimes for and sometimes against, Kosovo should nonetheless move on with its applications. Any future possible no vote by the US or other Quint states should be strategically used as a prime example against Serbia’s argument that Kosovo is a puppet of the US or other western powers in the Balkans. By always following the Quint’s advice, the perception of colonial-puppet argument will only continue to strengthen among Kosovo’s non-recognizing states in Latin America and Africa. It goes without saying that Kosovo’s applications to international organizations should not be perceived as hostile acts against its sponsors; rather it should be perceived as Kosovo’s maturity to understand and respect its sponsors’ sovereign right to (sometimes) not support Kosovo for whatever reason or interests they may have.

Kosovo, therefore, should waste no time and  apply for memberships whenever it can. If and when refused, Kosovo can learn which states will vote against its admission and perhaps even why. This way it can channel more efficiently its future diplomatic lobbying efforts. Without applying, Kosovo can only assume, but never know, where to channel its efforts, and thus remain in abyss.

Despite having no chance whatsoever to be admitted to the UN, Taiwan nonetheless has been submitting applications to the UN every year since 1993. Taiwan has lost nothing from being refused for more than twenty times now; it may have only learned something. Furthermore, taking a defensive and hesitant diplomatic approach, as Kosovo has done until now, can only serve Serbia’s diplomatic efforts against Kosovo’s legitimation. More offensive efforts with its applications whenever and wherever it can, within the realm of its resources, which should certainly expand, will only make Serbia’s counter-lobbying efforts more difficult, while maintaining some chance of success for itself. As such, a shift from a defensive to an offensive diplomatic policy can only improve Kosovo’s diplomatic balance sheet, and build more honest relations with its current sponsors.

Shpend Kursani is a PhD researcher in the Department of Social and Political Sciences at the European University Institute, where he researches post-1945 cases of contested states.

Prishtina Insight

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Turkey to Serbia’s rescue? A strange new reality in a strange new time

Turkey’s pivot is becoming increasingly wide ranging. The Turkish President’s visit to Belgrade is a further sign of this.

Serbia, like most Orthodox Christian states of southern Europe, has a long history of animosity towards Turkey. It was Ottoman Turkey which initially crushed the sovereignty of Orthodox Europe, leading to a centuries long occupation that only started to end in 1804, when Serbia declared its independence, an independence that was ultimately fully achieved in 1878, after Serbia’s traditional ally and Turkey’s traditional foe, Russia, fought and won a war with the Ottoman Empire.

Because of this long and acrimonious history, many have found it surprising that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been enjoying a productive visit to Belgrade. Among other economic cooperation proposals discussed was a Turkish proposal to extend the so-called Turk Stream Pipeline to Serbia.

Erdogan hopes to extent Turk Stream gas pipeline to Serbia

 

Can Turks and Serbs ever be friends? 

While conventional wisdom would answer this question with a firm “no”, geo-political real ties across the globe are challenging long held conceptions of which states are traditional allies and enemies. First there was Turkey’s rapprochement with Russia which is quickly blossoming into a very real economic partnership. This was followed by a perhaps even more meaningful warming of relations between Turkey and Iran.

In a further challenge to the convention wisdom on traditional geo-political friends and foes, Saudi Arabia’s King has just visited Moscow for a meeting that could be the first small step in a long term Saudi pivot to Eurasia.

Old adversaries versus current threats 

And thus one must turn not to Serbia’s old enemy of Turkey, but to the state which most directly threatens the sovereignty and security of Serbia: Albania.

Ethnic Albanians who are well known to have a direct line to the regime in Tirana, are currently occupying the Serbian Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija. In 2008, when Turkey joined its NATO colleagues in recognising the Albanian/NATO occupation of Kosovo and Metohija as a “state”, the world was very different for Turkey.  At that time, Ankara wanted to join the EU and the idea of Turkey as a partner with Russia, Iran and others in Eurasia was considered inconsequential. Even 2013, when Erdogan made an embarrassingly anti-Serb speech in Kosovo and Metohija, seems like the distant past in terms of Turkey’s geo-political position then versus its positions now.

Times have changed in this respect and while Turkey can scarcely undo the recent, let alone centuries old past, present conditions could mandate a pivot in policy.

Unlike in Bosnia where Erdogan is seen as the leader of a kind of pseudo-political cult of personality, the other majority Sunni Muslim country of the Balkans, Albania, is currently experiencing an ebb in relations with Ankara.

Gulenists in Albania versus Erdogan 

Albania is known to shelter members of the hated Fethullah Gulen terrorist organisation. Erdogan recently slammed Albania for sheltering members of the group, although his plea fell on notably deaf ears in Tirana.  Erdogan friendly media outlets in Turkey were quick to latch onto Albania’s apparently perfidious behaviour.

Erdogan says NO to Greater Albania

 

Furthermore, in addition to housing Gulenists, Albania is also the de-facto global base for the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, a terrorist group widely proscribed by Turkey’s partners in Tehran.

Furthermore, while Serbia remains stable and safe from terrorism, Albania is being destabilised by a heavy presence of ISIS fighters, drug lords and arms dealers, including those who have sold weapons to Kurdish groups in the Middle East in the past.

At present, Turkey’s economic foot firmly is in the door of Russia and China. Russia for its part is happy to see Turkey facilitate the safe movement of Russian gas to the Balkans and likewise, China has its eye on the Balkans as an important transport corridor of the One Belt–One Road initiative.

Because of this, the great powers of the wider so-called global east need a safe space in the western Balkans to do commerce. That place is increasingly Serbia.

Additionally, with Turkey now coming out fully in favour of the territorial unity of Syria and Iraq due to the fear of radial Kurdish movements, Turkey’s sympathies may naturally evolve, making Ankara side with a state like Serbia, whose territorial unity has been threatened by a NATO alliance that Turkey is fast becoming a stranger in.

Turkey has already come out in opposition to the Greater Albania project and this was before Turkey’s row with Israel whose own Yinon Plan (aka Greater Israel Project) formally linked up with Kurds in Iraq, so far as Ankara is concerned.

100 years later, the west has authored a new Balfour Declaration for the Balkans

 

Serbia’s objective attraction to Eurasia and beyond

As a non-EU member, Serbia is well placed to skirt the sanctions of Brussels and as a non-NATO country that is far more stable and secure than Albania, it makes increasingly good economic sense to invest in Serbia. Furthermore, unlike Greece, Serbia does not have any territorial disputes with Turkey, nor does the issue of Cyprus factor into matters with Serbia the way they inevitably would with Greece. Even if Serbia does eventually join the EU, much of this attraction remains. If as some have suggested, Serbia instead opts for a partnership with the EU as well as one with the Eurasian Economic Union, things would become even more enticing for the powers of Eurasian, including Turkey.

While some in Ankara might still want to play up Albania’s Sunni heritage as a common denominator in relations, the fact is that Albania’s corrupt political culture means that it has and will almost certainly continue to shelter any terrorist group which is willing to either pay up or make an ‘offer’ that Tirana cannot or is not willing to refuse. In this sense, contemporary Albania is something like post-1996 Afghanistan in respect of al-Qaeda, only with money alone, as opposed to money plus ideology being a guiding factor in various decision making processes. This is not to say that the political culture of Albania is similar to 1990s Afghanistan, but its relationship to international terrorism is becoming eerily similar.

 

The Gulenist factor however, may be a decisive point in a Turkey pivot to Serbia. In this sense, just as Russia lured Turkey with the genuine promise of economic enrichment, at the same time that the US and EU pushed Turkey away, so too could Serbia’s stability and business like attitude stand out in the Balkans, all the while Serbia’s primary adversary pushes Turkey away.

CONCLUSION

It is clear that Turkey is not willing to placate any power with ties to Gulen’s terrorist organisation and this increasingly includes the United States. If Turkey will not stand for Gulenism among American state bodies, there is little realistic prospect that Albania will stand a chance in Turkey’s overall calculations on the matter.

While it is early days yet and while Turkey is a particular case study which proves that a zero sum mentality to geo-politics can never accurately apply, Serbia may be on the verge of developing an unlikely partnership with Anakara, one almost as unlikely as that which has developed between Ankara and Moscow as well as Ankara and Tehran.

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THE CAPITAL’S RESIDENTS ACCUSE THE SERBIAN MINISTER OF TORTURING THEM DURING THE WAR

The capital's residents accuse the Serbian minister of torturing them during the war

Minister of Agriculture in the Government of Kosovo, Nenad Rikallo, is accused of torturing Pristina citizens during wartime, KTV reports.

Residents of the building in Dardania’s Kurri have confessed to KTV the tortures that Rikallo has said and the fact that he has always appeared in uniform and armed.

Although nearly two decades have passed, Fexhrije Beqiri can remember the face of Nenad Rikallos, appointed Minister of Agriculture in the government of Ramush Haradinaj.

The Beqiri family lives on the seventh floor of this building at Dardania’s back for several decades. On the same floor, number 45, Nenad Rikallo also lived.

Everything that remembers Mrs Beqiri from Rikallo, then young, is torture and maltreatment against Albanian residents.

“Everything has a boa, it’s been boo guys have put the boys off the fun stairs. I’m so sorry they can not do it. They told me that we could get blacker than these, “says Mrs Beqiri.

Her son, Celebration, has fresh experiences of two torture scenes from Rikallo, one of which includes running a gun to his already-felt father.

On each floor of this building there are residents who recall the horror experienced by the entire Rikallo family.

“Nenad served as a representative of the Red Berets, a paramilitary with his brother Goran. His dad Radishavi was very lenient officer in Serbian police, “said Celebration.

Those who agree to speak and recall have seen the new minister, always in uniform.

Residents here have been shocked when they saw Rikallon being ranked among the new government ministers and demanding his immediate departure.

Rikallo is part of the Serbian List and until recently served as a member of the Central Election Commission.

He did not respond to KTV’s calls for comment on the charges.

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Shock!! Imami nga Tirana; Busti i Skenderbeut duhet të hiqet,ngaqe e ka prapanicen te kthyer nga kibla.

Spartacus

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Imam Armand Aliu
Shume potere per hiçgjë më detyroi edhe mua ti shkruaj dy rreshta me zero nga pas. Nuk mund te degjosh te flasin disa pseudo-nacionalistet te cilet jane te gatshem ta shesin atdheun e tyre per axhendat e Vatikanit, te Athines apo per te ringjallur nga varri Enver Hoxhën e te qendrosh heshtur.
Per disa vite rresht muslimanet e falnin Bajramin ne Bulevard ndersa Skënder Beut te gjithe sebashku i kthenin menderen. Disa mijera muslimane rregullisht dy here ne vit gjate festave te Bajramit i kane kthyer menderen bustit te heroit kombetar te Shqiperise e megjithate askush nuk ka reaguar e nuk eshte ndier keq nga pseudo-nacionalistet. Per kete fakt nuk kemi degjuar asnjehere Artan Lamen, as Agron Gjekmarkaj, as Vangjel Dulen, as Eduart Ndocajn, Bajram Peçin e as ndonje femër qe te flasin asnje gjysem llafi te vetem.
Tani qe muslimanet dolen ta falin Bajramin ne sheshin…

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CHANCELLOR MERKEL: KOSOVO NEEDS A DEMOCRATIC, NOT POLICE AND CRIMINAL GOVERNMENT, GIVE A CHANCE TO VV

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has reacted after yesterday’s opposition positions within the Assembly, as well as the clash with words during the debate on the resignation of the prime minister.

“These images do not honor anyone. Kosovo has suffered very historically, and today it is the moment for it to make a big turn. Kosovo needs a democratic government, not an autocratic and a police. There are no good days for a country that fights its citizens for why they protest, “Ms. Merkel told Deutsche Welle.

Further, Merkel has also spoken of the recent agreements between Kosovo and Serbia, saying that Serbia is showing itself irresponsible after every round of negotiations. Therefore, according to her, the agreements should be reconsidered and there can be no agreement outside the will of the people.

“It is up to the government to find a solution, but not to discriminate and exclude the opposition. Kosovo let’s learn from our state how to handle the opposition despite the differences, “Chancellor Merkel concluded.

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Hell Cannons – The Homegrown Horror of Syria’s Terrorist Invaders

The Rabbit Hole

The foreign mercenaries who continue to wage war against Syria’s civilians are using a variety of devastating weaponry, including improvised mortars known colloquially as “hell cannons.” Today, MintPress News speaks with a Syrian man who lost half his family to a “hell cannon” attack.

ALEPPO–  The U.S./NATO-imposed war and invasion of Syria has been going on for over six years now. Each day, it claims the lives of many innocent people. But until we speak to these individuals and hear their stories, they seem like little more than a statistic. It is important to keep in mind that these people deserve to be acknowledged as fellow human beings. When we tell their stories, we can relate to them that much more easily.

Syrians have families, just like the rest of us – except many of these…

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Advice to the diplomats of Prishtina

Albin Kurti, candidate for prime minister from the opposition party Vetevendosje, June 9, 2017. | Photo: AP Visar Kryeziu.

 

Unsolicited advice to Prishtina’s real elite huddling at the Arberia White House.  

Anguished and despairing, last night the diplomats bilateral and multilateral of Prishtina asked for my advice. I saw them this morning in the US embassy. This is what I told them.

In the 2014 elections your predecessors made a mistake, and the effects are now burning your hands. So listen carefully.

Their mistake was to stop Vetevendosje from committing the mistake of joining a coalition government led by a segment of Kosovo’s elite.

Their reasoning, if you wish to call it that way, was that Vetevendosje’s elevation to the executive power would have prevented further progress in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and obstructed the implementation of the agreements already reached.

You know the effects better than I do. The dialogue stuttered, and was even temporarily boycotted by the elite. The agreements remain unimplemented, and are now even more unpopular than they were before. And Vetevendosje doubled its share of the vote.

Besides the incompetence and corruption of the last government, they also won all those votes because you excluded them from government. Of course Vetevendosje added a dose of populism and extravagance to its appeal as the only real opposition. But you cannot complain, because it was obvious that they would do that, as well as because when the police illegally arrested them, you didn’t raise a finger.

What would have happened had you allowed Vetevendosje into the government? Well, it’s simple. The dialogue would equally have stuttered, but any progress made would have relied on genuine popular political support in Kosovo: it would have been real, not fictional, progress. The same goes for the implementation of the agreements. But what matters more is that Kosovo would have debated those issues, and this would have been a much-needed school of democracy, which is the management of political conflict: a school of open, reasoned debate on difficult policy questions. So you and Kosovo would not have been worse off than you currently are.

But in parallel Vetevendosje would have been tainted by its association with the elite. This would have been bad for Kosovo, but good for you. Vetevendosje would never have doubled its votes yesterday. It would have either split, between radicals and moderates, or began an insensible transformation into another elite party, for the temptations of theft and impunity are hard to resist and not all of Vetevendosje can be assumed to be saints. You would now have a Vetevendosje well on the way toward normalization.

‘Now you see the mistake?’ I said at this point. ‘Yes!’ they answered. ‘Good—I encouraged them—but now listen even more carefully because it becomes a bit more difficult.’

Having doubled its vote, Vetevendosje is now better protected from the risk of being infected by the elite. Whatever the numbers, it is likely to be the politically dominant partner of any coalition with the elite. So, such coalition could quietly manage the gradual exit of the extant elite and prepare Kosovo for a better form of politics. Mark those words: ‘quietly’ and ‘gradual’: I am talking of a transition, as an alternative to social unrest, which you fear, and to implacable justice, which they would deserve.

You would not obtain much regarding the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, of course. But: (1) who cares? The dialogue is a fiction anyway (the only thing that matters is EU accession, which will solve all problems but is too far away); (2) you would have no progress anyway, with a twice-as-big Vetevendosje opposition.

What you and Kosovo would obtain is a better, cleaner, and more responsive government, and possibly a change in the popular mood: discontent could turn into hope.

Of course, maybe none of this will work. But you have no other option, frankly. If you keep Vetevendosje out and bless yet another elite-led government, you risk an uprising anytime soon, and probably another wave of migration, probably bigger than in 2014.

You are not, let’s face it, the brightest minds of your foreign services. But you would really look stupid if that happened.

So, throw the reports you are writing to your capitals into the bin, and for once give them truthful analysis and brave advice. You can afford it: your hopes for a brilliant career are now forgotten if you find yourselves in Prishtina, and you can allow yourselves to take risks. Indeed you must, if you want to rescue your career.

This is what you must do. First you split both coalitions of the elite: you break them up. Then you pick some parts of the elite (you choose which ones) and put them together with Vetevendosje into a coalition government, with a healthy majority. The parts you don’t use you throw into opposition, and you send their names to the Hague court, saying that they can be indicted and convicted. Before you do any of this you call in a few more NATO troops and send them with tanks to patrol the villages of the to-be-discarded elites, lest they fall into the temptation of shooting some clueless EULEX official. When you have finished you retire to your embassies and let Kosovo politics run its course.

For that will be enough. The elite parts that will have been saved will play by the rules, because they will have seen that the discarded ones went to jail, and the obligations of high office will concentrate Vetevendosje’s mind on social and republican issues. And all will be well, if all won’t go wrong. But it’s a risk you must take.

Prishtina Insight

In Kosovo, too, there’s a future for a leftist party of economic and social justice

here’s a future for a leftist party of economic and social justice

Vetëvendosje represents hope for Kosovar citizens who are weary of the coalition of convenience between former warlords and international administrators

Supporters of Vetëvendosje wave Albanian national flags during the party’s closing election campaign rally in Pristina.

Supporters of Vetëvendosje wave Albanian national flags during the party’s closing election campaign rally in Pristina. Photograph: Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images

The UK is not the only country to have experienced a snap election in June. In Kosovo, a coalition between the Democratic party of Kosovo, the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo and the Initiative for Kosovo has finished in first place with 34% of the vote. A victory, but not enough to form a government. Sound familiar?

This could be great news for Vetëvendosje, a leftist political movement that introduced the vocabulary of anti-colonialism in response to the post-war neoliberal administration of Kosovo. Vetëvendosje, which translates as “self-determination”, has won more seats in the parliamentary elections than any other political party, taking 26% of the vote.

Although Vetëvendosje will have to choose a coalition partner to form a government, this win is a landmark event, a victory over the “war wing” coalition led by questionable members of the Kosovo Liberation Army. By contrast, Vetëvendosje’s former leader Albin Kurti is an emblem of Kosovar peaceful resistance. Kurti was imprisoned by the Serbian regime during the war, and after his release went back into politics in response to the longstanding political and economic problems of post-war Kosovo.

Albin Kurti, candidate for prime minister and former leader of Vetëvendosje, celebrates on Sunday.
Pinterest
Albin Kurti, candidate for prime minister and former leader of Vetëvendosje, celebrates on Sunday. Photograph: Hazir Reka/Reuters

Confronting economic despair caused by the privatisation of public enterprises, economic stagnation and Serbian state efforts to undermine Kosovo’s independence efforts, Vetëvendosje emerged in 2004 as an autonomous social and economic justice movement for self-determination. Its critique of the post-war convergence of international and local corruption resonated with Kosovar citizens who had grown weary of a coalition of convenience between former warlords and international administrators. Taking politics to the grassroots, Vetëvendosje activists worked with marginalised citizens, generating a new political vocabulary that provided a systematic critique of what had gone wrong with the postwar administration of Kosovo. Vetëvendosje challenged both the nationalist rhetoric of war heroes and the Serbian state claims on Kosovo.

Electoral victories of inspiring leftist political movements in the Balkans are not unprecedented. In Greece, Syriza’s victory in 2015 sent rays of hope around the region with its anti-austerity politics, an economic and political restructuring that sought to address the EU’s austerity demands. As prime minister, Alexis Tsipras consolidated his power. However, Syriza became indistinguishable from previous mainstream liberal governments in Greece – from giving in to EU pressure to fire finance minister Yanis Varoufakis to shipping refugees back to Turkey following the EU-Turkey deal.

The fate of Syriza should serve as a warning to the jubilant crowds in Kosovo today. Vetëvendosje must address the economic destitution of Kosovo created by years of market reforms and privatisation of public wealth, deteriorating educational infrastructure and social and medical services that have performed worse than the parallel underground institutions that existed under Serbian rule. Its critique of privatisation as “a corruption model, contributing to increasing unemployment, ruining the economy, and halting economic development of the country” must be transformed into policies – from abrogating the Kosovo Trust Agency that has facilitated the privatisation process, to the investigation of the problematic procurement processes that have created a business-political oligarchy.

On sovereignty, Vetëvendosje must also follow through on the principle that started the movement – no external involvement of the EU or other unelected international consultants in deciding the future of the people of Kosovo. Even more important, Vetëvendosje must change its approach to negotiations with Serbia and the EU, in which Kosovo has been treated not as the victim of Serbian-state violence but as the perpetrator. Sticking to its slogan of “No negotiations” without acknowledgments of the Serbian state’s war crimes in Kosovo is important, not only for Kosovo but for all past and ongoing state-sponsored crimes that are silenced through the politics of “reconciliation”.

This should include war reparations and the question of ratification of Kosovo’s borders with Serbia. The new government must make it clear to international brokers that Kosovo cannot be expected to negotiate with a country that refuses to acknowledge its crimes of occupation and continues to deny Kosovo’s right to exist in its official discourse.

Just as important, Kosovo needs a new commitment to its Roma and Serbian minorities that is not guided by the UN/EU institutionalisation of post-war ethnic, racial and religious differentiation, but by comprehensive economic and political integration. The violence against women and LGBTQ communities – a widespread post-war phenomenon – must be tackled seriously and meaningfully beyond the template solutions developed and delivered by EU apparatchiks that have done more harm than healing.

The surveillance and securitisation of Muslim communities through counter-radicalisation projects by previous governments must also come to an end as, with extreme secularist politics and poverty, they have contributed to Islamic State’s recruitment of a handful of fighters from the Kosovar youth.

Demands by the EU should be treated with indifference as long as they do not acknowledge Kosovars as a sovereign people free to choose and charter their own futures. Vetëvendosje represents the hope for which Kosovars have waited for more than three decades. Its slogan “#withheart” has won the over the country’s people. Let’s hope this is the political force that leads the new government in Kosovo and delivers on its promises.

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Albin Kurti – A Message to International Friends

Statement from Families of Fouaa and Kafraya Terrorist Opposition Bombing

Friends of Syria

by Miri Wood
fouaa-and-kafraya
Syrian child who survived Saturday’s terrorist massacre is ignored by malignant msm

Families hold Ahrar al Sham, Nusra, Qatar, and Turkey responsible for failing to protect and secure the safety of their families.  For two days the ‘militants’ procrastinated, keeping families on the buses with little food, water, and exhausted, delaying the evacuation.  In the chaos of the bombing, a large number of their relatives have been kidnapped/gone missing and they have no news of their whereabouts.

fouaa-and-kafraya

The families of Fouaa and Kafraya demand the following:

  • All culprits involved in the bombing be handed over to the authorities in the Syrian Arab Republic.
  • The transfer of the wounded (in opposition areas/Turkey) to hospitals under the control of the Syrian Arab Republic.
  • The commitment of the opposition the continuation of the agreement and completion of the evacuation of residents from Fouaa and Kafraya
  • Finding those who have since…

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