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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.
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.


Albin Kurti – A Message to International Friends

Statement from Families of Fouaa and Kafraya Terrorist Opposition Bombing

Friends of Syria

by Miri Wood
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.


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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CNN Calls 95 Slain Syrian Children ‘Assad Supporters’

Friends of Syria


A CNN report has covered up a heinous attack on children, women and elderly by Syrian Islamic extremist rebels.

127 Syrian evacuees were killed when a massive bomb ripped through their convoy of buses, carrying them way from the besieged towns of Fua and Kfarya to government controlled Aleppo.

95 of the victims were children; some of whom were burnt to death in the blast.

A suicide bomber woke up last Saturday morning and decided to go and kill himself some Shia children.

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He pulled up in an aids truck next to the waiting convoy at a rebel-held area on the outskirts of Aleppo.

He then started dishing out snacks to hungry children before detonating his device.

CNN described the heinous crime a consequence of “brutal war between Sunni and…

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Warmonger McCain in the Balkans – Will Serbia be another Ukraine

Friends of Syria

Whenever John McCain travels outside the US, you can guarantee trouble will follow.

Following the recent elections in Serbia of Aleksandar Vucic, the Serbs have taken to the streets to demonstrate, unhappy with the election result.

Demonstrations all over Serbia – Balkan Insight

McCain is in Serbia to make sure that Vucic will continue talks with Kosovo, so that they can rush Serbia into the EU and away from Putin. As the Cold War has never been over as far as the Balkans are concerned and the US has only one agenda and that is to get as many countries into the EU and NATO away from Russia.

The US controls Kosovo with the largest military base outside of the US and are presently building a new Embassy which could possibly one of the biggest they have. Kosovo belongs to the US as far as they are concerned and they see…

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Interconnection lines Albania – Kosovo and Belgrade blocked indefinitely

Deadline set for Serbia, 31 December 2016 was breached and Serbia is expected to have consequences of this violation, while Albania and Kosovo are paying around 70 million euro loan for an interconnector that has not worked a single day.

Mustafa Rama and Prime Ministers and Ministers of Energy and Stavileci Gjiknuri inauguration ceremony of the interconnection line Albania - Kosovo on June 26, 2016. The line has not been used yet.  Photo courtesy: Ministry of Energy and Industry

Mustafa Rama and Prime Ministers and Ministers of Energy and Stavileci Gjiknuri inauguration ceremony of the interconnection line Albania – Kosovo on June 26, 2016. The line has not been used yet. Photo courtesy: Ministry of Energy and Industry

Line interconnection of electricity between Albania and Kosovo was unveiled with fanfare in the presence of the two prime ministers and many other officials last June, after many years of delays in design and construction, but political disagreements between Serbia and Kosovo make it impossible to put in this line of work causing significant losses to the transmission operators and blocking the development of the common energy market between Albania and Kosovo and beyond, the common market of the entire Balkans.

Deputy Director of the Energy Community Secretariat in Vienna Dirk Buschle told BIRN that the problem is political and not technical and does not currently see a way out.

“This line can not be put into operation. This is a political problem and we are not happy about it. The issue will be dealt with again for discussion at the Summit of Trieste in July 2017, “said Buschle.

Secretariat of the Energy Community based Vienëështë international organization that coordinates and oversees the implementation of the Treaty of Athens, the treaty adopted in 2015 by which the countries of the European Union and the Balkan countries of the region of the Black Sea, have agreed create a common energy market, as part of the integration process of the region in the European common market.

Angel Zeqo, director of Operator Transmission of Energy (OST) public company that owns the lines of high voltage, said that his company has annual loss in revenue arrears of at least 500 thousand euros from the failure to work this line while also plan to optimize the operation of the power system of Kosovo and blocked due Shqipërisëështë line.

“If we sell the line capacity of the common market, the revenues generated would be about 500 thousand euros,” said Zeqo.

“The problem is technically simple,” he added.

Kosovo must obtain a broadcasting code by ENTSO-E, but not recognized as a control zone by ENTSO-E. Serbia has asked Kosovo to recognize the Serbian operator of energy distribution in the north of Kosovo in exchange for recognition of Kosovo Transmission Operator as a separate entity.

ENTSO-E is the European Network of Transmission Operators for Electricity and responsible for the operation of the single market in electricity.

No punishment for Serbia

Serbia ndërkohëështë determined by the Energy Community as a breaker of rules that it itself has signed for the creation of a common market, known as Package II Energy . Last October, the Ministerial Council of the Energy Community found violations by Serbia and set a deadline of December 31, 2016. Theoretically, the Energy Community Secretariat should propose sanctions for Serbia in the Council of Ministers, but by Buschle, can be of a political nature and therefore not very efficient.

The interconnection line between Albania and Kosovo, aimed at simultaneously increasing energy security and creating the conditions Albania to optimize the operation of power systems of Albania and Kosovo. In the event that the line would function, Albania could benefit from improving the efficiency of utilization of hydropower and Kosovo would benefit from improving the efficiency of utilization of coal power plants.

“Limak” block his American plane (VIDEO)

Now five months American John Chesnut is not allowed by representatives of the Pristina International Airport to enter the hangar, in which he has set his plane with permission of the Kosovo Police. “Limak” u it requires 5,600 euros per month rent

John Chesnut, an American who offered his plane training Kosovo, brought it to the property of the Kosovo Police, who gave the key to the barn to put it near Pristina International Airport (PIA), for several months is They are hampered by representatives of the Turkish company “Limak” to use the plane.

They do not allow to enter the hangar, where the z plane. Chesnut now five months. “Limak” it wants the American Rental 5624 euros per month for use of the barn, which has a table with a sign of the Kosovo Police.

“On 22.08.2016, he was given the key to the hangar by the Kosovo Police. I still have the key, but “Limak” does not allow me to enter now five months, nor to control my plane, “he told the newspaper” Zeri “z. Chesnut.

He has more time to roam around the office of top state officials, but no one answers, while “Limak” continues to send monthly bills for this property, insisting that it is their property. On the other hand, the American Chesnut ignored by government officials, namely the Ministry of Interior which provides no answer.

“Limak” requires 28 thousand euro

“The main problem is already five months that I was not allowed to inspect my plane, which in a way can be harmed by staying there without supervision.

They are looking to pay rent 5624euro month and I think it is unfortunate, as I said to them through an e-mail that this is unfortunate, because that building is owned and controlled Ministry of Internal Affairs. I have been handed the keys to the facility by the Director of the Kosovo Police and his deputy here at the airport on 22 August 2016, “he told” Voice “Chesnut.

He writes that until five months flew by plane until suddenly the “Limak” have started to receive invoices for rent.

“Company” Limak “is refusing to allow me to have access to and they told me that they now have to pay much more than the 28 thousand euro if I want to take the plane, which is not worth as much. It’s an old plane ‘1961 Piper Cherokee “is a training plane. This is unfair, “he said.

Meanwhile, officials of “Limak” Regulation insist that this property under their management. “We like the ‘Limak Kosovo International Airport JSC’ are obliged to adhere to the conditions and the price list for the services provided, as defined in the Agreement on Public-Private Partnership. Under this agreement, all tariffs are applied equally to all users of the airport without any exception. Exceptions in the PPP Agreement has no regard to nationality users Airport. In connection with questions inform you that any user Airport is obliged to pay for services provided by ‘Limak Kosovo International Airport JSC’, based on the fees stipulated in the Public-Private Partnership. Since we pay the concession fee from our income, the Republic of Kosovo is also the main partner in such income. However, due to open z obligations. John Chesnut to our company, he was prevented from entering the area controlled by the performance of his duties by, “reads the official press responses to ANP, UNIDO Krasniqi.

 Krasniqi: The barn is the Kosovo Police

Agim Krasniqi, former Director for Capital Investments, 1986-87 shows that in today’s property where police hangar was purchased from social enterprise to shoulder then. “I’ve been part of this process when buying property for Police, paid 1.2 million marks at the time and it is now owned by the Kosovo Police,” says the newspaper “Zeri” the former official Krasniqi. He says he also possesses documentation Kosovo police with all information about the property.

Officials of the Ministry of Interior did not respond to questions from the newspaper “Zeri” that which is the truth about this property. While the documents obtained by the newspaper, the constant communication of z. Chesnut with various officials ignored seen that’s been done for a very long time. “I expressed my desire to bring the plane here, because I became a pilot a few years ago and wanted to create opportunities for students of Kosovo to become pilots and mechanics of aviation, because the other manufacturers of large aircraft ‘Air Airline’ have said repeatedly over the past 3 or 4 years recently that the aviation industry needs pilots and mechanics 600,000 others in the next 10 years, “says Chesnut. He has left the door open to search without explanation of why being obstructed. While no one has offered no answer but is constantly neglected. “My daughter at the time that we have been dealing with the dispute with the company” Limak “became not only a pilot, when she was only 17 years old, but now that he is 20 years old has become flight instructor, certified in one of the schools the most popular flying to Arizona, where prepared materials used by European schools in all countries, CAE Oxford, and this could and should have happened here three years ago, but I do not know why this is being hampered by management ‘Limak’ Regulation. I and my daughter are forced to do training in Skopje, we can go in Skopje at any time and on any day, to fly there without any problem, to conduct training without any problem, “says Chesnut.

Chesnut not delivered, wants answers from the Government of Kosovo

“We thought to provide a service really necessary for your country, I’m saying, allowed me to park my plane there only temporarily until the police get helicopters that would like to have (to park there ), let’s do some training to build experience between me and the other pilots, let us offer the opportunity Police if any natural disaster, such as flood “, says Chesnut with more desperation. He announces that he will continue to appeal and he expects by the Government to do something.



Russia Stirs Friction in Balkans, as NATO Keeps an Uneasy Peace

American soldiers under NATO command on patrol in northern Kosovo. A United States-led intervention ended Serb domination of Kosovo about 18 years ago.CreditLaura Boushnak for The New York Times

ZVECAN, Kosovo — In the densely forested mountains along the contested frontier between Serbia and Kosovo, a patrol of American soldiers under NATO command trudged through snow and mud, keeping an eye out for smugglers or anyone else trying to cross the border. Given the bloody legacy of this area, the situation is quiet now, at least up here.

It is down below, in Serbia and Kosovo, where old angers are resurfacing as the Balkan region that spawned so much suffering over the last century is again becoming dangerously restive. And once again, Russia is stoking tensions, as it seeks to exploit political fissures in an area that was once viewed as a triumph of muscular American diplomacy — but that now underscores the growing challenges facing NATO and the European Union.

“Russia sees the West meddling in its backyard, and President Vladimir V. Putin wants to show he can reciprocate,” said Dimitar Bechev, an expert on Russia and the Balkans and head of the European Policy Institute in Sofia, Bulgaria. “They see the Balkans as the West’s underbelly, and they use it to throw their weight around and project power on the cheap.”

Nearly 18 years after a United States-led intervention ended Serb domination of Kosovo, the border patrols are part of the longest-running mission in NATO history. Even as the European Union has made limited progress in brokering a political settlement between Kosovo and Serbia, the presence of NATO forces has maintained an uneasy peace, with animosity between the minority Serbs and majority Albanian inhabitants of Kosovo still palpable.

Yet NATO is now confronting its own challenges, whether it is the seeming ambivalence of President Trump toward the alliance or an increasingly provocative Russia. The alliance has sent reinforcements to Poland and the Baltic States to counter Russian actions, but Russian involvement in the Balkans has gotten less attention.

Russia has deep historical ties with Serbia and vehemently opposed NATO’s war over Kosovo in 1999. After an American-led bombing campaign, Serbia lost control over the region but continues to support Serbs there, vowing never to recognize the sovereignty of Kosovo, which it considers the cradle of the Serbian nation and of its Christian Orthodox faith. Mr. Putin has continued to back Serbia, as well as Serbs living in Bosnia and Herzegovina — and continued to dabble in the complex swirl of Balkan politics.

For starters, Moscow supported Bosnian Serbs when they held a controversial referendum in November that could lead to more — or even full — independence from Sarajevo. A month later, Russia backed fringe opposition parties in delicate national elections in Macedonia, another former Yugoslav republic. The European Union had organized the election to help bring the country back from the brink of collapse.

Men on the ethnic Albanian side of Mitrovica, Kosovo, looking north toward the Serbian section of the divided city. CreditLaura Boushnak for The New York Times

In Montenegro, Serbia’s tiny neighbor and a former Russian ally now set to join NATO, the authorities said they had foiled an October coup attempt that had been orchestrated by the Russians.

Then in January, Moscow moved to help Serbia undermine Kosovo’s independence by supporting a series of provocations that have damaged diplomatic normalization efforts, known as the Brussels dialogue, that are sponsored by the European Union. That process had recently produced a small breakthrough, as Kosovo was about to get its own +383 calling code.

Since Kosovo declared independence in 2008, however, the ethnic Albanian-dominated government in the capital, Pristina, has failed to bring the predominantly Serb parts of the country north of the Ibar River under its control, including Mitrovica, Kosovo’s second-largest city.

But as Kosovars were celebrating this breakthrough, the Serbs erected a concrete wall separating the northern, predominantly Serb part of Mitrovica from the ethnic Albanians in the southern part. It was built on the Serbian side of the bridge that crosses the Ibar, a project that the European Union funded in hopes of linking the divided communities.

European Union officials furiously demanded that the wall come down, but the Serbs remained defiant, forcing the official inauguration of the bridge to be postponed. This month, concrete blocks of the wall were bulldozed, but a metal barrier is still standing, blocking traffic and pedestrians.

Most inflammatory, the Serbian government sent a Russian-made train from Belgrade to Mitrovica, adorning its coaches with signs declaring that “Kosovo is Serbia” in more than 20 languages. Kosovo stopped the train at the border, accusing Serbia of wanting to stage an invasion of northern Kosovo, modeled on Russia’s annexation of Crimea. Serbia, in turn, accused ethnic Albanians of laying mines along the railway tracks and planning a bombing campaign of Serbs and their holy sites.

Serbia’s president, Tomislav Nikolic, who is thought to be backed by Russia as he seeks a second five-year term in the April election, threatened to send his troops back to Kosovo to protect the Serbs, if necessary.

A military post near a monastery in Decani, Kosovo. The abbot of the monastery, Father Sava Janjic, said the nationalistic talk from Serbia “often comes back to us like a boomerang.”CreditLaura Boushnak for The New York Times

“If Serbs are killed, we’ll send the army to Kosovo,” Mr. Nikolic said after the train episode, which was ostensibly intended to restore a line that had been disconnected since the 1999 NATO bombing of the area. He warned officials in Pristina against attempting to provoke a conflict, saying it would “end badly.”

Russia’s ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Chepurin, wrote in a recent editorial in Serbia’s daily Politika that Moscow would support “Serbia in preventing attempts to create an artificial pseudo-state of Kosovo.”

Milan Nic, a Balkan analyst at the GlobSec Policy Institute, a think tank in Bratislava, Slovakia, said that tough statements on Kosovo were common during Serbian elections but that Serbia could never improve relations with the European Union, let alone join it, by clinging to its former southern province.

Col. Corwin Lusk, the American commander of NATO’s multinational battle group in eastern Kosovo, agreed that the Serbian elections were fueling the angrier statements and that Russia was playing games, though he was skeptical that Moscow wanted a direct confrontation in the Balkans.

“It would be very irrational behavior because it’s a fight they could not win,” he said. “It’s a fight nobody would walk away from without scars and bruises.”

Many ethnic Albanians and Serbs living in Kosovo fear another round of war. Roughly 120,000 Serbs live in northern Kosovo, near the Serbian border, and mostly embrace the nationalistic fervour of Belgrade. But there are 70,000 other Serbs scattered in southern Kosovo who feel more exposed to retaliation.

Father Janjic talking with Rear Adm. Murray J. Tynch at the monastery in Decani, which is a Unesco world heritage site and under the protection of NATO forces. CreditLaura Boushnak for The New York Times

In the town of Decani, in southwest Kosovo, 20 Serbian monks are holed up a 14th-century Serbian Orthodox monastery, which is recognized as a Unesco world heritage site and is being protected by NATO troops to prevent assaults from non-Serbs. The abbot of the monastery, Father Sava Janjic, said the nationalistic talk from Serbia “often comes back to us like a boomerang.”

“Every time they call me from Serbia, they ask: ‘Is there war? Are they trying to kill you?’’’ said Father Janjic, 52. “I tell them, ‘No, they are not.’ There is no war. I can’t lie. But the situation is far from rosy.”

NATO’s task in the region is deeply complex. Troop levels have dropped to about 5,000 over the past decade, including 650 American soldiers, and their job includes border patrols as well as navigating the sensitivities of an ethnically divided region.

In the absence of an army of their own, most ethnic Albanians see NATO troops as protectors of their state in Kosovo.

“They are here to defend us from the Serbs when they want to storm back,” said Belkiza Sahatqiu, 46, a mother of three, who works in a shoe store in the Serbian-part of Mitrovica.

Many Serbs living in Kosovo, however, describe the alliance’s forces as occupiers more than protectors, said Lilijana Milic, who owns a farm along the highway between Mitrovica and Pristina.

“They are not protecting anybody, certainly not us,” she said. “They came to occupy this land, and now they sit in their bases. Where were they when people were chased out of their homes in broad daylight?”

At the same time, Ms. Milic blamed Serbian politicians in Belgrade for the misfortune of Kosovo’s Serbs. “They just talk, talk, talk, talk about defending us,” she said, “but all they ever do is take care of their own interests.”


Shala: Winter Season turns “KEDS hunt” against citizens

KEDS copy

Kosovo citizens continue to complain about the high prices of electricity, the bills that have come in recent months.

Show them “economy with érezée” have shown that electricity bills have become unaffordable and that appeals to the counters of KEDS and the Energy Regulatory Office of Kosovo (ERO), they are futile.

“Electricity tariffs are too high. We do not spend as much if we receive bills and the situation has become unbearable, “says a citizen.

“The high coming, Bosnia & do not know what is. However complain about this, but it is useless, “said another.

“With electricity are not satisfied, the more expensive”, they expressed some citizens.

But citizens appears to be support for Protection Council, Liberties and of Human Rights teh. Behgjet Shala lead of the Council, said that KEDS has started the winter season with the price increase which it calls as “customer hunting Kosovo”.

“Winter season is the golden season of bounce these tariffs, where even the greatest professionals will not be able to investigate thefts made in KEDS. And that’s when the hunt begins KEDS Kosovo to customers, “said Shala.

KEDS spokesman Viktor Buzhala in an interview for the program “Economy with érezée”, argued that this increase is due to the application of winter tariffs.

“It is known that the tariffs are in winter time and they are more expensive than summer because of increased consumption,” said Buxhala.

Electricity tariffs are divided into two seasons. Winter and summer season. Winter season starts from October 1 until March 31, while the summer season runs from 1 April to 30 September.




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