Balkans: Gearing Up to Fight for Kosovo

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March 10, 2007: Serbia, to no ones surprise, said they would not accept a proposed UN plan to make the Serbian province of Kosovo independent.

March 9, 2007: Greek Cypriots began knocking down part of the wall that splits the Cypriot capital of Nicosia into Greek and Turkish zones. The wall in central Nicosia is regarded as the most "readily identifiable symbol" of the island's division. A Greek Cypriot spokesman said the destruction of the wall was meant to be a "sign of goodwill." Greek Cypriots hope that Turkey will eventually withdraw its troops from the northern half of Cyprus. A Turkish Cypriot spokesman said that Turkish Cypriots were "surprised" by the toppling of the wall.

March 5, 2007: The Albanian government asked the Greek government to deal with "anti-Albanian prejudice" in its armed forces. The Albanian government said that a short video available on the Internet showed Greek soldiers singing an insulting song about Albanians. A Greek spokesman agreed that the conduct was inappropriate. Greece said it is investigating the video's authenticity. This incident shows how what may have been a prank, joke, or outright fraud video on the web can have real political consequences. Moreover, the troops involved will get in trouble with their own defense ministries.

March 3, 2007: Kosovar Albanian nationalists held an anti-UN rally in Pristina. The rally, unlike the one held on February 10, was peaceful. Two protestors died in the February 10 demonstrations.

March 2, 2007: Turkey said that the US and NATO supported its decision to cancel a small-scale military training exercise with Greece. The exercise would have included a Greek island that Turkey says is in a demilitarized zone. Greece claims otherwise. The issue involves an interpretation of the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Treaty interpretations over the Aegean shelf frequently spark disagreements between Greece and Turkey.

February 28, 2007: KFOR headquarters said that its investigations have concluded that the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was not responsible for an attack on UN vehicles in Pristina. The attack occurred on February 20. The statement did not specify who KFOR and UNMIK investigators thought was responsible for the attack.

Serbian officials said that Serb security forces should protect "Serbian cultural and religious sites" in Kosovo. The UN plan for Kosovo suggests that "international troops" protect the sites. Serbian officials are particularly interested in protecting churches and monasteries. Religious sites have frequently been the target of terror attacks in Kosovo.

 

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