A new round
of "final status" negotiations may consider partition of Kosovo. Partition is
an idea the original UN plan rejected as unworkable. Russia believes that if
Kosovo is given its independence every "ethnic region" in the Balkans and
Eastern Europe will use it as a precedent. That's the Russian "domino theory."
Russia is once again suggesting that "partition" is the best solution for
Kosovo. Russian diplomats admit that drawing a border will be difficult, but
predominantly Serb villages and neighborhoods should be allowed to join Serbia.
Orthodox Christian monasteries should also be placed inside Serbia. The problem
with this solution is that there are "non-contiguous" Serbian villages in
Kosovo. Partition could lead to a "domino theory" of its own, with various
ethnic groups demanding they be included in a neighboring state. Hungarians in
Serbia's Vojvodina region might want to unite with Hungary. Some ethnic
Albanian Macedonians living near the Albania-Macedonia border have already said
they want to become part of Albania. What happens to Croats and Serbs in
August 10, 2007: The Serbian
government beefed up its military and
police presence in the Presevo Valley (south Serbia). The increase in security
forces came after a "series of shootings" and vehicle hijackings in the area.
August 9, 2007: Turkey guards
its rights over the Turkish Straits (Dardanelles and Bosporous) very seriously.
The Montreux Convention of 1936 says that transiting naval vessels must give
Turkey 15 days advance notice before passing through the Straits. But enforcing
that restriction on…Ireland? Yes, that's what the Turks did. The Irish
off-shore patrol vessel LE Aoife was denied passage because the Irish
government failed to give Turkey appropriate notice.
August 7, 2007: The government
of Kosovo said that there have been 52 attacks on "cultural heritage sites" in
Kosovo. This usually means mosques or churches.
August 3, 2007: Serbia set
some conditions for any future negotiations over Kosovo's "final status."
Serbia wants the talks to be "face to face" with Kosovo's ethnic Albanian
leadership (ie, not through the UN). Serbia also wants the talks to be "open
ended." Serbia has argued that the "UN proposal" was really a "predetermined
result" (ie, Kosovo independence). The UN and the EU are against "open ended
talks," regarding that demand as a recipe for no resolution. The UN has asked
for a recommendation by December 2007.
July 30, 2007: The Hungarian
government said that it may go ahead and recognize Kosovo's independence from
Serbia no matter what the UN decides. Hungary fears that failure to grant
Kosovo independence will lead to a severe "security challenge" within the