The UN and EU (European Union) continue to say that any decisions on
Kosovo's "final status" will be taken after Serbia's upcoming elections. Those
elections are scheduled for January 21, 2007. That noted, a decision appears to
be in the works. The UN issued a statement on December 14 that said "fringe
groups" would exploit "frustration" with a stalled process. Many politicians in
the region believe that the final status decision must include some form
of "partial independence" (also called "conditional independence") for
21, 2006: Police in Kosovo reported seizing a "large quantity" of arms near the
village of Glogovac (west of Pristina). The arms cache also included
explosives. Three people were also arrested in the police operation. One of the
men arrested works in Kosovo's Ministry of Labor. As the time to make the
decision regarding Kosovo's future approaches, peacekeepers and police are
trying to round up potential troublemakers.
20, 2006: Some 500 members of the Virginia National Guard's 29th Infantry
Division reported for duty in Kosovo. The troops are part of a 1500 man US KFOR
contingent headquartered at Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo. A detachment from the Texas
National Guard's 36th Division returned from Kosovo earlier in December.
11, 2006: The European Union "partially froze" EU membership talks with Turkey.
The ostensible issue was Cyprus. The freeze occurred despite Turkey's offer to
open limited sea and air traffic from Greek-Cypriot seaports and airports.
Turkey still has approximately 40,000 troops in northern Cyprus, protecting the
Cypriote Turks from the Greek majority.
9, 2006: At the end of November NATO invited Bosnia, Serbia, and Montenegro to
join the Partnership for Peace Program. This is regarded as a major political
gesture by NATO toward Bosnia and Serbia. Several war criminals remain at large
in both countries and NATO had been using membership in PFP as a "carrot" to
nudge Bosnia and Serbia to cooperate in apprehending war crimes suspects. NATO
also told Macedonia, Albania, and Croatia that these three nations could join
the alliance as early as 2008. All three countries are trying to meet alliance
membership criteria. Military force modernization is an issue for all three