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February 11, 2006
The Quagmire Continues

The Kosovars elected a new, more moderate president to continue its efforts to free the enclave from the Serbians, despite being stuck in a limbo status since Western intervention in 1999. Fatmir Sejdiu proclaimed Kosovo's independence "non-negotiable", while the Serbs responded that any proclamation of independence would result in an effort by Belgrade to liberate the province from foreign occupation:

President Fatmir Sejdiu told The Associated Press Friday that he would not abandon the ethnic Albanian majority's push for independence from Serbia. But he pledged in his acceptance speech to make Kosovo a state that guarantees minority rights and is "at peace with itself and its neighbors."

"Kosovo's independence is non-negotiable," Sejdiu said in an interview at his modest house in Pristina. "For us it is very important that this road to independence is a quick one," he said. ...

Tomislav Nikolic, leader of the extreme nationalist Serbian Radical Party, said no politician in Serbia would accept Kosovo independence.

"If someone declares an independent Kosovo ... we will declare that an occupation and use all means to revoke that state of occupation," Nikolic said.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and President Boris Tadic also have rejected independence for Kosovo.

Kosovo has not progressed an iota since US and European troops occupied the province to stop the Serbs and Kosovars from killing each other. The intervention occurred without any plan for a political solution to the centuries-old dispute; it developed from the earlier NATO involvement in Balkan politics. NATO gave responsibility for the resolution of the Kosovo situation to the UN almost immediately, which has done absolutely nothing to create any kind of plan or proposal for a peaceful resolution to the standoff. In fact, the UN announced four months ago that it planned on scheduling talks to finally resolve the problem.

Four months ago. After six years. And they finally scheduled the talks for February 20th in Vienna. In all that time, we still have the same problem we did when we first intervened: ethnic Albanians in Kosovo want their independence, and the Serbs refuse to allow it.

I'm tempted to ask what the UN has been doing for almost seven years in Kosovo, but Claudia Rosett probably has more of those answers than we care to know. This is just another chapter in the ongoing incompetence of the UN to actually move from a status quo to real resolutions in disputes. It its way, the UN offered Kosovo no more than a hudna, but in this case a truce in which both sides could gather their strength for a future conflict. Contrast this with Iraq and Afghanistan, where despite ongoing violence, both nations have created democratic governments and appear well on their way towards standing on their own without a form of martial law being imposed indefinitely by the UN.

And some people wonder why we believe the UN is useless, and in some cases even worse than that, as Congolese women and girls could explain at length.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at February 11, 2006 9:37 AM

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