Kosovo Talks Continue at UN – Situation Still Volatile

While Serbian President Boris Tadic is in New York for talks about the future of Kosovo, a new book on the issue, written by political analyst Dr. James Ker-Lindsay was presented in Belgrade on Tuesday.

In the book “Kosovo: The Path to Contested Statehood in the Balkans,” Dr. James Ker-Lindsay, a specialist on issues in South East Europe and Eastern Mediterranean, assessed the actions of UN Special Envoy for Kosovo-Metohija Martti Ahtisaari as the most horrifying unilateral international diplomatic initiative, because, as he claims, the former Finnish president prejudged the outcome from the start.

According to Ker-Lindsay, a researcher at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the process launched by negotiators from Russia, the EU and US had been doomed to failure before it even began, as certain members of the UN Security Council, like the US, advocated the independence of Kosovo from the beginning.

“This ruined any chance of talks,” Ker-Lindsay said.

Meanwhile, a general debate started on Tuesday at the 66th UN General Assembly in New York, with Serbian President Boris Tadic in attendance. Tadic said that the UN General Assembly session would be a difficult one and that he did not expect the talks on Kosovo to be easy either. He went on to say, that conflicts have to be resolved through dialogue, adding that no artificial deadlines should be imposed on the sides in the process and the dignity of all sides must be respected by everybody involved.

Tadic will meet with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, as well as Hungarian President Pal Schmitt and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves. He will address the UN General Assembly on Friday, 23 Sept.

On the Kosovo-Serbian border, not a single pedestrian has passed the Jarinje administrative crossing so far since KFOR removed the barricades on Tuesday. The local Serbs use alternative roads, which have been widened and resurfaced in the past several days. Some of them are apparently wide enough to accomodate lorries because 18 drivers were detained by Kosovo authorities in Mitrovica yesterday for crossing the border illegaly over such a backcountry road.

EULEX customs officers in control of the checkpoints are handing out leaflets saying the crossings are open. The leaflets specify that Jarinje is open for passenger traffic only, that non-commercial goods can enter through Brnjak, whereas all excise goods must go through the Merdare crossing, and the customs clearance is undertaken at the terminal in the southern Mitrovica.

(Sources: Tanjug, B92London School of Economics,  Middle East & Balkans News; 22 Sept 2011)


About Johann Brandstätter

Photojournalist and documentary photographer based in Bulgaria, working mainly in the Balkans and the Middle East. Conflicts & crises, social and environmental issues, defense & military, travel, transportation.
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