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  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In politics and policies, Serbia increasingly resembles the Milosevic-era without Milosevic. Its reaction to the catastrophic mid-March 2004 near collapse of the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), the strong showing by ultra-nationalists in the 28 December 2003 parliamentary elections and the subsequent two-months of squabbling before democratic parties could form a minority government that depends for survival on the support of Milosevic's old party all are signs that more trouble lies ahead. In 2004 Serbia can anticipate continued political instability, increasingly strained relations with the West and further economic decline. The spasm of ethnic cleansing of Serbs by Albanians in Kosovo has raised the prospect of Kosovo partition, strengthened the nationalist right wing and increased anti-Western sentiment. Instability and economic weakness could hasten moves by Montenegro towards independence, while Kosovo tensions could spill over into the Presevo valley, Sandzak and even Vojvodina.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 04-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 17 March 2004, the unstable foundations of four and a half years of gradual progress in Kosovo buckled and gave way. Within hours the province was immersed in anti-Serb and anti-UN rioting and had regressed to levels of violence not seen since 1999. By 18 March the violence mutated into the ethnic cleansing of entire minority villages and neighbourhoods. The mobs of Albanian youths, extremists and criminals exposed the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and the NATO-led peacekeeping force (KFOR) as very weak. Kosovo's provisional institutions of self-government (PISG), media and civil society afforded the rioters licence for mayhem. The international community urgently needs new policies -- on final status and socio-economic development alike -- or Kosovo instability may infect the entire region.
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Kosovo, United Nations, Albania
  • Publication Date: 02-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Pan-Albanianism is seen by many observers as a serious threat to Balkan stability. A century of shifting borders has left ethnic Albanians scattered across Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), the National Liberation Army (NLA) in Macedonia, and other groups have all waged campaigns of violence in support of enhanced rights for ethnic Albanians. Where is the ceiling to their ambitions?
  • Topic: Democratization, Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Central Asia, Greece, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 01-2004
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This briefing compares the mandate of the Independent Monitoring Commission for Northern Ireland (IMC) with those of two recent European examples of the monitoring and enforcement of compliance with peace agreements: the unsuccessful Kosovo Verification Mission (KVM) of 1998-1999, and the much more fruitful mission of the Office of the High Representative (OHR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina since 1995. It attempts to identify lessons from those earlier experiences that may help the IMC carry out its mission in the context of carrying forward the Good Friday peace process.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Ireland
  • Publication Date: 09-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A new Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG), former Finnish Prime Minister Harri Holkeri, has taken up his post at the helm of the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). While UNMIK is in its fourth year, the current period is one of the most sensitive since the war. The province's elected Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) are gradually gaining more responsibility, and final status discussions are approaching. However, recent security incidents, including the killings of a UN police officer and two Kosovo Serb teenagers in August 2003, are a stark reminder that stability is not yet deep-rooted. Frustration is growing with the poor state of the economy and the delay of the international community in addressing status. In the midst of these challenges, the crucial relationship between UNMIK and the PISG has become dangerously strained. Holkeri will need to come quickly to terms with the legacy of confrontation and tension left by his predecessor, Michael Steiner, and instil in his team a new attitude of respect for PISG and a reflex for consultation rather than unilateral action.
  • Topic: Security, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 06-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since the fall of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000, the steady normalisation of Serbia's relations with the international community has significantly enhanced the prospects for longterm peace and stability. The European Union (EU) rose to the challenge, providing resources for reconstruction and reforms in Serbia itself, as well as in Montenegro and Kosovo. As part of this assistance effort, it included the three entities in the Stabilisation and Association process (SAp) that it established to build security in the Western Balkans and open perspectives for eventual membership.
  • Topic: Development, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 05-2003
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: A simple but effective formula exists for peace in diverse societies. It consists of a civic contract: the government recognises and supports special rights for minorities, and minorities acknowledge the authority of the government. No elements of such a contract currently exist in Kosovo. The Albanians remain reluctant to support enhanced rights for the Serb minority, and the Serb community does not recognise the authority of Kosovo's institutions. Moreover, Kosovo is not a state and the future status of the province remains unresolved. After four years of United Nations authority in Kosovo, the foundation of this civic contract and of sustainable peace has not been laid.
  • Topic: Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: United States, Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 12-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The right of internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees to return to their homes in Kosovo is indisputable, and has become a top priority of the international community, and the United Nations Interim Administrative Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since Kosovo became an international protectorate under United Nations administration in June 1999, much has been done to stabilise the province and set up a functioning administration. Yet nothing has been done to address the central question that lay at the heart of the conflict in Kosovo, and which remains the issue of overriding importance for the province's inhabitants: the issue of final status.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Since Kosovo became an international protectorate under United Nations administration in June 1999, much has been done to stabilise the province and set up a functioning administration. Yet nothing has been done to resolve the question at the heart of the conflict in Kosovo, and which remains the issue of overriding importance for the province's inhabitants: the issue of final status.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 05-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This report describes the current situation in Albania, paying particular attention to relations with the country's Balkan neighbours, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Greece. The recent upsurge in fighting in the Presevo Valley of southern Serbia and in Macedonia has damaged the reputation of all Albanians in the region and has once more raised the spectre of a Greater Albania. Consequently, the Albanian government has been at pains to stress that it does not support the ethnic Albanian insurgents and wishes to see the territorial integrity of Macedonia upheld. To this end, Tirana has requested NATO's assistance to secure the Albania-Macedonia border, and has called for a solution to the crisis through dialogue.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Greece, Kosovo, Serbia, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania, Montenegro, Tirana
  • Publication Date: 11-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The removal of Slobodan Milošević's regime, with its poisonous influence on the entire Balkan region, raises hopes that a host of inter-connected problems may now stand a significantly better chance of being resolved, including the future status of Kosovo and of Montenegro, both notionally still a part of the Yugoslav federation.
  • Topic: Security, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Balkans, Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 10-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: While the world watched in fascination as mass demonstrations in Belgrade toppled Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power, Kosovo—where Milosevic had committed some of his worst crimes—had an almost eerie air of normalcy. On the night Milosevic fell, cafés were full and the usual crowd of young people strolled along Pristina's central artery, Mother Theresa Street. But Pristina's surface in difference masked serious unease about events in Serbia and especially about the swelling international welcome for newly elected President Vojislav Kostunica. Kosovo Albania's political circles, opinion leaders, and public, which for long had a head-in-the-sand approach toward the rise of the democratic opposition in Belgrade, are only beginning to come to grips with the changed political landscape in the Balkans caused by Milosevic's fall.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Albania
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Over its first 15 months the international mission in Kosovo has a number of accomplishments to its credit. These include negotiating an agreement with the Kosovo Liberation army (KLA) to disband and to publicly commit to hand over its weapons - although few believe the KLA's disarmament has been complete; heading off, in the early months after the war, an incipient conflict between backers of the KLA and the other major political force in Kosovo, Ibrahim Rugova's Democratic League of Kosovo(LDK); creating the framework of an administrative structure for Kosovo, and mobilising humanitarian assistance that helped feed and get more than one million Kosovo refugees into homes or temporary shelters before the first post-war winter.
  • Topic: Government, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 08-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Ten Years after independence, Macedonia's two largest ethnic groups continue to lead very separate and distinct lives. The uneasy co-existence between ethnic Macedonians and ethnic Albanians has only just withstood the violent breakup of Yugoslavia and the continuing instability in Kosovo. Valid concerns about Macedonia's security are too often being used to justify postponing hard decisions about internal problems. Political leaders on both sides of the ethnic divide, while negotiating privately for piecemeal improvements, publicly cater to the more extreme nationalists in their respective parties, and positions are hardening. There is a continued reluctance to squarely confront the compromises that would legally safeguard Macedonia's multi-ethnic composition: if that reluctance is not soon overcome, Macedonia and the region face renewed instability.
  • Topic: Conflict Prevention, Security, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 07-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the fall of 2000, for the first time of their history, the people of Kosovo are being promised the opportunity to participate in democratic, internationally supervised local elections. The elections offer the people of Kosovo the opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to democracy. They also present the international mission in Kosovo with a test of its resolve to overcome the political and practical problems associated with holding elections in a territory still suffering from the physical and the political scars of war.
  • Topic: Democratization, Human Rights, International Cooperation, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This report is the product of seven months of field research conducted by teams of local and international personnel in Kosovo and Albania in 1999, as part of the International Crisis Group's Humanitarian Law Documentation Project. The Project was conceived in the spring of 1999, as violence and destruction in Kosovo forced hundreds of thousands of men, women and children from their homes, many seeking shelter in neighbouring Albania and The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (hereafter referred to as Macedonia).The purpose of the Project was to support the efforts of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (“the Tribunal”or “the ICTY”) to investigate serious violations of international humanitarian law committed in Kosovo and bring to justice persons responsible for such crimes.
  • Topic: Human Rights, International Law, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 06-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Nearly a year after NATO defeated Serbia in the war over Kosovo, the international community appears uncertain about how to remove Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic from power.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Mitrovica has become the linchpin of Kosovo's future united status. The stakes are high. If the international community cannot re-establish Mitrovica as a single city, efforts to preserve a united Kosovo will also fail.
  • Topic: Defense Policy, Economics, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Mitrovica
  • Publication Date: 05-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The recent crackdown by the Belgrade regime on Serbia's independent media and political activists suggests that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic is more vulnerable than it would appear. Since the Kosovo war ended, Milosevic has proven unable to expand his support base and must struggle with diminishing resources to keep restive constituencies intact. Despite its recognised weakness, the Serbian opposition is capable under certain conditions of removing Milosevic from power and offering better governance. The message of numerous public opinion polls over the past eight moths is that there is an anti-Milosvic majority in Serbia, but that the opposition must work together in coalitions to exploit it.
  • Topic: Democratization, Non-Governmental Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The end of the war over Kosovo brought the transformation of the guerrilla army that started it. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA - or UÇK in the Albanian acronym) has been formally demilitarised, but in various manifestations it remains a powerful and active element in almost every area of Kosovo life. Some welcome its continued influence; others fear it; many are concerned about it.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Albania
  • Publication Date: 03-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: During the spring of 1999, more than 450,000 Kosovo Albanian refugees flooded into Albania, many of them forcibly deported by Serb forces in Kosovo. Despite Albania's acute poverty, many Albanians opened their homes to provide shelter to the incoming refugees and the government spared no effort, organising humanitarian relief and putting the entire country at the disposal of NATO. As a result, in the eyes of its people, Albania has secured its position as the spiritual motherland of all ethnic Albanians, and as such expects to play a prominent role in future pan-Albanian aspirations.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Poverty
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Albania
  • Publication Date: 01-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: With the immense challenges facing the international community in its effort to secure and rebuild Kosovo, one critical outstanding matter that has received very little attention is the ongoing detention in Serbian prisons of several thousand Kosovar Albanians. Arrested by Serbian forces in the course of the Kosovo conflict, these prisoners were hastily transferred to Serbian jails and penitentiaries in the wake of the Kumanovo military-technical agreement, which ended the NATO air campaign and established a timetable for the withdrawal from Kosovo of all Serb forces.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The enterprise known as Trepca is a sprawling conglomerate of some 40 mines and factories, located mostly in Kosovo but also in other locations in Serbia and Montenegro. Its activities include chemical processing and production of goods as varied as batteries and paint. But the heart of its operations, and the source of most of its raw material, is the vast mining complex to the east of Mitrovicë/a in the north of Kosovo, famous since Roman times. This report examines the current position of the mines, together with the associated smelting complex at nearby Zvecan.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 12-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After an unprecedented, multilateral military intervention in Kosovo succeeded in expelling Serb forces and enabling the return home of more than a million displaced persons, the international community embarked on the ambitious, long-term project of securing, rebuilding, and establishing the rule of law in Kosovo, while setting the territory on the path to self-governance. Visionary promises were made to the people of Kosovo, and careful planning was undertaken at NATO and United Nations headquarters and in many European capitals. But six months into the mission, the international community has so far not been able to deliver on its promises. No Kosovars of any ethnicity feel secure, tens of thousands of people remain without adequate shelter as winter sets in, civil registration has yet to get underway, there is as yet no agreed-upon, functional system of justice, and criminals – including suspected war criminals – continue to operate with effective impunity.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 10-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: More than four months have passed since the start of the deployment of the United Nations in Kosovo. While first efforts were concentrated on the creation of a secure environment and the distribution of humanitarian aid, Civil Administration, the pillar of UNMIK which plays the role of a government, has been slow in reaching the local level.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The NATO intervention in Serbia and the indictment of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have created openings within Serbian society and exposed cleavages within the regime that should be rapidly exploited to hasten Milosevic's departure and bring about genuine political change. The loss of Kosovo, the destruction resulting from the bombing, and the refusal of the international community to rebuild Serbia until Milosevic is out of power have occasioned widespread despair among Serbs who have come to view their country's future under its present leadership as a dead end.
  • Topic: NATO, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: This paper offers a brief guide to the leading indigenous political organisations and personalities in Kosovo/Kosova. The authority of the international civil and military presence in Kosovo rests on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999. Under international law no other authority enjoys any legitimacy until the UN administration grants it.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 08-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Just under a year ago a nervous Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic warned the world that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic was preparing to trigger a new Balkan war by launching a campaign of violence against the tiny republic of Montenegro. Djukanovic was right about Milosevic's intent, but wrong about the target. In March of this year, the dictator struck against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo and unleashed the barbarous Operation Horseshoe.
  • Topic: Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Balkans, Albania, Montenegro
  • Publication Date: 07-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Repercussions from Kosovo continue to shake Republika Srpska (RS), and may prove a catalyst for further transformation and reform. The war's collateral damage included severance of trade ties with the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY); a dramatic rise in unemployment; a sharp drop in production and state revenues; and a tide of Serbian refugees from FRY into RS.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, Migration, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: On 28 June 1989, Slobodan Milosevic stood on the site of the ancient Serb battleground of Kosovo Polje and delivered the speech that was to propel him to prominence and the leadership of. Ten years on, Milosevic remains firmly entrenched in power. He has survived three Balkan wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, economic sanctions, 78 days of NATO air strikes, and an indictment on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Balkans, Croatia
  • Publication Date: 06-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The ICG Balkans Report N°66, "Kosovo: Let's Learn from Bosnia", of 17 May 1999 looked at how experience in Bosnia could be useful in Kosovo, and also at the extent to which the Rambouillet agreement of 23 February 1999 resembled the Dayton agreement of 21 November 1995.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After almost three and a half years working in Bosnia to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement, the international community will soon face the prospect of establishing a presence in Kosovo. The model proposed at Rambouillet was very similar to that set up at Dayton, but the situation now is very different. This report examines the international effort in Bosnia to see whether lessons can be drawn for Kosovo and other possible future international administrations.
  • Topic: Security, Migration, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 05-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The limits of the West's resolve to enforce a solution to the crisis in the Balkans were freshly exposed last week at a press briefing by U.S. President Bill Clinton. Speaking to reporters on 6 May 1999, Clinton admitted that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic might well survive the current crisis and remain in power in Belgrade as long as he accepted the West's terms for a settlement in Kosovo and permitted refugees to return home. He also made clear that a NATO invasion of Yugoslavia from the north, the one option open to the West that would facilitate the forcible removal of the Milosevic regime and with it the greatest single source of instability in the Balkans, was something "our (NATO's) goals never entailed".
  • Topic: International Relations, NATO, Diplomacy, Human Rights, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: NATO's strategy in the war with Yugoslavia over Kosovo isn't working. As the Alliance's bombing campaign enters its fourth week, it is Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic who is still winning the political game.
  • Topic: Security, NATO, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 04-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The early part of 1999 has been turbulent for Republika Srpska. Political life has been unsettled by three separate and hardly-related crises: the decision of the High Representative to remove from office the RS President Nikola Poplasen; the decision of International Arbitrator Roberts Owen to give the municipality of Brcko neither to RS nor to the Federation but to both as a condominium; and the NATO air-strikes on the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY).
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, NATO, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The Kosovo peace talks, held at Rambouillet (France) under the auspices of the sixnation Contact Group, have been suspended until 15 March 1999 after a provisional agreement was reached on granting substantial autonomy for Kosovo. However, neither the Kosovo Albanians nor Serbian delegates have yet signed the draft peace accord, which calls for a NATO peacekeeping mission in Kosovo, and in which the "final status" issue has been deliberately fudged. The immense complexities of the Kosovo question were dramatically illustrated at Rambouillet by the last-minute refusal of the Albanian delegation to sign the accord, due to pressure from a hardline faction of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) which refused to attend the talks.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 03-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: While last spring saw conflict erupt in Kosovo's central Drenica region when Serbian security forces attacked and killed residents of the villages of Prekaz and Likoshan, this spring brings the possibility of peace. The proposed deployment of a 28,000-strong international force for Kosovo will dramatically and immediately halt the sporadic low-intensity battles between Serbian security forces and ethnic Albanian rebels that have displaced 300,000 people. This peace will allow refugees to return to their homes, and provide the day-to-day sense of security on the ground that will enable Kosovo's transition to self-government.
  • Topic: International Relations, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, Treaties and Agreements, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 09-1999
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Sarajevo's Bosniac authorities were given the opportunity to demonstrate their much-vaunted commitment to multi-ethnicity when, on 3 February 1998, representatives of the state of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia), the Federation of Bosnia Herzegovina (Federation), Sarajevo Canton and the international community adopted the Sarajevo Declaration. The Declaration stressed the importance of the Bosnian capital “as a model of coexistence and tolerance for the rest of the country” and made it clear that: “The international community will condition continuation of assistance for Sarajevo on fulfilment of the benchmarks set out in this Declaration and on adequate progress toward meeting the 1998 goal of at least 20,000 minority returns.”
  • Topic: Demographics, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 12-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In the past few weeks the Belgrade authorities have sacked a number of key public officials. The two most prominent were security chief Stanisic and head of the army general staff Perisic. The firings triggered much speculation in the international media about the stability of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic's regime. According to one interpretation, the sackings signal a fundamental weakness in government ranks, with Milosevic moving pre-emptively to oust potential rivals to his authority. Alternatively, the sackings may represent an attempt by the Yugoslav President to further consolidate his power base and to effectively rule with the backing of Yugoslavia's military and security establishments. Both Stanisic and Perisic were seen as Milosevic's opponents on several key policies, notably Belgrade's handling of relations with the Kosovo Albanians. Both Perisic and Stanisic, reportedly moderates not favouring the use of severe force against the Kosovars, have been replaced by Milosevic "yes-men" regarded as proponents of a violent resolution of the Kosovo question. If this is even in part the case, Stanisic's and Perisic's sackings do not necessary reflect a weakness in Milosevic's rule. Instead, the sackings may only signal Milosevic's resolve to return to force as a means of regional problem solving.
  • Topic: Security, Diplomacy, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 11-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The International Crisis Group has decided to publish the report, prepared by the Public International Law and Policy Group, as a contribution to the debate on the future status of Kosovo. The views expressed in the paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the position of the International Crisis Group.
  • Topic: Economics, Politics, Sovereignty
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: During the past six months, Serbia's southern, predominantly Albanian province of Kosovo has emerged from international obscurity to become the world's most reported conflict zone. That said, the history of ethnic animosity in this contested land, the complexity of competing Serb and Albanian claims and the speed with which the fighting has escalated make it difficult to keep up with the events, let alone analyse and try to understand them. What had, on 1 January 1998, been a long-standing ethnic Albanian political aspiration, namely an independent Kosovo, had evolved, by 1 March 1998, into the military objective of a popular insurrection and had by, 1 July 1998, become part of the cause of an impending humanitarian catastrophe with hundreds of thousands of people displaced by the fighting.
  • Topic: International Relations, Human Rights, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 08-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: As the one former Yugoslav republic which has managed to keep itself out of the wars of Yugoslav dissolution, Macedonia has often appeared to outsiders as a beacon of hope in the Balkans. However, inter-ethnic relations in the young state -- in particular those between ethnic Albanians, who make up at least 23 percent of the population, and ethnic Macedonians -- are poor. Moreover, as fighting between ethnic Albanian separatists and the Serbian police and military escalates in the neighbouring, southern Serbian province of Kosovo, relations between communities within Macedonia are deteriorating alarmingly. As a result, Macedonia and its entire population, irrespective of their ethnic origins, stand to be among the greatest long-term losers of the Kosovo conflict. Moreover, in the event of fighting and large numbers of refugees spilling over from Kosovo -- an entirely plausible eventuality unless the killing is halted -- Macedonia is poorly prepared and the country's very existence may be imperilled.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, NATO, Education, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 07-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Relations between Albanians from Albania proper and their ethnic kin over the border in Kosovo are complex. Despite obvious linguistic and cultural ties, the political division of the past 80 years and Albania's isolation during the communist period have caused the two communities to evolve in a very different fashion. Moreover, the arrival of Kosovo Albanians in Albania in recent years and their influence in some unsavoury spheres of the economy have caused resentment among Albanians from Albania proper, most of whom are too preoccupied with the daily struggle for existence to devote much time or thought to national questions. The upsurge in violence in Kosovo and the influx of several thousand Kosovo Albanian refugees have, nevertheless, reminded Albanians of the links between the communities and sympathy for their ethnic kin in Kosovo is especially strong in the border areas among the Ghegs, the northern Albanians.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, Arms Control and Proliferation, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Albania, Tirana
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: When on 15 May 1998 Slobodan Milosevic met with Ibrahim Rugova it was the first time that the Yugoslav president had met with an Albanian leader from Kosovo in close to a decade. The event, heralding weekly talks between Kosovo's Albanians and the Serbian government, has thus been hailed as a "dramatic turn-about" and "a first step toward peace in Kosovo". However, the fact that, after so many years of stale-mate, some kind of negotiations have begun, should not in itself be a reason for euphoria. Key to the success of any talks is the framework within which they take place. Negotiations concerning the future status of Kosovo may, as a result of the concessions offered to the Yugoslav president, have got off to an inauspicious start.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kosovo, an impoverished region at the southern tip of Serbia, is drawing ineluctably closer to war with each passing day. By night, men smuggle guns and ammunition from Albania to an Albanian militia determined to wrest Kosovo away from Serbia. The militia's fighters, angered by years of Serbian police violence against Kosovo's 90-percent Albanian majority, have killed Serbian police officers and murdered Albanians deemed to be loyal to the Serbian state.
  • Topic: Economics, Ethnic Conflict, Politics, War
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Serbia, Albania