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  • Publication Date: 10-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Southern Serbia's Albanian-majority Presevo Valley is one of the rare conflict resolution success stories in the former Yugoslavia. Outwardly, it is increasingly normal, with no major incidents in over three years. Yet, tensions linger: massive unemployment is still the single largest problem but the shadow of Kosovo's future status darkens the political landscape. How Kosovo's final status is determined in the next months will have a profound impact. If formal partition or large-scale violence accompanies independence, the peace could unravel; in a worst case scenario, ethnic cleansing in southern Serbia would be accompanied by significant, cross-boundary, two-way refugee flows. All parties – local Albanian politicians, the Serbian government and the international community – need to work with greater urgency on developing the region's economy and ensuring that developments in Kosovo do not disrupt its peaceful progress.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Serbia finally has a new government but one that is deeply divided between pro-Western and nationalist forces. Facing two difficult issues–Kosovo status and cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY)–its choice is between moving towards European integration or on to a more isolationist path. The government's composition, deep mistrust among many of its members and the parliament's nationalist majority suggest it will follow the second option. Pro-Western forces have suffered a significant setback, the government is vulnerable to manipulation by the security services and oligarchs, and the system of divided responsibility for the security services renders unlikely serious cooperation with the ICTY, especially the arrests of Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic. Although Kosovo independence could destabilise the government, it may surprise and last far longer and prove more stable than expected. The West should prepare for Serbia turning increasingly away from Europe and towards Moscow.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Nationalism
  • Political Geography: Europe, Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Yugoslavia, Moscow, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 05-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The debate on Kosovo's future status has reached a crucial point. The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has begun to consider elements of a draft resolution to determine the entity's future, which could be put to a vote in the coming weeks. The best way of ensuring regional peace and stability and lifting Kosovo out of an eight-year-long limbo, with a tired, temporary UN administration and an undeveloped, low-growth economy, is a resolution based squarely on the plan of UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. This would supersede UNSC Resolution 1244 (1999), define Kosovo's internal settlement and minority-protection mechanisms, mandate a new international presence and allow for supervised independence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, United Nations
  • Publication Date: 02-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: International policy in Bosnia is in disarray, and a new engagement strategy is required. The present High Representative, whose performance in 2006 has been much criticised, announced on 23 January 2007 that he would leave by mid-year. The Peace Implementation Council (PIC), to whom he reports and which is responsible for guiding implementation of the Dayton Peace Accords, meets on 27 February to decide the way forward. The most immediate issues to be resolved are whether the Office of the High Representative (OHR), and the robust 'Bonn powers' available to it, should continue in their present form.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Iowa
  • Publication Date: 09-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Conflict over Abkhazia, squeezed between the Black Sea and the Caucasus mountains, has festered since the 1992- 1993 fighting. Internationally recognised as part of Georgia and largely destroyed, with half the pre-war population forcibly displaced, Abkhazia is establishing the institutions of an independent state. In twelve years since the ceasefire, the sides have come no closer to a settlement despite ongoing UN-mediated negotiations.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Georgia, Abkhazia
  • Publication Date: 03-2006
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The last round of Cyprus's drawn-out peace process ended in April 2004 when the Greek Cypriot community, which had long advocated reunification of the divided island on a bicommunal and bizonal basis, overwhelmingly rejected the UN-sponsored “Annan Plan”, which provided for just that. At the same time on the northern side of the Green Line, the Turkish Cypriot community, in a major reversal of its traditional preference for secession, backed reunification. The failure of the referendum did not stop a still-divided Cyprus being admitted to membership of the EU a week later. Notwithstanding clear continuing support for the Annan Plan, or some variation of it, among all other members of the EU and the wider international community, the present situation remains stalemated.
  • Topic: International Relations, Peace Studies, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Turkey, Eastern Europe, Greece, United Nations, Cyprus
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The international community has properly decreed that Kosovo's final status must not involve division of its territory. But this declaration has not been followed by sufficient action. Belgrade's policy of pursuing some form of partition is far advanced in the restive northern city of Mitrovica and its hinterland, and a major security, political and financial effort is required to save the situation. Capacity should be built immediately, and its implementation should begin once the Contact Group has declared its support for Kosovo's future as a functional, conditionally independent state within its present borders.
  • Topic: International Relations, Security, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo
  • Publication Date: 09-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The international strategy for Bosnia and Herzegovina risks derailment. It consists entirely of preparing the country for eventual European Union (EU) membership in the hope that integration processes will overcome ethno-political divides and their intertwined economic and criminal interests. However, the police reform needed to begin negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU appears hopelessly blocked. With integration stalled, the international community will have to maintain its High Representative in Sarajevo for at least two to three years, if not longer, to head off dangers of new conflict unless it acts decisively in the next several weeks to confront the chief obstacles to reform: the main Bosnian Serb political party and the Belgrade government of Prime Minister Vojis lav Kostunica.
  • Topic: International Relations
  • Political Geography: Europe, Bosnia, Eastern Europe, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 03-2002
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: For more than a decade Serbia was the driving force behind much of the instability in the Balkans. Following the overthrow of Slobodan Milosevic on 5 October 2000, it was hoped that Serbia would promptly reform the external policies of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) that had caused such disruption. To date, these hopes have been substantially disappointed.
  • Topic: International Relations, Defense Policy, Government
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Balkans
  • Publication Date: 11-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: After six years and billions of dollars spent, peace implementation in Bosnia and Herzegovina remains far from complete. Reshaping (ërecalibratingí, in local jargon) the international community (IC) presence is vital if the peace process is to have a successful outcome.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 08-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Bosnia's economic reality is still bleak. After more than five years and five billion dollars of Dayton implementation, the country seems only at the beginning of an economic transition that should have begun in 1996.
  • Topic: International Relations, Development, Economics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Eastern Europe
  • 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: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: In late February, violence flared in Albanian-inhabited villages in northern Macedonia close to the border with Kosovo. In mid March, the violence spread to Macedonia's second largest city, Tetovo. The rebels claimed to be defending themselves against Macedonian security forces, i.e. their own government, and to be fighting for Albanian national rights in Macedonia. The coalition government in Skopje promptly raised the alarm, blaming Kosovo Albanian elements for exporting rebellion to Macedonia, and calling for the NATO-led forces in Kosovo (KFOR) to seal the border. The rebels claimed they were local Albanians, numbering 2,000 and recruiting dozens of volunteers from the surrounding area every day.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Kosovo, Macedonia, Albania
  • Publication Date: 04-2001
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The extraordinary parliamentary election to be held in Montenegro on 22 April 2001 is focused on the single issue of the republics future status, whether in a continued federal union with Serbia, or as an independent state. The election was called following the break-up of Montenegros ruling coalition at the end of December 2000 over this very question. Following the ouster of Slobodan Miloević as president of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) in October 2000, Montenegrin President Milo Djukanović opted to formalise the republics break with the FRY, which in practice had already ceased to function in any meaningful sense. On 28 December 2000 two of the parties in the ruling .For a Better Life. (D.B) coalition, Djukanovićs Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) and the Social Democratic party (SDP), adopted a new Platform on relations with Serbia, which envisaged a loose association of fully independent states. The anti independence Peoples Party (NS) promptly left the DŽB coalition, thus precipitating the forthcoming election.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Ethnic Conflict
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Serbia
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Despite five years and five billion US dollars of international community investment in Bosnia, the 11 November Bosnian elections demonstrated once again that international engagement has failed to provide a sustainable basis for a functioning state, capable of surviving an international withdrawal.
  • Topic: International Relations, Politics, Treaties and Agreements
  • Political Geography: United States, Bosnia, Eastern Europe
  • Publication Date: 04-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The assertion of the primacy of Serbian rights over all other peoples by Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic has driven nearly every nationality of the former Yugoslavia toward the Republic's exits. Even Montenegro, once Serbia's closest political and military ally, has not been immune from the turmoil that Slobodan Milosevic has created and has opted to distance itself from Belgrade's controlling influence.
  • Topic: International Relations, Non-Governmental Organization, Politics
  • Political Geography: Eastern Europe, Yugoslavia, Serbia, Montenegro
  • 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: To date, little attention has been paid to the role public administration plays in enforcing or violating the human rights and civil liberties of Bosnia and Herzegovina's citizens. Instead, much effort is concentrated on reforming the court system. Yet, the justice system in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) comprises far more than the court system. It also consists of "administrative justice," where small-scale rulings by seemingly minor municipal and cantonal officials in a variety of public administrative organs, exercise a huge influence on the lives and legal rights of ordinary citizens. Many of these rulings prevent citizens from exercising their legal rights and gaining access to due process of law.</p
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • 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: 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: 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: The donor countries hoped the governments of Bosnia and Herzegovina would use the promised $ 5.1 Billion post-war reconstruction aid to undertake the structural changes necessary to transition from communism to capitalism. As donor-aid diminished, private investment would replace it, stimulated by structural reforms. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. Indeed, interviews with Bosnian and foreign businessmen show a common reluctance to invest in BiH.
  • Topic: International Relations, Economics, International Trade and Finance, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • 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: 09-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: The stakes in Bosnia's forthcoming elections, the fifth internationally-supervised poll since the end of the war, could not be higher, for Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosnia) and also for the international community. Having invested enormous financial and political capital in the peace process, the international community expects a return on its investment. That is why leading international figures including US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright have entered the Bosnian political fray, urging Bosnians to back parties which "support Dayton" and threatening to withdraw aid if they do not. The elections will bring some changes so the event will be hailed as a triumph. However, they will not lay the ground for a self-sustaining peace process. That can only be achieved by political reform and, in particular, a redesign of the electoral system to guarantee Bosnians ethnic security.
  • Topic: International Relations, Foreign Policy, Ethnic Conflict, Government, Politics
  • Political Geography: Bosnia, Herzegovina, Eastern Europe
  • 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: 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