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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