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  • Publication Date: 12-2007
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Kosovo's transition to the status of conditional, or supervised, independence has been greatly complicated by Russia's firm support of Serbia's refusal to accept that it has lost its one-time province. Recognition of conditional independence has broad international, and certainly European Union (EU) and American, support. Under threat of Moscow's veto, the Security Council will not revoke its Resolution 1244 of 1999 that acknowledged Serbian sovereignty while setting up the UN Mission (UNMIK) to prepare Kosovo for self-government pending a political settlement on its future status. Nor will the Council be allowed to approve the plan for a conditionally independent Kosovo devised by the Secretary-General's special representative, Martti Ahtisaari, earlier this year and authorise the EU-led missions meant to implement that plan.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Development, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Kosovo, Moscow, Serbia
  • 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: 10-2005
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: International Crisis Group
  • Abstract: Although there are some shoals still to be navigated, the narrow pro-independence victory in Montenegro's 21 May 2006 referendum should, on balance, increase rather than diminish stability in the western Balkans. It is in the interest of the European Union (EU), now that its previous policy of keeping Serbia and Montenegro together has run its course, to welcome the new state and speed its accession to international institutions. Podgorica still faces significant challenges associated with transition, but none should affect regional stability, and all can be resolved as the country moves forward with the Stabilisation and Association process towards EU membership. Given the positive international response to the referendum, Montenegro can aspire to becoming a “boring” country moving toward integration with Europe. But its opposition, and Belgrade, need to be persuaded not to renege on their commitments to the EU to accept the referendum result, lest this generate new uncertainties in the region as a Kosovo status decision approaches.
  • Topic: Conflict Resolution, International Relations, Peace Studies
  • Political Geography: Europe, Caucasus, Kosovo, Serbia, 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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