BELGRADE After the violence, the secession of the north of Kosovo is today more likely. And the United Nations should regain control over the area to bring peace back. Gerard Gallucci is an acute observer of the situation in Kosovo, with 25 years of experience at the Department of State and a former UN regional representative in MItrovica.
How do you judge the decision of Pristina to regain control over the border crossing with Serbia?
It was a provocation, a way to prevent diplomacy and negotiations. It probably had some sort of quiet support from the major international supporters of Kosovo. It was a mistake.
“Cui prodest”, who gains from all this mess?
I can’t say for sure, and see that the US Ambassador in Serbia denied that the US encouraged this move. But it’s hard to believe that PM Thaci would move in such a provocative manner without some sort of encouragement or a blind eye from the US Ambassador in Pristina.
Do you think Kosovo authorities acted alone, or they got some “green light” from the international community? From which countries?
At the UN Security Council, the USA and the UK tried to prevent Serbia from taking this to the SC. So, it makes me wonder what Washington and London have to hide.
It seems that UK and the US are trying to postpone the UN Security Council on Kosovo. Why?
For some reason, US, UK and Germany have consistently been of the opinion that with some strong use of force in the North, the Serbs of the North will surrender to Pristina. They tried that in 2008, they try it now again and it’s not working and it’s making the situation difficult. And it’s not leading the Serbs to surrender. So, why those three countries have taken this position? The important questions is if they will learn the lesson this time.
PM Thaci spoke about a “no going back” situation. Do you think we’ll see an escalation of the violence in the near future?
I think this is a clear danger. With a policeman killed in the North, with bloodshed, something that peacekeepers always try to avoid, this provocation has forced Serbia to stand up and take this to the UN, and on the other side you have Thaci not baking down, making difficult for any negotiation in the near future. Hopefully Thaci will not force any more action in the North that would make things worse.
Secession is now a realistic option?
The actions of Pristina and the support of the Nato forces make partition more likely, because it has hardened the line between Serbs and Albanians. It’s time perhaps for the Un to take over the North and send its peacekeepers back, because this is maybe the only way to keep peace until there is a political settlement.