Kosovo. According to CountryAAH, Pristina is the capital city of Kosovo. UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari presented his plan for Kosovo’s future status in February. According to the plan, Kosovo would gain “supervised independence” with continued international presence and strong protection for the Serbian and Roma minorities. The Kosovo Albanian majority welcomed the plan and the parliament in Priština approved it by an overwhelming margin. But the Serbs were strongly critical and the Serbian parliament in Belgrade voted against the plan. The province was still formally part of Serbia, but in reality a UN protectorate.
Ahtisaari formally handed over the issue of Kosovo’s future status to the UN Security Council at the end of March. The United States and Britain expressed support for Ahtisaari’s plan, while Russia was sharply critical. Serbian President Boris Tadić said that independence for Kosovo was unthinkable. Negotiations continued under the auspices of the UN, from the summer through a mediator troop of diplomats from the EU, the US and Russia. A final date was set for December 10, but it was already clear in advance that the conditions for a settlement were lacking. The Albanians adhered to the demand for independence and said in the autumn that they intended to proclaim their own state shortly. The Serbs, willing to approve far-reaching self-government, warned that unilaterally proclaimed independence would cause instability throughout the Balkans.
- According to abbreviationfinder: KS is the 2-letter acronym for the country of Kosovo.
In November, parliamentary and municipal elections were held in Kosovo. The Serbian minority boycotted the elections in order not to give legitimacy to a government that was expected to proclaim independence. The biggest was the Kosovo Democratic Party (PDK) with former guerrilla commander Hashim Thaçi as leader. The formerly dominant Kosovo Democratic Alliance (LDK) came in second place.
The trial of Kosovo’s former prime minister Ramush Haradinaj began in March at the UN War Crimes Tribunal in The Hague. Haradinaj, who was the commander of the then Kosovo Albanian guerrilla UCK in the late 1990s, and two others were indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Haradinaj had resigned two years earlier and voluntarily surrendered to the court.
Milošević’s rise to power in Serbia in September 1987 increased tensions in Kosovo. In 1988 Milošević promoted a provision that conferred the status of the official language of Kosovo on Serbian, banning the use of Albanian in official documents. Between 1988 and 1989 the mass demonstrations of the Serbs and the Kosovar Albanians alternated, which reached the highest point in the strike of the Albanian miners of Trepča (February 1989): the first wanted the abrogation of the autonomy of the Kosovo and the Vojvodina, the latter wanted the Kosovo republic. In 1989 Milošević, president of the Serbian Republic, limited the autonomy of the Kosovo and in 1990 canceled it. Mass expulsions from work occurred, schools, universities and social services for Albanians were closed. From 1991 to 1995 a strong non-violent resistance movement was formed in Kosovo and a parallel Albanian state was born, led by I. Rugova, president of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK, Lidhja Demokratike and Kosovës ). Following the unofficial referendum on the Kosovo sovereign and independent State, the benefit of which is expressed on 99, 87 % of voters, on 19 October 1991 was proclaimed the Kosovo Republic as an independent and sovereign state, however, recognized as such only from Tirana.
The coexistence of the official Serbian state and the ‘parallel state’ of the Albanians of Kosovo on the same territory began to crack at the end of 1995 and it was precisely the Dayton agreements on Bosnia and Herzegovina that made evident the fragility of this coexistence. The LDK was not invited to the negotiating table and the question of Kosovo was mentioned only once in the final treaty, in the part dedicated to the necessary preconditions for the abolition of the sanctions against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY). Furthermore, after the Dayton agreements, the European Union recognized the FRY and Germany initiated the repatriation procedures to Serbia for over one hundred thousand Kosovar political emigrants of ethnic Albanian origin. The succession of these events caused divisions within the unitary front of the political forces of the Kosovo: in particular, Rugova’s non-violent resistance was challenged and an active protest movement on the model of the Palestinian. On the scene also appeared an underground movement of the Albanians of Kosovo who, with violent methods, began the struggle against the Serbian regime. Discontent with the Serbian repression was creeping, and after the killing of a Kosovar student by a Serb in April 1996, spontaneous protests, not controlled by Rugova’s party, began. At the end of 1996 and throughout 1997, there were numerous attacks claimed by several groups, from which the K Liberation Army was born (UÇK, Ushtria Çlirimtare and Kosovës ), an extremist faction that implemented a terrorist political strategy both against the Serbs and against the Albanians former leaders of the League of Communists or accused of being accomplices of the ‘Serbian enemy’. At the end of 1997, some rural areas of Kosovo, inhabited exclusively by the Albanian population, were under the control of the UÇK separatists. In early 1998 the tragedy of Drenica took place, a small region where Serbian police and paramilitary groups killed numerous Albanians. At the end of May Milošević accepted a first dialogue with the Albanians, but in September, despite the threat of bombing by NATO, both the Serbs and the Albanians of Kosovo violated the agreements imposed by the international community. The difficult compromise reached in October between Milošević and the United States special envoy for the former Yugoslavia, R. Holbrooke, also failed. On the field the clashes between the parties proceeded: on the one hand there were frequent murders of Albanesi del Kosovo, the arrests continued, the Serbian paramilitary forces were not withdrawn; on the other hand, there were numerous kidnappings by the UÇK.
At the same time, at the international level, the work of mediation continued.