david on Wed, 4 Mar 1998 14:42:42 +0100 (MET)

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b.      Students' movement
The Kosovo Students' Independent Union have been threatening to
take over tthe university buildings ever since the Rome
agreement was signed in September 1996. The first
demonstrations-protest walks on the main street o f
Pristina-started in August 1997. On 1 October 1997, against
Dr. Rugova's wishes, the students held a peaceful
demonstration in Pristina (observed by 13 diplomats who
came from Belgrade) and in three other towns. The m ain
demonstration was attended by some 20,000 students, some of
whom were aassaulted by the Serbian police. There were two
more demonstrations: on  27 October, which passed without
incident, and on 30 December, which was again violently
repressed by the police.

There is no reason to think
that anyone other then the students and faculty members
are organising these demonstrations. They are obviously the
result of frustration with the non-implementation of the
Rome agreement on  education. The poor public relations
work of the Students' Union (scheduling the demonstrations
on days when it is very unlikely to get internati nal
media attention, thus wasting good opportunities for
exposure) would  suggest that this is a spontaneous

c.      Kosovo Liberation Army
>The first mention of the existence of the Kosovo Liberation
Army, known under it's Albanian acronym UCK, goes back to February
1996. For almost two years UCK appeared to be a mythical
group, mostly mentioned at the tria ls of Kosovars accused
of terrorism and since evidence in these trials wa s
dubious so were the references to UCK. In November 1997,
however, at a funeral of a Kosovar who died in crossfire
between Serb police and UCK,  three UCK members appeared in
public for the first time. Two of them took off their
masks, one addressed the crowd saying that "the UCK is the
onl y force which is fighting for the liberation and
national unity of Kosovo ". The 20,000-strong crowd cheered
them and shouted "UCK! UCK!". The th ree men eventually
left the funeral by car, undisturbed; witnesses say th at
they are from the region. There are some reports of UCK
fundraising a nd recruitment abroad, with advertisements
reportedly placed in the Scand inavian press.

In statements issued in early December 1997, UCK claimed
responsibility for several recent terrorist attacks,
although at least one such incident, a plane crash,
appeared to be an accident rather than the result of terr
orism. Some of the acts that have been blamed on (and/or
claimed by) UCK ccould even have been staged by the Serb
authorities, but the idea that " finally someone stood up
in our name" may be taking root.

LDK leader Dr. Rugova refuses to recognise the existence of
UCK. His depu ty Fehmi Agani made a statement acknowledging
that it exists and is a result of the radicalisation of Kosovars due to
the occupation by Serbia and tthe international community's

Adem Demaci, chairman of the PPK,
acknowledged that UCK is a reality and  made public in
December 1997 an open letter to UCK in which he appealed f
or a three months' moratorium on violent actions to give the
Serbian regi me another chance to reconsider its attitude
towards Kosovo and to allow  the international community,
especially the United States, to open a dial ogue between
Pristina and Belgrade. Given the events of mid-January
1998, ((the killing of a Serbian municipal council member),
it seems the appeal for a moratorium had no effect.

There is no unanimity among observers and actors on the
scene about what  the public appearance of UCK means but it
has at least shown that LDK is  not alone on the political
scene. As of early 1998, UCK was still an enigma. The
organisation's size remains unknown and it is still far from
clear whether it is an organised "army" or a loose group
of Kosovars carrying weapons. Either way, the impatient
and idle Kosovar youth is very likely to find the idea of
a guerrilla movement more attractive then the eternal
waiting for Western intervention to deliver independence and
economic recovery to Kosovo.

In the first few
weeks of 1998 there have been some signs that the pressu re
for renewed negotiations to find a political solution to the
crisis may be building and broadening: the Serbs from
Kosovo demanded from the Ser bian authorities that they
open a dialogue with Kosovars and, suprisingly , the
Yugoslav army called for a political rather than a military


The international community has
consistently voiced its concern over the  Kosovo issue,
especially the human rights situation. One of several condi
tions for lifting the outer wall of sanctions against
Yugoslavia is that  the Belgrade government restores the
province's autonomy and ensures equa lity between the
different ethnic groups in Kosovo.

The final
document of the Bonn Peace Implementation Council's
conference  held in December 1997, presented the most
united international stance on  Kosovo to date. It said
that the Council "takes note with increasing concern of
escalating ethnic tensions (...) in Kosovo and other areas.
This h as the potential further to destabilise the region.
The Council calls upo n those concerned to refrain from
activities that might exacerbate existi ng difficulties and
the strive for mutually acceptable solutions through
responsible dialogue." This statement was the only mention
of Kosovo in  Bonn, yet it provoked the Yugoslav delegation
to storm out of the meeting ostensibly on the ground that
the Council was interfering in an internal Yugoslav

In January 1998, the International Helsinki
Federation called for a "Dayton 2" meeting on the future
of Kosovo. US and German diplomats visiting Y ugoslavia
have called for a dialogue. A spokesperson of the French
Foreig n Ministry has repeated the same message. The OSCE
sent an unofficial mi ssion of Polish, Danish and Norwegian
ambassadors to Belgrade which was not received by the
Serbian authorities in Kosovo. Meanwhile, the OSCE's s
pecial envoy to Kosovo, Max van der Stoel has yet to be
granted a visa by the Yugoslav government. Over the past
year four major private conferen ces on Kosovo were held
(in New York, Vienna, Ulcin and Athens), none of  which had
any representation of the two sides to the dispute.

>The US decided in December 1997 to maintain the "outer wall
of sanctions" uuntil the end of 1998. This means that the
US will continue to block Yug oslavia's entry into the
International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Ban k, the
United Nations, the OSCE and other international
organisations and institutions. The "outer wall of
sanctions" will remain in place until  the authorities in
Belgrade meet the following demands:

* co-operation
with The Hague war crimes tribunal and the fulfilment of t
he other articles of the Dayton peace agreement;
*securing autonomy and full equality for the ethnic Albanian
population  in Kosovo;
* the completion of the division of assets among the
successor states of  the former Yugoslavia;
* democratisation in Serbia based on OSCE recommendations; and
* official recognition of the presidential elections in Montenegro.
(This demand was added to the list in December 1997 and by
extending the list  even further, the US government made
this weapon even less flexible as a  tool to solve the
Kosovo issue.

The status quo will not last. The
impatience of the Kosovars and the fear oof the Serbs
living in Kosovo of a possible wave of terrorism can only i
ncrease tensions. The risk is that a series of tit-for-tat
incidents cou ld bring the simmering conflict to a boiling
point, despite the stated no n-violent character of the
Kosovars' strategy to obtain independence and  the
preference for peaceful solutions declared by the Kosovo

>Theoretically, the options for the status of Kosovo range
from the province gaining total independence to
maintaining the status quo. In practice, however, the
scope for common ground is severely restricted as long as
Kosovar leaders maintain that independence is the only
solution acceptable to the people of Kosovo.

>Broad options:
a) Independence: granting full
independence to Kosovo would require a red rawing of
international borders, contrary to the international
community' s approach to the region. Adding to Serb
concerns is the prospect of an  independent Kosovo merging
with Albania to form a Greater Albania.

b)Administrative reforms: Some Serbian politicians (Dobrica
Cosic), acad emics (Alexandar Despic) and ad hoc expert
groups have proposed administr ative changes that would
divide Kosovo into two regions. According to so me
proposals, such a regionalisation might be part of a larger
administra tive reform to be implemented across the whole
of Yugoslavia. Reactions in Serbia and in Kosovo have
until now been negative.

c) The "third republic"
option: Granting Kosovo the status of "third repu blic"
within rump Yugoslavia (alongside Serbia and Montenegro) is
another ppotential solution, one with the advantage of not
changing the external  borders of the country, while
granting Kosovo equal status with Serbia. This solution
may become acceptable to the parties as a middle ground,
alt hough until now all sides (Serbs from Belgrade, Serbs
from Kosovo and Kosovars) have rejected it, the secretary
general of LDK simply saying that  it is unacceptable.

d) Autonomy: Autonomy within rump Yugoslavia (with
greater prerogatives than the ones lost in 1989) is
sometimes mentioned by outside observers as aanother
option, but it has found no favour with the Kosovar
leadership.  An LDK vice-chairman said "The offer of
autonomy is no offer at all. It  has been outdated for a
long time, and, moreover, it would not guarantee  the
respect of Kosovo Albanians' civic and national rights."

e) An international protectorate: this temporary
solution is constantly c alled for by Dr. Rugova, but it is
very unlikely that the international community would be
willing to engage in another scenario similar to Bosnia 2E
It is also unlikely that the Belgrade authorities would
accept any foreign presence, no matter how temporary, or
other form of intervention of this nature in what they
consider their internal affairs.

Clearly there is no magic solution.
A combination of confidence-building mmeasures and
promotion of dialogue and negotiations are obvious steps,
but major pressure will have to be applied to Serbia if
Belgrade is to act tto end human rights violations in
Kosovo and accept international involvement in solving the
Kosovo problem.

The possibilities of exercising
such pressure through international bodie s-be they
political (such as OSCE, High Commissioner for Minorities,
UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights) or financial (such as
the World Bank or IMF)-is limited because the "outer wall
of sanctions" excludes FRY from all tthese organisations.
The status of FRY at the UN is a so-called "empty  seat
solution" even though UN humanitarian agencies (UNHCR,
UNICEF) are operating in FRY. For pressure to be
effectively applied through internat ional institutions,
the conditions on which the "outer wall of sanctions" iis
dependent would have to be broken into separate items,
instead of bei ng presented always as a package.

>ICG proposes the following further recommendations:

>a.     Negotiations
The collapse of the Rome
agreement on education had a profoundly negative eeffect on
the prospects for a solution in Kosovo. It undermined
confidence in the very idea of negotiation, with both
sides accusing each other  of not being a worthy partner.
There are now efforts to revive the Rome  agreement and the
prospects of its implementation may be better because o f
the combined effect of students' demonstrations and the
coming in the open of the Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK). If
the education agreement remai ns unimplemented, it will be
difficult to rebuild trust in the negotiatin g process but
it can be done. Secret negotiations should be encouraged, w
ith no media attention, no intermediaries that would like to
use the event for their own promotion. This would have to
be something along the line s of the Oslo Peace Process.
For the participants such a modus operandi w ould reduce
the risk of being blamed in the event that the negotiations
fail, and make it easier to present and sell concessions
as part of a broader package. A non-governmental
organisation or a very neutral government sshould prepare
the logistics and some minimal procedural matters.

>b.     Increased contacts

All kinds of contacts
between the two ethnic communities should be encouraged.
Diplomats should practice parallel diplomacy by inviting
Albanians aand Serbs together to events, and strengthen
their Kosovo desks by bringing in people with the
knowledge of Albanian. (The USIS office in Pristin a and
the political desk of the British Embassy are seen by the
Kosovars  as the best informed diplomatic missions).
Non-government organisations and UN agencies should
continue to explore every avenue that can bring people of
the two communities together.

c.      Support for
education and health service
The parallel systems of education and health service set
up by Kosovo Albanians
are clearly not satisfactory. The Kosovars are making the
best out oof adverse circumstances and their effort is
admirable. All of the dozen non-governmental organisations
operating from Pristina and dealing with  health,
nutrition, education and construction direct their efforts
and funds to supporting services that benefit mainly the
Kosovo Albanians. Given the demographics and the
discrimination practised by the Serbian regime , this is
the right policy and should be continued.

financial assistance to the parallel Kosovo education and
health s ystems would, however, contribute to further
isolating the two communitie s and would reinforce the
Kosovars belief that their parallel system is s ustainable,
which it is not. Instead, the international community should
 use the instrument of aid conditionality-the attachment of
tough conditions to the granting of financial
assistance-to create links between the two systems and
benefit both. For example, funding could be used to renova
te schools and health institutions on the condition that
they are used by both communities.

d.      Media

The group of journalists around the independent
Pristina daily Koha Ditore offers the most balanced source
of information for the Albanian-speakin g population of
Kosovo. They should be supported in their efforts to obt
ain a licence and create their own television and/or radio
station. It is necessary to have the most influential
media in the most professional hands.

There is a
surprisingly high number of satellite dishes in Kosovo, so
the audience for any satellite broadcast would be
significant. To offer Koso vars world news broadcast in
their language may bring them a reality check. They may
understand that there are other urgent priorities on the
inte rnational scene, other nations suffering. This may not
be a consolation,  but it may at least help Kosovars
realise that they need to take their fate into their own
hands and come up with more realistic demands and expec
tations. A major international news provider, such as for
CNN, could be  asked to donate the right to rebroadcast
news programmes on the satellite llink used by Tirana TV.
(Some East European countries have a CNN-translated news
service and it is always a popular broadcast).

>e.     Serbian and Yugoslav Elections
The overwhelming majority of Kosovars do not vote in Serbian and
Yugoslav elections because they consider that they take
place in a "foreign count ry". While this strictly-observed
boycott shows discipline and unity, th ere may be
advantages for Kosovars in switching tactics. Diplomats and
NG Os should suggest to Kosovars that they may gain more
than they may lose  by participating in the vote. There are
examples of other nations in Eastern Europe where
transition was made easier because there was compromise  on
all sides; the first semi-democratic elections in
Czechoslovakia, Hung ary and Poland, for instance, resulted
from deals struck with "the enemy" , they were neither free
nor fair but the opposition accepted them becaus e nothing
else was achievable at the time. There are many advantages
of voting, even in the absence of independence:

*elected does not mean sitting, elected seats may be used to
paralyse the work of the parliament and prevent radicals
from taking all 36 Kosovo seats in the elections so
* by being in the Parliament the Kosovar
delegates could gain something,  play other parties one
against the other and at the same time force Belgr ade to
woo them with concessions, negotiations and possibly
substantive a greements;
* by having all their delegates elected (which would
probably be the case ) the Kosovars could show their strength and unity;
*this would bring precious experience and exposure to Kosovar

f.      Kosovar parallel elections
In spite of the more or less open disapproval of the
United States, Kosovar elections should proceed as planned
for 22 March 1998, if only to reconfirm the mandate of LDK
and Dr. Rugova. The electoral campaign would be  an
opportunity for the Kosovars to become involved in a
peaceful politica l process and make political and
patriotic statements without reaching ou t to violence.

g.      Students
Positioned between two more
extreme political alternatives (the passivity of the LDK
or the violence of the UCK), the Kosovar students' movement
m ay provide the best basis on which to build an effective,
moderate opposition capable of putting forward a credible
and peaceful plan of action.

Kosovar students should be encouraged to increase
their contacts and take aadvice from students in Eastern
Europe more than in the West. The modus  operandi, the
concrete actions undertaken by young people under totalitar
ian regimes are more likely to provide useful examples for
the Kosovars than the more distant experiences of students
in Western societies. They should also be encouraged to
get in touch and collaborate with students from

The Union of Students desperately needs
help with public relations. It makes contradictory
statements, schedules demonstrations for days when media
coverage will be minimal and issues lengthy declarations
that are written in incomprehensible English. The Union
also suffers from too much bureaucracy. Unless it becomes
a more effective vehicle of mobilisation, there is a risk
that the Union will turn into a younger version of the pol
itical parties in the sense of expecting too much from the
international  community and doing too little.

International Crisis Group
Kosovo0D >17February 1998


We want to head off crises before they
develop, rather than react to crises after they
Senator George Mitchell, ICG Board of Trustees

The International Crisis Group (ICG) is a
multinational non-governmental  organisation founded in
1995 to reinforce the capacity and resolve of the
iinternational community to head off crises before they
develop into full -blown disasters. ICG board members -
many of them high profile leaders  in the fields of
politics, business and the media - are committed to using
their influence to help focus the attention of governments,
internation al organisations and the private sector on
impending crises and to build  support for early preventive

Since February 1996 ICG has been engaged in
Bosnia and Herzegovina in sup port of the international
effort to implement the Dayton Peace Agreement. BBased in
Bosnia, the ICG staff have monitored progress towards
implementation of the peace accord, identifying potential
obstacles, and advocating strategies for overcoming them.
ICG's priority has been to assist the iinternational
community and to pre-empt threats to the peace process bef
ore they have a chance to re-ignite the conflict that has
ravaged the region since 1991.

Other ICG
reports can be accessed through the Website at:

        International Crisis Group
        Hamdije Kresevljakovica, 18
        Sarajevo, BiH
        Phone: (387-71) 447-845, 447-846, 200-447
        Fax:    (387-71) 200-448=0D
        E-mail: 100034.2220@compuserve.com=0D

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