Friday, October 07, 2005

BBC NEWS | Europe | Kosovo set for 'breakaway' talks

BBC NEWS Europe Kosovo set for 'breakaway' talks

Is Kosovo ready for independence?

I definitely think it is. But, remember this is a tricky question. How do you measure whether a country is ready to be independent? There are generally acceptable standards of democracy, human rights and rule of law which would be expected from new country in Europe. If we look at these standards in the region, may be none of the Balkan countries are "ready to be independent" (including Greece). I am not gonna go further into detail on this. So, what matters is that the Kosovars have proven that they are able to run a state.

Kosovo has had the smoothest transitions of governments in the region. Some of the highest turn-outs in elections. And, the rights of the minorities are guaranteed in its constitution, including set aside seats in the Parliament and Ministries in the Government (the only such case of positive discrimination in the Balkans), among other things. All this has been achieved after going through a decade of apartheid/segregation and a devastating war with unimaginable psychological consequences.

Kosovo actually is a "non-independent" state right now. In the sense that, the Belgrade government has no authority there whatsoever. So, Kosovo does function as a seperate quasi-state entity. It is a premature baby, but it is born. If a premature baby is born, is it better to try to put him/her back in the womb, or to help him/her become strong so it can survive? Returning to Belgrade's authority would be like putting a baby back into the womb (obviously against the baby's wish).

What would an independent Kosovo mean to security?

If Kosovo becomes independent, Serbia (which has one of the biggest military in the Balkans, whith a not so decent past, let me remind you) will get a clear message from the international community. That means Serbia will stop trying to ignite unrest by any means in Kosovo hoping that the international community will agree to sent Kosovo back under Serbian rule "to restore order". Independence will help cool down many heads on all sides, since there will be no major reason to argue over. And nobody wants hot-blood in the Balkans!

Since the lack of international recognition has caused (or help aggravate) many problems in Kosovo, such as the ailing economy, restriction on freedom of movement etc, independence would help solve them. We know that it is those problems that cause dissatisfaction which results in instability.

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