Thursday, November 09, 2006

Latest on Kosovo & Balkans

Embassy Newsweekly of Canada publishes some reactions to James Bissett's opinion. One of them is below. I would only add that I was shocked to see a former Ambassador have such opinions and express such ignorance about the world. However, you will find that he is not ignorant at all, if you do a Google search you see that he is a member of Advisory Board of the American Council for Kosovo. In their website, their self-description is:

The American Council for Kosovo is an activity of Venable LLP and Global Strategic Communications Group, which are registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act as agents for the Serbian National Council of Kosovo and Metohija.

So, follow the money my friend. He is getting paid by the Serbian lobby.

Here is the reaction:

James Bissett's opinion is not far from being partisan. Indeed, in taking a stance that is no different from that of the Serbian government, Mr. Bissett becomes subject to the same fallacies plaguing the government's argument. As deplorable as the burning of Serbian Orthodox churches was, it was by no means a way to rid Kosovo of its Christian heritage. After all, Albanians in Kosovo are also Catholic and none of those churches, or the new evangelical missions were harmed.Also, Russia's claim that Kosovo's independence would set a precedent for its own wayward regions is simply not applicable here. There is no precedent to be set because within Yugoslavia, Kosovo was a constitutional unit having its own parliament, police, and vast autonomy. By taking away Kosovo's autonomy in 1989, Serbia sealed Yugoslavia's doom. What Russia is doing here is taking the side of one of its beloved minions, and any Western diplomat of Mr. Bissett's stature ought to be aware of this.The Albanians have waited for this day for over 130 years. For them a failed state is not an option.

Embassy - Newspaper Online.

Meanwhile, the International Crisis Group published a report on Serbia's constitution:

Premier Vojislav Kostunica won a high stakes gamble with passage of Serbia’s draft constitution in the 28-29 October referendum. However, numerous credible reports indicate the process was deeply flawed and the result falsified. The referendum cannot be characterised as either free or fair. The new constitution could prove a step away from European values. It opens the door to increased centralisation of the state, curtailment of human and minority rights, destruction of judicial independence and potentially even a parliamentary dictatorship. The process used to pass the constitution illustrates how Kostunica continues to transform Serbia into something closer to illiberal authoritarianism than liberal democracy; yet, the referendum was welcomed by the Council of Europe, the European Union and the United States. More here.

The European Commission released the progress report on Kosovo and the potential candidate countries: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia the key findings of which are here. And another report on the candidate countries: Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey, the key findings of which are here. Enjoy.

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