On the 10th anniversary of the NATO bombardment to push Serb forces out of Kosovo, relations between Belgrade and its former territory remain tense.
The latest row broke out in the UN with Kosovo accusing Serbia of stirring up crime in its northern regions. Serbia blamed the “ethnic-Albanian mafia” for the crimewave. Under a six-point plan, police, customs officers and judges in the Serb-run areas of northern Kosovo remain under a UN umbrella, while their Albanian counterparts work with the EU. Serbia, backed by Russia, totally rejects any notion of Kosovo’s independence. “It is obvious to everyone that 13 months after the illegal, unilateral declaration of independence Kosovo is no state. The protection of human rights is minimal, demonstrated by the fact that the number of Kosovo Serbs and other non-Albanians returning to the province is small,” said Serbian President Boris Tadic. Not so according to Skender Hyseni the Kosovar foreign minister: “The Serbian government supports illegal structures that exploit our Serb citizens but never deliver appropriate assistance or any solutions to their problems,” he said. Officially, the UN remains in charge of Kosovo. However, changes to the 1999 mandate are problematic as its members are split over the future of the UN in Kosovo and the legality of Pristina’s declaration of independence.