Kosovo: Precedent or unique case? – Analysis

Kosovo: Precedent or unique case? <font color=red>– Analysis </font>
# 19 February 2008 10:26 (UTC +04:00)
For the first time since the World War II ended in 1945, the borders of a sovereign state were unilaterally changed: former Serbian autonomous province declared its independence.

Declaration of independence unanimously adopted at the extraordinary meeting of the parliament of Kosovo province says: “Observing that Kosovo is a special case arising from Yugoslavia’s non-consensual breakup and is not a precedent for any other situation… We declare Kosovo to be a democratic, secular and multiethnic republic, guided by the principles of non-discrimination and equal protection under the law. We shall protect and promote the rights of all communities in Kosovo and create the conditions necessary for their effective participation in political and decision-making processes.” But it seems these promises are not sufficient for Serbia. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica in a televised speech called on Serbian people to unite.
“We should show the world that we do not accept establishment of a false state at the cost of our lands,” he said.
Kosovo is of special importance for Serbians, because this territory is considered the cradle of Serbian people. The center of Serbian patriarchal church was also situated in Pech city of present Kosovo. Ethnics of this area notably differed during different periods of time. Official census of the population in 1921 proves that Muslim Albanians were main elements (329,502 or75%). Though after that Serbia settled a lot of Serbian families in Kosovo, natural growth of Albanians exceeded it. In 1945 new socialist Yugoslavia established Kosovo autonomous province the official languages of which were Serbian, Albanian and Turkish. For the first time in 1981, Albanian nationalist movement demanded republic status for Kosovo, but the movement was suppressed by the central government. In 1989 Belgrade annulled Kosovo’s autonomy, local parliament declared independence in 1990 and this state was only recognized by Albania. Beginning from 1995 separatist Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) started guerilla against Serbian people and police. Confrontation especially sharpened in 1998-99 and 300,000 Albanians were obliged to leave their lands. After Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic rejected Rambuje agreement, which envisaged giving broad rights to Albanians and deploying NATO troops in the country, NATO bombed Serbia for 78 days. Serbia capitulated and UN took over the administration.
Actually, Kosovo Albanians started to prepare for that day long ago. In 2006 Serbians and Albanians started talks on the status of the province with mediation of ex-president of Finland, UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari. But the peace process gave no results because of Albanians’ independence demand, and after three-month round of talks in 2007 failed in December, it was obvious that Kosovo would declare its independence. The only obstacle was the presidential election in Serbia in January. The expected event happened after Boris Tadic defeated his pro-Russian radical rival in the second round early in February and Kosovo declared its independence.
The process following the collapse of Yugoslavia can be summarized in four groups:
Forced unification of the state by the international community and gradual centralization of confederative structure – Bosnia and Herzegovina;
Solution of the conflict by centrifugation preserving unitary system of government – Macedonia;
Separation of republic by consent of the central government – Montenegro;
Unilateral independence without the consent of the central government – Kosovo.
It would better to speak about the results that may follow Kosovo’s independence. Russian officials’ statements that Kosovo will serve as a model for the frozen conflicts in the post-Soviet space are of this kind. In fact, Kosovo precedent is nothing but another political tool in the new stage of the confrontation between the West and Russia. In order to keep Serbia, indirectly the Balkans under its influence, Moscow blackmails that Kosovo will be precedent for the conflicts of Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Nagorno Karabakh and Transdnestria created by itself in 1988-92. The west claims that Kosovo is a special and unique case. It is not accidental that this statement is reflected in Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
It is not true to say that, Kosovo is a precedent for post-Soviet conflicts. Every conflict has its own features. There is no similarity between Nagorno Karabakh conflict and Kosovo on their historical-geographical and procedural mechanism. There are following f differences between Kosovo and Nagorno Karabakh conflict:
Principe of historical succession: There is not 3rd ethnic factor (Caucasus Albans) in Alban-Serb confrontation as in Armenian-Azerbaijan relations.
Inheritance of the conflict: Kosovo conflict was not the result of separation of Yugoslavia. It appeared in 8th year of history of independent Serbia. But Nagorno Karabakh conflict appeared during the separation of USSR. The chance given to post socialist Serbia has not presented to Azerbaijan.
Territory claim: The conflict parties in Kosovo experiment are not Albania-Yugoslavia or Albania –Serbia and Tirana has never claimed the territory from Belgrade. Unlike Armenia, Albania has never adopted the document on annexion of Kosovo and Albanian Army has never participated in the operation in Kosovo territory.
Geographical factor: Unlike Kosovo, Nagorno Karabakh is territory and additional regions around the province have not been occupied.
Ethnic cleansing: Total ethnic cleansing has not carried out here unlike Kosovo and representatives of titular ethnos not ethnos of autonomy became IDPs.
International interference: NATO or any other international organization has not carried out operation against Azerbaijan and regime of any organization has not been applied in Nagorno Karabakh administratively.
Kosovo is not autonomy in the territory of Serbia. Albanians who demanded the status of equal rights socialist republic in the framework of Yugoslavia, but Belgrade did not give attention to it and used method of force. Then Kosovo conflict appeared. Those who considers Kosovo problem as an amnesia made necessary by historical facts can not approach to Nagorno Karabakh conflict with the same principles. Violence in Kosovo is caused by Serbia’s avoidance offering democratic authority to Kosovo in the framework of institutional reforms and reactionary policy pursued by Serbia against world society. But Azerbaijan faced with violence of Armenia and annexion in the 1st stage and separatism in the 2nd stage.
Will Kosovo be separate precedent? US President George Bush stated that its country stated its position on Kosovo problem .It is difficult to say the same words about his European allies. EU member countries have not stated unique position on Kosovo problem. Each country stated it position separately. It would be naive to expect Spain which suffers from Basque, Catalan, Aragon separatism, Greece and Greek Cyprus suffered from North Cyprus, Slovakia and Romania where Hungarian minority causes potential danger to take step immediately. Russian which is alliance of Serbia calls the meeting of UN Security Council. Moscow is against appearance of Kosovo in the world map. Therefore, Kosovo will not be member of UN. It will be half unrecognized body it will not differ from Taiwan. Chine, member of UN Security Council does not recognize Taiwan. It was threatened to be annexed by Beijing every time. Taiwan has not relation with international bodies. José Ignacio Torreblanca specialist on Kosovo problem said that, Kosovo’s independence is precedent for those who committed ethnic cleansing and genocide or ignored the human rights .The main feature of Nagorno Karabakh is that, Azerbaijan is not a side which pursued such policy. Azerbaijan is a victim of this policy.