Report damns West's revival of Kosovo

Published on March 19, 2007, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH

Category: Growing International Opposition to Imposed Solution

By Bojan Pancevski, Sunday Telegraph

A confidential study warns that Kosovo faces a violent and chaotic future after the failure of nation-building efforts by the international community.

The study, commissioned by the German government, accused Western governments, including Britain, of the "ostrich politics" of denial and found that Kosovo faced a decline into "violent riots and even revolution-like development" after the expected declaration of independence.

It claimed that the United Nations administration and the Nato-led peacekeeping mission had been infiltrated by organised crime syndicates, and accused the international bodies of mismanagement, corruption and organisational chaos.

Talks on the future of Kosovo ended in stalemate last week and have been referred to the UN Security Council, which is expected to grant limited independence according to a proposal drafted by Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president.

Britain was widely regarded as the driving force behind the 1999 Nato air strikes against the regime of Slobodan Milosevic, the former Serbian president, which led to the separation of the province, with its majority Albanian population, from the Serbian state.

Since then, Kosovo has been a UN-administered protectorate secured by an international military presence.

But a study by the Institute for European Politics, a Berlin think-tank, says the severely impoverished territory has little prospect of democratic progress because the building of a functioning multi-ethnic society has failed and does not exist "outside the bureaucratic phrases of the international community".

The study describes the European Union's security strategy for an independent Kosovo as flawed. The authors accuse Nato and the UN of creating a culture of systematic repression of critical reports in order to present Kosovo as a success story.

The study claimed the population's belief in the advantages of independence was pushing expectations for economic prosperity to unrealistic heights. This would eventually cause a backlash and a confrontation with the international administration.

A spokesman for the Kosovo Force (KFor), the Nato-led international unit responsible for establishing and maintaining security, said: "We are aware of the study and the allegations made in it regarding KFor but we will not comment on them. The situation in Kosovo is not stable but we have a clear mission and we are sticking to it."

The authorities in Belgrade have offered Kosovo home rule and wide-ranging autonomy but have refused to accept the creation of a sovereign state, arguing that it would set a dangerous precedent and further destabilise the region.

For their part, Kosovo's Albanian leaders are not willing to engage in any kind of union with Serbia and maintain that full independence is the only possible solution.

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