With final status talks on Kosovo seemingly going nowhere, conerns are growing that a mass Serb exodus would result should the Albanian-dominated province be granted independence.
The negotiations on Kosovo's final status began in February and have produced little in the way of concrete results. Both sides have been unwilling to compromise with the Serbs dedicated to maintaining at least nominal control of Kosovo. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica on Monday criticized Europe for constantly placing conditions on his country. "Serbia expects a true partnership based on mutual trust, without conditioning and pressure," Kostunica said according to the Serb daily Politika. Albanians in Kosovo meanwhile have been trying to downplay the ongoing Serb-Albanian enmity in the province. An independent Kosovo, said Albanian President Alfred Moisiu, will be a step forward for stability in the region. cgh/ap/reuters/spiegel
On Monday Milan Ivanovic, a Serbian leader in Kosovo, warned of "growing Albanian terrorism" in the province. He told a Belgrade press conference that there have been 70 incidents of ethnic violence directed at Serbs in Kosovo in just the last few months. Departing head UN representative Soren Jessen Petersen, however, has become the lightening rod for much of the criticism with the Serbs claiming that he has essentially been lobbying for Kosovo independence. The Dane surprised everyone by announcing that he was stepping down from his position at the end of June and has since been much more vocal in his support of Kosovo's independence. "Kosovo's dream -- independence -- will come true," he said last week. Belgrade has criticized Petersen's claims that conditions for Serbs in the province have improved. Petersen is scheduled to deliver his final report on Kosovo to the UN Security Council on Tuesday.