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The Road to Independence for Kosovo A Chronicle of the Ahtisaari Plan Henry H. Perritt, Jr. Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511635410 Online ISBN: 9780511635410 Hardback ISBN: 9780521116244

Chapter 11 - “Practical” Negotiations pp. 141-156 Chapter DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511635410.012 Cambridge University Press

The process should provide for the effective participation of the Kosovo Serbs and other Kosovo citizens and communities.225. The Contact Group calls on the parties to engage in good faith and constructively.pdf.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press.doi.unosek.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. which he would then submit to the UN Security Council through the Secretary General. as well as meetings in which experts on the various issues visited Belgrade and Pristina to speak separately with each side on those issues. Boris Begovic. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. There was criticism from some internationals and some Kosovar Albanians. Aleksandar Simic. that Kosovo Serbs were underrepresented in the delegation relative to the Serbian presence from Belgrade. 2010 http://dx. if he judges that their actions are not conducive to progress. Randjel Nojkic. Marko Jaksic. Under Ahtisaari’s guiding principles from the Contact Group: A negotiated solution should be an international priority. with President Boris Tadi´ and Prime Minister c Vojislav Koˇ tunica as co-chairs and Minister of Foreign Affairs Vuk Draˇ kovi´ s s c as chief negotiator. located at http://www. Bosko Mijatovic. The Contact Group calls on all parties to establish unified negotiating teams and agree on common positions. Goran Bogdanovic.1017/CBO9780511635410.org/10. Ahtisaari and his team conducted a series of direct talks between representatives of Belgrade and Pristina. AHTISAARI’S main role was to create a Proposal for Kosovo Status Settlement. it cannot be blocked and must be brought to a conclusion. Once the process has started. especially Veton Surroi. The Special Envoy can take appropriate action within his United Nations mandate to suspend or exclude any individual or group.11 “Practical” Negotiations S THE UN SECRETARY GENERAL’S SPECIAL ENVOY. Regional neighbours and other interested parties should also be consulted as necessary. Those advocating violence will have no role. 141 Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. 2012 . and Thomas Fleiner.org/docref/Contact%20Group%20-%20Ten% 20Guiding%20principles%20for%20Ahtisaari. In preparation for this proposal. to refrain from unilateral steps and to reject any form of violence. head of the Kosovo Serb parliamentary group in the Kosovo Assembly. was excluded from the delegation because he refused to hew 1 Guiding principles of the Contact Group for a settlement of the status of Kosovo (October 7. 2005).157.1 A Serbia’s delegation comprised Leon Kojen. Slobodan Samardzic.

Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. Bernhard Schlageck did so in his absence. The meetings themselves were held in various places arranged for the particular negotiation session. Rohan usually chaired the meetings. but not always. The only constant elements on the Serbian side were the trio Tadi´ . and ORA party president Veton Surroi. among other things. 2010 http://dx.4 with Haziri many times. Ahtisaari visited Rugova in Pristina. 2012 . the Serbs often presented wishes or criticism regarding the conduct of the talks.3 Both delegations for the first round of discussions comprised eight members. advisor to s President Tadi´ . On the Kosovar side: the entire Unity Team participated in the elephant rounds. The consistent configuration for negotiation meetings was a horseshoe table with eight seats per delegation. The Pristina delegation was led by Minister of Local Govc ernment Lutfi Haziri. Parliamentary Speaker Nexhat Daci. Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. “Nojkic booted from SNC” (March 7. and Draˇ kovi´ on the political level.b92. located at http://www.net/eng/ news/comments. The Austrian government had taken responsibility for providing physical facilities for the meetings.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press.doi. adviser to Prime Minister Koˇ tunica and Leon Kojen. After 2 3 4 Radio B92. Koˇ tunica.org/10. newspaper editor Blerim ¸ Shala. and in several instances at the Vienna International Center. 2006). Offices for the negotiating teams and for UNOSEK were provided in rented facilities in Vienna. but Rugova never actively participated in the talks. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. leading on practical matters. The “elephant rounds” were negotiations when the most senior representatives of Belgrade and Pristina met face to face. and several e-mail exchanges with Bernard Schlageck.142 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO to Belgrade’s line. UNOSEK found this to be too constraining and added a “secretariat” table simply for the purpose of providing two additional seats for UNOSEK staff.225.2 The original Pristina delegation comprised Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova as chairman. present at the c s s c second “elephant rounds” and Kojen/Samardzic for the fifteen rounds on practical matters.1017/CBO9780511635410. The Kosovars unfailingly promised full cooperation. one after the other and told them bluntly what behavior he expected from them during the talks. sometimes at the Palais Auersperg or the Palais Kinsky. UNOSEK handled the negotiations on practical matters in the following way: Ahtisaari received both delegations in the morning in the UNOSEK office. Factual information in this chapter comes from several interviews with Albert Rohan. Shala served as Coordinator of the Team of Unity and was present at every round of negotiation. At one point.157. and Kai Sauer. The Belgrade delegation was co-chaired by Slobodan Samardzic. Martii Ahtisaari. by participating in the elections in Kosovo. PDK president Hashim Thaci. Membership in the negotiating teams varied in the specific negotiation sessions depending on the subject matter – and on the internal politics of the delegations.php?nav id=33992. Then the delegations moved to the facilities – first Palais Kinsky.

protection of human rights. Belgrade insisted on the term community rights instead. The Serb delegation made it clear that Serbia would never agree to anything except continued sovereignty over Kosovo. The departure times of the respective flights out of Vienna determined who would go first. Approaching negotiations from a practical point established a degree of commonality on matters of municipal-level competency such as health care. depending on the subject under consideration. Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). 2010 http://dx.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. The “elephant rounds” were more formal occasions. to continue their ecclesiastic/monastic activities. and justice. social welfare. They also made it clear that the term minority rights must not be used to refer to Kosovo Serbs. the World Bank. security for religious shrines. As Ahtisaari said afterwards. The economic-issues subject mainly dealt with the division between Serbia and Kosovo of public assets and debt. The first negotiation session reinforced this conclusion.225.157.org/10. in the Redoutensaal of the Hofburg (the Imperial Castle). followed separately by the two delegations. 2012 . Beginning with the heart of the question – the status issue itself – would only harden irreconcilable positions and block progress on practical matters. the European Commission.1017/CBO9780511635410. albeit within the legal and institutional framework of Kosovo. the issues discussed at this point were “not earth-shattering matters in the political sense. police. culture. Community rights should enable minorities to preserve their identity and to participate effectively in Kosovo’s political decision-making process. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. sharing the chair with Rohan and Stefan Lehne. During practical negotiations. although they also discussed decentralization and community rights. After the first UNOSEK visit with the political leadership in Serbia and Kosovo. it was obvious that the two parties would not agree voluntarily on a status program. the first by Rohan. the Council’s Venice Commission. The Kosovar delegation likewise made it clear that it would never agree to anything less than independence from Serbia. education. Party representatives mainly wanted to talk about status. chaired by Ahtisaari. and sometimes the International Monetary Fund (IMF). and economic issues and to work backwards toward the nature of final status. the UNOSEK delegation always included experts from Council of Europe.“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 143 the meeting UNOSEK had press conferences. Decentralization was seen by UNOSEK as the only way to allow Kosovo Serbs (and smaller minorities) to run their own affairs. The measures for religious and cultural sites had the purpose of protecting these sites physically and allowing churches and monasteries. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press.doi. in particular those in purely Kosovar Albanian surroundings. Ahtisaari chaired the last round (lasting a week) himself. the United Nations Educational.” but they did serve both to address the needs of the actual population of Kosovo and to begin the process with positive results to create a stronger foundation for negotiation over larger issues. UNMIK was represented in each meeting. Ahtisaari concluded that the only way to address the very real problems Kosovar Serbs faced was to start with technical talks over practical issues such as decentralization.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012.

Ahtisaari went to meet with them privately.” Participants found him frequently insulting and destructive. Kosovo’s deputy prime minister and a regular participant on the Kosovar side.” he said.doi. but the Serbs took almost everything back in the last week. The Kosovar Albanians matured through the process. walking out. was extremely aggressive.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. the Pristina delegation had no authority to negotiate – all 5 May 2008 e-mail exchange with Bernard Schlageck. Thaci. with Serbs essentially saying. Simic seemed to be slow. 2010 http://dx. they were only interested and engaged in the macro-level – when it came to the detailed questions of decentralization and other subjects they were at times rather badly informed and prepared.” The response was a brick wall. “I know you may not be happy with where we end up. Shortly after he was appointed. even though their role was often to be intentionally difficult. For his part. During the whole process. claiming that his role in the KLA made him a terrorist. Hashim Thaci was very eager to lead the dele¸ gation. however. The Serbian delegation was far more experienced in diplomacy. The Serb delegation made it clear at the outset that they did not intend to take the negotiations seriously. At first. trying to sway the negotiation agenda by refusing to discuss minority rights arrangements until very late in the process and using every opportunity to delay and complicate procedures and individual sessions without. apparently because Belgrade was concerned that too much agreement might prejudice matters in favor of independence. “We do not agree on the outcome the Contact Group wants. and came to an early decentralization meeting only to face a ferocious personal attack: Serbian representatives had lodged a formal protest against his presence.1017/CBO9780511635410. says one UNOSEK participant. especially in decentralization matters. on the Serb side.157. was well informed. Belgrade moved only slightly from its original positions and offered only very limited concessions. we do not agree to this process.144 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO The styles of the Belgrade and Pristina negotiating teams differed considerably. starting every meeting as if from scratch.org/10. usually in a rather improvised way.” There were some agreements along the way on decentralization and protective zones for churches. but were enthusiastic about where the process would lead. but had a mandate to undermine the negotiations as much as possible.225. although they did not say so explicitly. For their part. Participants did respect Kojen and Samardzic professionally. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. While the Belgrade diplomats were more experienced. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. “but I hope you will participate actively to make sure we understand and take account of your interests as we work out the details. Lutfi Haziri.5 Jaksic. The Kosovar Albanian delegation members eventually gained more selfassurance with increased experience and more exposure to the UNOSEK team and to the Serb delegation. read his prepared statement and then sat silent. 2012 . the Albanians lacked experience. and we are not going to play your game. ¸ according to one participant.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. calling the Kosovar Albanian participants “terrorists” and “separatists.

and regularly asked each side to prepare position papers. Vienna. usually prepared by their American and European consultants.” he said flatly.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. In response to any issue that arose. they could not believe how much the Albanians were willing to give up. and townships in other states. This only reinforced the view held by many participants – and by Kosovo Serbs – that the Belgrade negotiating team cared about Belgrade’s geopolitical interests.doi. even when it came time to discuss issues of greatest importance to them such as community protection. 6 7 August 2007 interview with Albert Rohan. when the UNOSEK team read it. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. 2012 . mayors. The process itself was less paper intensive than anticipated.state. the Kosovar Albanians produced a seventy-page position paper on community rights.gov/www/regions/eur/ksvo rambouillet text. presumably written by their own expert. states. The Rambouillet Accords had recited that municipalities were the basic unit of self-government: “The basic territorial unit of local self-government in Kosovo shall be the commune. Thus. “We can’t conduct business this way.html.S. “under the auspices” of Martti Ahtisaari. This was apparently a strategy arrived at by their political constituencies in Kosovo. Recalled Rohan. They functioned roughly like counties in many U. and brought outside experts to negotiating sessions. The Albanians often brought position papers.org/10. 2010 http://dx. it got better. “Whoever you send – or you could go yourselves – must have the authority to participate meaningfully in discussions and negotiations. they could only say “That’s off the table! We won’t even discuss that!” Finally. All responsibilities in Kosovo not expressly assigned elsewhere shall be the responsibility of the communes. On one occasion. The first round of negotiations focused on the issue of decentralization: the process of shifting governmental power from the central government in Pristina to municipal governments. “We said to them.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. located at http://www. with elected councils. and significant control over local police detachments and educational establishments. as the UNOSEK press releases termed it. with direct talks in Vienna between Belgrade and Pristina representatives on February 20–21. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130.“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 145 they would do was read a prepared statement and then refuse to talk about anything else. in Kosovo. ‘Are you sure you want to say this in your paper?’” February 2006 initiated the fourteen-month process.157. Municipalities historically had been the political entities through which local government occurred. The Serb delegation almost never prepared papers. Art I(8). Rambouillet Agreement. Rohan traveled to Pristina to talk to the top members of the Unity Team. but not about the lives of Kosovo Serbs. Their boundaries were contiguous and every part of Kosovo was in one municipality or another. two levels of government existed: the central government and the municipal governments.1017/CBO9780511635410. The UNOSEK team often prepared resource papers.”7 Kosovo’s territory was divided into thirty municipalities.225. in frustration.”6 Thereafter.

Decentralization was one of the best ways to ensure Serb involvement in the governance of Kosovo.157. At the end of 2005. Albin Kurti. democratic government was established in Pristina. argued that decentralization was a disguised pathway to partition.org/10. Decentralization also had to be at the core of practical negotiations. and had been a reality on the ground. head of the National Democratic Institute (NDI) office in Pristina in 2006.225.146 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO Municipal boundaries had been defined by the government of Yugoslavia after World War II. Separately. and so it featured prominently in the negotiations. leader of the Vetevendosje (Self-Determination) movement. It was also true. he argued. that too much decentralization would make Kosovo ungovernable.doi. thereby splitting Kosovo. Elected municipal assemblies exercised legislative power and chose mayors to exercise executive authority over the territory of their municipalities. 2012 . There already were problems with lack of municipal responsiveness to central government legislation because of local political dynamics and because so many international programs were implemented at the municipal level. towns and villages had no separate governments. like the Republika Srpska entity in Bosnia. it essentially gave the Kosovo Serbs a measure of self-government in the municipalities where they constituted a majority. argued that the international community had gotten it backwards by emphasizing decentralization. tucked within a greater municipality. once an effective. NDI was an NGO funded by the U.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. and neutrality in local politics. The goal was a structure that would leave 80 to 90 percent of Kosovo’s Serbs with majority control over the governments of municipalities where they lived. Eventually.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. Critics such as Chad Rogers. each was simply a cluster of houses and businesses with its own name. From a legal perspective. However. such an entity would insist on a union with Serbia. Congress and tasked with providing aid to political parties and other institutions of democratization.S.1017/CBO9780511635410. It enjoyed a strong reputation for competence. some Kosovar Albanians. it might be possible to devolve power to municipalities. all but four of Kosovo’s municipalities had Albanian Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. effectiveness. because it was part of the Contact Group’s mandate for Ahtisaari. for example. even before a wellfunctioning government existed in Pristina. One threshold issue in decentralization talks was particularly thorny: determining the number of municipalities to which power would be devolved. decentralization was one of the major keys to a final status template that protected minority rights. even if the rest enjoyed internationally supervised independence. most prominently. and it was a fait accompli under UNMIK administration of Kosovo. 2010 http://dx. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. Creating Serb-majority municipalities and then giving them substantial political control and allowing them to form links with each other and with Belgrade would effectively create a Serb entity within Kosovo. however. Rogers argued that the international community should have insisted on effective centralization of authority first – only then. and UNMIK had mainly ratified the boundaries with a few modifications.

Before final status negotiations had even begun. although the Serb delegation wanted to go beyond that model.org/10.225. We want to make sure that we create the kind of environment a monastery needs. “Bully for you. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. however.” or a substate within Kosovo akin to Republika Srpksa in Bosnia. but he was persuaded to relent partially. He was adamant. Those municipalities and the protected church zones collectively would constitute a de facto Serb “entity. especially to modify their initial opposition to asymmetric decentralization – an approach giving more rights to communities with Serb majorities than those with Albanian majorities. for example.157. However. UNOSEK and the Contact Group had to push them hard. there was still clearly a profound difference in overall point of view from each side.1017/CBO9780511635410. 2012 . on the whole.” Rohan responded. The Serbian delegation wanted to redraw the boundaries so there would be more municipalities with Serbian majorities. a new municipality was rejected because it would have disrupted any reasonable plan to extract lignite and to generate electricity from it. Kosovar Albanian negotiating team leader Lutfi Haziri was intransigent. Conversely.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. which was his home area. 2010 http://dx. Despite the positive language of the initial UNOSEK press releases. The Kosovar Albanians were. “Restitution is an issue completely separate from what we are trying to accomplish here.” The Serbs wanted to link protective zones for churches with restitution for church property taken by the Communist regime in 1945. we should not care how much real estate the monastery will own. The Serb position at the beginning – and end – of talks about decentralization was that Serbs had to have fourteen new municipalities. on the boundaries of a new Serb municipality in Gjilan.doi. for example. Republika Srpska is practically a separate state that takes its political direction from Belgrade rather than Sarajevo. constructive with their proposals.” At one point Serb negotiators bragged that they had compromised by reducing their territorial demands from nine thousand to six thousand hectares. involving the area around Obilic. however. once or twice. a Kosovar newspaper quoted Lutfi Haziri as stating that the government of Kosovo would be Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. In another case.” Rohan insisted. however. The Kosovo delegation was wary of the subject of decentralization because they adamantly opposed partition. then–Prime Minister Haradinaj had taken the first difficult step and agreed to talk about the technical details of decentralization. they took to heart the international community’s advice that they had to begin with a serious proposal and not engage in temperamental bargaining that was too finely grained. Constructive dialogue was inhibited by the consistent Serbian focus on territorial acquisition – how much territory in Kosovo Serbs would “own. and held back little on which they could make further concessions.“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 147 majorities. Nominally a part of the unified independent state of Bosnia.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. we’re focusing on legal protections for specific rights and privileges. The day after the talks concluded. In the end it turned out they had taken this advice too literally. “but we are not counting acreage.

they would come closer collectively to constituting a separate Serb entity within Kosovo. The Kosovar Albanians resisted a draft that provided for relatively informal contacts between municipalities. If Serb municipalities had ties to each other and to Belgrade.org/10.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. 2006.” This session resulted in two main points of agreement: first. The only other existing municipality with a Serb majority was Strpce. they would be more independent of Pristina. 2012 . which included local teachers. they disdained any connection with UNMIK or the central government in Pristina.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. The reality was that Kosovo already worked this way. drew salaries and pensions from Belgrade. Second. Belgrade ran the predominantly Serb part north of the river. It shall endeavour to promote the conclusion of any agreements and arrangements that may prove necessary for this purpose with due regard to the different constitutional provisions of each Party. The UNOSEK team produced language from the charter of the Council of Europe providing exactly the same language8 and said.148 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO ready to implement decentralization the day after achieving independence – despite the fact that Serbia remained just as adamantly against independence. The second round of talks on decentralization took place in Vienna on March 17. on the condition that they be given in a transparent manner and be limited to activities within the authority of the municipalities. financial subsidies from Belgrade to Serb municipalities in Kosovo were acceptable. 8 For example. The three municipalities north of the Ibar River that divided Mitrovica – Leposaviq.157. They suspected that such provisions represented a Trojan horse that would lead to the partition of Kosovo along ethnic lines. Zvecan. “We’re sure you don’t want to do less in your decentralization plan than the Council of Europe provides. the discussions became more difficult. Mitrovica itself was divided: UNMIK and the PISG ran the predominantly Albanian part south of the river. and Zubin Potok – had Serb majorities and were really governed from Belgrade.1017/CBO9780511635410. both parties agreed that Kosovo municipalities had the power to make intermunicipal cooperation links. As expected with advancement into slightly deeper issues. and contacts between the municipalities and other governments (which would mean Serbia in the case of independence). 2010 http://dx. where the young Serb Major Ilic had been beaten for his cooperation with JessenPetersen. intermunicipal cooperation and cross-boundary cooperation. Article 1 of the Council’s “European Outline Convention on Transfrontier Co-operation between Territorial Communities or Authorities” of 1980 provides: “Each Contracting Party undertakes to facilitate and foster transfrontier co-operation between territorial communities or authorities within its jurisdiction and territorial communities or authorities within the jurisdiction of other Contracting Parties.225. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press.doi. health care workers. If municipalities had taxing power and control over their own budgets. This time the negotiators focused on local finance.” Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. provided that this cooperation did not lead to an intervening layer of government between the municipalities and the central authorities. a municipal association. and police officers. Civil servants in these municipalities (as in other Serb-predominant communities in Kosovo).

but no further progress was made. as well as its recent directive forcing any employees receiving salaries from both Belgrade and Pristina to choose one over the other. In June 1999.org/10. Of particular concern were municipalities with a Kosovo Serb majority. Both parties agreed on the necessity of “fair minimum size”: a principle that all municipalities must be big enough to be functional. Kosovo had about two hundred thousand Serb residents. “It will be very difficult to achieve some sort of rapprochement in the future. just before the UN’s bombing campaign. A substantial percentage of these fled Kosovo after the conclusion of the bombing campaign.“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 149 April 3 brought the third session on decentralization. 2010 http://dx. characterized their requests as reasonable and refused to bargain further. In particular. The Kosovo delegation proposed the creation of three new municipalities.225. The Kosovo delegation was constructive. and were.1017/CBO9780511635410. Closely intertwined with the subject of decentralization was the subject of “returns” by Kosovo Serbs who had been displaced by the threat of violence and who hoped to return to their homes. fearing the KLA and other instruments of Kosovar Albanian retaliation. An analysis of the document confirmed the areas of common ground previously agreed upon. with the necessary infrastructure and economic viability. he urged Belgrade to reconsider its policy of encouraging Kosovo Serbs to abstain from local political processes. Upon their return to Pristina. 2006. a contention that would rear its head repeatedly throughout the process. Others refused to live under UN administration. from their point of view. emphasizing that.” a document UNOSEK had prepared based on the first two rounds of talks. The Kosovars were willing to decentralize power. It arrived with responses to the document. the Serbian participants wanted the creation of fourteen new municipalities. He noted the efforts of the Kosovo president and prime minister to reach out to minorities in Kosovo. The meeting itself focused on “Principles of Decentralization. to encourage them in the process. Lutfi Haziri said. Ahtisaari met with each delegation separately. in contrast. improvement in the situation “on the ground” was vital. the fourth round concentrated on the creation of new municipalities and their boundaries. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. and the modification of the boundaries of five others.” Ylber Hysa9 commented on the impossibility of compromise due to the “extreme requests” of the Serbian delegation.157. as they all worked toward a final status for Kosovo.doi. 2012 .199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. which was not the case on the Serbian side. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. Hysa was a member of the Kosovo Assembly and deputy chief of Veton Surroi’s ORA party. had grown bigger. Most went to 9 Mr. unbridgeable. and the extension of an already existing one. to increase the percentage of Serbs within the new boundaries. Prior to the talks.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. but the Serbs desired decentralization of territories along ethnic lines. Beginning on May 4. the Kosovo delegation was quoted as saying that the differences between the two parties were obvious. The Serbian delegation. In contrast.

2012 . Apart from rhetoric about the data on returns. “I called UNMIK’s Legal Adviser Borg-Olivier right from our luncheon table to check the language. The purpose was to establish clear procedures for an orderly return process. he gave his OK and in the press briefing following the meeting we could announce this (rare) achievement.” Differences also existed about how much the refugees and displaced persons wanted to return to their former homes. pointing out to the Kosovars that in any normal country citizens can choose where they want to live and that it might even be an advantage if the small Serbian minority were concentrated in a few municipalities instead of being spread around the country in smaller settlements. although some sought refuge in Mitrovica and the other municipalities in the north. Rohan took Kojen and the competent member of the Pristina delegation aside to settle the matter once and for all. after a hiccup about who would sign the Protocol on the two sides. “From the legal point of view.” had been negotiated between the two sides many months before.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. Several weeks later. claiming that this was UNHCR’s normal practice (which seemed to be true) and pointing to the danger of “demographic engineering” by Belgrade. the change of leadership of the Serbian Kosovo Coordination Centre being given as one of the reasons for delay. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. .150 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO Serbia proper. At the lunch break during one of the meetings in Vienna. They found compromise wording for both issues (the first based on return “to places of choice”). the reality was that Belgrade and the Serbian delegation to the final status talks treated the unresolved returns issue as an important symbol of their claim that an independent. Rohan supported from the beginning the “places of choice” alternative (also advocated by Kai Eide in his 2005 report).” and UNMIK and a variety of NGOs had worked with the PISG to promote returns. and if few actually returned. UNMIK had issued a policy entitled “The Right to Sustainable Return. UNOSEKdiscovered that a draft “Protocol on Voluntary Return . drafts had been sent back and forth in slow motion. The other issue was whether permission for return should be given by UNMIK (Serbian position) or the relevant municipalities (Kosovar Albanian position). Sharp differences existed between the Serbian and Kosovo delegations about the total number of refugees both outside Kosovo and of internally displaced persons – those still within Kosovo but not at their previous homes.157.org/10.” Rohan says. As early as 2002. Serbia could use this as evidence that the climate in Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. the ceremony took place in Pristina in the office of SRSG Jessen-Petersen. The PISG established a Ministry of Communities and Returns in March 2005.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. Apparently. The other obstacles were two controversial issues of substance: Belgrade wanted a return to “places of choice”.doi. During one of its trips to Belgrade and Pristina. Albanian-dominated Kosovo would infringe on the human rights of Kosovo Serbs who had been displaced by Albanian human rights violations. the Kosovars insisted on return to the original homes of returnees. without having been signed yet. 2010 http://dx. . If the numbers of potential returnees were large.1017/CBO9780511635410.225.

to expend the time or the resources to create new municipalities for them only to end up with numerous “ghost towns” if they did not come back. they already had offered more than their share of compromise. Albanian-dominated Kosovo would threaten Serbia’s religious heritage. It was crucial that both sides reach a workable agreement on a goal for the number of returns and their legal rights. the Serbian delegation knew that if more Serbs could be induced to return to Kosovo.10 Later in May. in their eyes. On the other hand. UNOSEK spokesperson Hua Jiang claimed that the meetings went well. they came up with their own figures that never were substantiated. and other issues previously brought up in the talks. At the center of Serbian national consciousness was the belief that the Serbian Orthodox Church had resisted Muslim domination through 10 May 2008 e-mail exchange with Bernard Schlageck. After first accepting UNMIK figures. no compromise was reached on how to count potential returnees. In Pristina. At this point in the negotiating process. Most ordinary Kosovar Albanians were not eager to share political power with Kosovo Serbs. or migrate there. So the Albanian side wanted to minimize the official number of potential returnees as well as the special rights that would be granted to them if they did return. Belgrade’s position was ambiguous. Part of the problem were conflicting data. however. an increasing Serbian presence could tip the balance of population and votes in existing or proposed municipalities. and that common stances had been found.doi. Deputy Special Envoy Rohan visited Belgrade and Pristina to continue discussions on decentralization. as they would have to do if Kosovo Serbs were more numerous. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. however. 2010 http://dx. The Kosovo delegation expressed surprise at this request. In the Serbian press.org/10.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. Rohan asked the Kosovo team for more concessions regarding decentralization. On the Kosovar Albanian side. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press.“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 151 Kosovo was too hostile for them. symbolized by many centuries-old churches and monasteries inside Kosovo’s boundaries. 2012 . May 23 saw the first round of talks on another vital subject: the protection of religious and cultural heritage in Kosovo. After his visit to Belgrade.225.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. All of the negotiators claimed to hope that most of the displaced Serbs would return. negotiation team member Marko Jaksic made accusations that the mediators were treating the negotiations as an opportunity to fulfill only the wishes of the Albanian delegation.157. Much of Serbia’s opposition to an independent Kosovo was premised on the argument that an independent. which resulted in the Belgrade team digging in their heels regarding their requests. returns. which certainly were not always up-to-date. It was nonsensical. most of whom were believed to have been complicit in the ravages of the Miloˇ evi´ s c regime’s ethnic cleansing campaign. there were deep resentments – mainly concealed within politically correct conversation – against the Kosovo Serbs. and committed themselves to creating a truly multiethnic community in Kosovo.1017/CBO9780511635410.

submitted an initial proposal that had enormous protected zones. Bishop of Raska and Prizren and informally Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. and others – should be at the discretion of the respective institutions. Meanwhile.org/10. The negotiation over protecting religious sites was complicated by division within the Church itself. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. authorities. with zone boundaries to be decided on a case-bycase basis.157. or health insurance from any government that wished to provide it – including Belgrade.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. Artemije. the power to purchase the respective areas. Belgrade did not demand outright property ownership in every case. head of the Kosovo Coordination Centre in Belgrade and frequent member of the Serbian delegation. The Church had long been one of the most virulently nationalist forces in Serbian politics.152 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO extension of the Ottoman Empire. Sanda Rascovic-Ivic. “Whatever the Church wants. but insisted on restitution and. the Serbian Assembly rushed a law through that provided for restitution of property taken half a century earlier by the communists. as in Bosnia. 2012 . After not doing anything about Serbian Orthodox Church restitution claims for fifty years. and established an expert group to discuss the criteria for establishing such zones. redressing acts of expropriation years before. the Kosovar Albanians followed this advice – but then the Serbs declined to agree in the end because neither the Kosovar Albanians nor UNOSEK were willing to treat new protected zones as property. Pristina conceded that the Serbian Orthodox Church should enjoy support in terms of welfare.225. social and pension benefits. but the session was still regarded as successful. In surprising contrast to the impasse regarding municipalities. Combined with existing and proposed Serb municipalities. where restitution was not feasible.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. in the view of UNOSEK and the Albanians. 2010 http://dx. The Serbian side insisted that protected zone meant outright property ownership by the Church. For the most part. The crux of the matter was Belgrade’s conditioning any agreement to continued full authority of the Serbian government over all Serbian religious and cultural sites in Kosovo and restitution of the church property nationalized after World War II. This occurred despite Belgrade’s insistence that this issue was directly linked to that of decentralization – a view rejected by both Pristina and Ahtisaari’s team. Differences remained regarding the size of the protected zones and the restitution of nationalized church property.” he said. All parties agreed that access to churches and monasteries – for pilgrims. Both sides agreed that protective zones around religious sites were necessary. give it to them. A protected zone. Rohan had advised the Kosovars not to resist Serb requests for protection of religious sites. emphasizing the importance of its religious shrines located in Kosovo. regardless of who owned the property.doi.1017/CBO9780511635410. the protective zones created a nearly continuous Serb area running through Kosovo – a result fully consistent with the continuing Serbian proposal for a Serb “entity” in Kosovo. the May talks brought significant agreement between the two parties on protection of religious heritage. was analogous to a zoning restriction: certain activities would be prohibited in protected zones. beginning with the Ottoman victory on the Field of Blackbirds in 1389.

doi. but a society of free and equal citizens.1017/CBO9780511635410.” Artemije was such a polarizing figure that before the first meeting to discuss religious sites.157.225.” He did not hesitate to capitalize on Western outrage at recent atrocities in Iraq: “Among the characteristic jihad terror practices of the KLA is the beheading of victims. He described “the local Muslim Albanian administration” of Kosovo as being “controlled by members of a terrorist organization. Their message was simple: “Keep Artemije from speaking at the meeting.” Rohan told the Serbian religious representatives not to ask for too much.” he said. and the visitors left.” he thundered. He met with them secretly in Vienna’s Sacher Hotel Blue Bar. Rohan got an urgent message from two members of the Belgrade delegation requesting a meeting the night before. Teodosije’s own public statements in the United States in 2006 illustrate the contrast between him and Artemije: “I am deeply aware that our future as citizens of Kosovo in fact lies in Kosovo. The most constructive participant from the Church was Bishop Teodosije. with heads of their Christian Serb victims. That is why a hasty decision on the future status of Kosovo could very easily fossilize the rule of clans and ‘war heroes’ and profiteers. the so-called Kosovo Liberation Army.” On a 2006 trip to the United States. who was at one point appointed coordinator of church affairs for Kosovo Serbs. on the grounds that ultimately their safety and security would be determined by the quality of their modus vivendi with the local population. Although he had been an outspoken critic of Miloˇ evi´ throughout the 1990s. whose identities are known but who have never been brought to justice. s c he was ferociously and destructively radical in his public statements about the negotiations. as seen in other countries with active jihad terror movements. not only its appearance. American policy in Kosovo “will condemn my Christian people to extinction and create a new rogue state – this time in Europe.” “Well it’s up to you who speaks for your side. not by the number of armed guards. When it came time actually to define the boundaries Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. 2010 http://dx.” was the Kosovo Serbs’ senior cleric. [and] which runs drug and slave rackets across Europe. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. which is closely tied to the Muslim Albanian mafia.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. while the victims in this society will not be differentiated by ethnic affiliation but will be all those who want to live as free citizens in a democratic Europe. regularly referring to his Kosovar Albanian counterparts as the “terrorists. indicating that someone in Belgrade thought he would make a better representative of Kosovo Serb interests than Artemije. 2012 .“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 153 styled “Bishop of Kosovo and Metohije.org/10. Artemije gave an incendiary public statement in support of Serbian negotiating points. The ‘new reality’ in Kosovo must not be rule by one people over another. vicar of the Diocese of Raska and Prizren.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. regardless of what its future status will be and what the colors of the flag will be. I say these words not only as a Serb but also as a concerned citizen of Kosovo and Metohija. “My primary concern is what kind of society it will be in terms of its quality.” Rohan said.” he warned. “On the Internet you can see photographs of uniformed KLA Islamic terrorists.

rights to foreign currency accounts held for the benefit of Yugoslavia.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. but just as the group was ready to leave for a field trip to visit the sites and get to work on defining actual boundaries. Pristina did agree to pay foreign debts incurred during the period of Yugoslav rule. 2012 . The senior Serb representative was Dusan Batakovic. Belgrade Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. and compensation to Kosovo for war damages caused by Serbia. Both the international proposal and Pristina contemplated protection of fifteen zones. claiming that the issues were not between Belgrade and Pristina but rather between Belgrade and everyone else involved.doi. while Belgrade requested first forty-two. The meeting went very well. UNOSEK officials still found the talks beneficial as they allowed both sides to present their positions and understand each other’s concerns. Both parties were given the opportunity to present their proposals on the issues. saying that his aim was independence for Kosovo but that he refused to say so openly. 2006. the teams met again for talks on economic matters. the parties were at an impasse on whether protective zones should be treated as property of the Serbian Orthodox Church and linked with Serb-majority municipalities to form a separate Kosovo Serb political entity within Kosovo. which prevented final decisions from being made. no progress was made. then thirtynine. Many of the issues were directly tied to final status concerns as well. Despite expectations of an agreement by the end of this set of negotiations. The meeting was co-chaired by Rohan and Stefan Lehne. Although little concrete progress was made. Therefore. documentation of the pension rights of Kosovo Serbs and Kosovar Albanian workers. Belgrade. accused Ahtisaari of bias. Belgrade furiously called Batakovic home on the grounds that he had no authority from the Serbian delegation to be there. A week later. Both parties agreed to exchange relevant information in preparation for future discussions. UNOSEK brought the Belgrade and Pristina negotiations together with UNICEF and Council of Europe representatives at the Monastery of Decan. 2010 http://dx. head of the UNOSEK working group on economy. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. as well as their rough contours.225. for its part. both parties’ conclusions differed significantly from each other’s and from those of the international community.1017/CBO9780511635410. Other issues brought up but left unresolved included debts from the Belgrade government to the Pristina government and vice versa. on May 31. refused to commit to provide statistical data necessary to allocate foreign debts between Belgrade and Pristina. a well-known Serbian historian. Belgrade. Ylber Hysa of the Kosovo delegation blamed Belgrade for its unconstructiveness with its positions and demands. for instance. allocation of proceeds from the privatization of governmentally funded companies. The session was intended to review models for protection of religious heritage in other contexts. while there had been progress on establishing protective zones for Serbian religious sites in Kosovo. however.157.org/10.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press.154 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO of the protective zones. The teams met again regarding religious and cultural heritage on July 18.

199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012. and would substantial authority truly induce displaced Kosovo Serbs and other minorities to return? Despite criticism of the decentralization talks by Serbia’s Tadi´ . and freedom of movement were so basic as to allow no room for compromise.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. Belgrade focused on the specifics of municipal government competencies. Pristina offered compromises regarding the appointment of municipal police. 2010 http://dx. No progress was made.157. the differences were still greater than the concessions. Belgrade’s justification for this long-standing demand was that a division along ethnic lines would prevent Kosovo Serbs from being stripped of their basic rights. Naturally.org/10. Pristina rejected the possibility of “asymmetric decentralization” – an approach in which greater competencies would be given to Kosovo-Serb majority municipalities than to Kosovar Albanian municipalities. many Kosovo Serbs refused to be identified as a minority. The next day. the questions still remained: How much independent legal authority would be extended to the Serb municipalities. Ahtisaari praised the Kosovar delegation for its constructive approach to decentralization. security. as the ostensibly “practical” issues were actually very much linked to final status determination. particularly the degree of authority over the local police and justice systems. and over Serbian language use and curricula in the educational system. In an interview with the German press. discussions centered on “community rights” – a euphemism for minority rights. and that rights to education. and agreed to allow Serb municipalities to cooperate with the Belgrade government. the teams met again on August 7 to continue discussions.1017/CBO9780511635410. who said c they generated more worry than relief. but it could not allow the division of Kosovo along ethnic lines.doi. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. The Serbian approach was to insulate Kosovo-Serb-dominated municipalities from decisions made by Kosovar Albanian governmental authorities in Pristina. which inhibited compromise and progress. While Pristina did offer two more municipalities and Belgrade reduced its demands slightly.“PRACTICAL” NEGOTIATIONS 155 said that the negotiations had reached their limit of potential. talks resumed on decentralization. the Kosovo press blamed Serbian inflexibility for the lack of negotiation progress. Ahtisaari’s team split the delegations into their own rooms and sent UNOSEK representatives back and forth to feel out each side’s positions.225. while the Serbian press blamed the stubbornness of the Kosovo delegation. and a mechanism for protection of community rights Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. Lutfi Haziri insisted that the Kosovar delegation was willing to compromise on many issues. Nevertheless. because they counted themselves citizens of Serbdominated Serbia rather than citizens of Albanian-dominated Kosovo. 2012 . The Pristina delegation offered concrete proposals regarding issues such as representation in institutions. On July 19. In an attempt to stimulate further progress. The term minority rights was avoided because of the negative connotation it carried for many people. while criticizing Belgrade’s unacceptable demands. in line with the Council of Europe’s convention. health care.

These practical negotiations over decentralization. Belgrade. returns. community rights. referring to its position in the July 24 meeting on status.225. was unwilling to participate seriously in a process that had the potential to strip away reasons to oppose Kosovar independence. Although he knew that discussion of Kosovo’s final status itself would be intractable. regardless of Kosovo’s final status.199 on Wed Jan 25 09:36:30 GMT 2012.org/10. In Belgrade’s view. practical issues could not be separated from the fundamental question of whether Kosovo would remain a part of Serbia or become an independent state.157.012 Cambridge Books Online © Cambridge University Press. and freedom of movement. reiterating its opinion that the issue belonged within the framework of status talks. All of these issues were going to have to be addressed in any event. Belgrade offered no proposal. Downloaded from Cambridge Books Online Cambridge University Press. 2010 http://dx. however.156 THE ROAD TO INDEPENDENCE FOR KOSOVO including languages. Cambridge Books Online © by IP 130. media.doi. and protection of religious sites were supposed to have been the easy part of final status negotiations. Ahtisaari had hoped that Belgrade and Pristina could narrow their differences over these practical issues. 2012 .1017/CBO9780511635410.