15.05.2018

PBS News

Now to part two of our look at the state of affairs in the Balkans, nearly 20 years after the war in Kosovo, efforts to achieve reconciliation between Serbs and ethnic Albanians have suffered one of the worst setbacks in recent years after a controversial arrest. Kosovo with its majority ethnic Albanian population used to be an autonomous region of the former Yugoslavia, but in 1999 after a series of Serb atrocities, NATO intervened on the side of the Albanians to help Kosovo become and independent nation, but the support of the Policy Center on crisis reporting special correspondent Michael Bradburn, found that overcoming ethnic hatred and suspicion is one of the biggest obstacles to consolidating peace in the fledgling nation.

After 20 years of painfully slow progress towards reconciliation, that was widespread dismay at the way in which Kosovar Albanian Rosu police arrested this man, Marko Duric, the chief peace negotiator of the Serbian government in Belgrade. The arrest took place in Mitrovica, Kosovo’s most volatile town where the country’s ethnic tensions are accentuated. What happens here frequently influences the rest of the country.

Police use force without reason, and I cannot understand using force on those people, people that get her there to talk about this. Dalibor Jevtić, leads a Serb party in Kosovo’s parliament which left the government to protest the arrest.

Day, arrest the person who is the main negotiator of Serbia and they treat them as an adult, when you have forced on illegitimate for representatives of Serbs, what ordinary people can expect then.

The Serbs have come a long ways since 1999 when the tanks roamed Kosovo forcing Albanians to flee from their villages. The Serbs campaign ethnic cleansing provoked NATO airstrikes. After 10 years week bombing campaign, the Serbs accepted NATO’s peace terms, the Albanians of the Kosovo, the majority population where the benefitations.

In February, Kosovo, celebrated 10 years of independence, but the country remains widely unrecognized, its membership in the United Nations is blocked, and the biggest problem in the peace process is trying to give in Serbia the old wartime enemy to formally recognize Kosovo. So why the Kosovo Albanian would led government in Pristina reignite Serb resentment when it needs cooperation.

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, a former wartime guerrilla leader defended the arrest saying the certain negotiator entered the country illegally despite being told not to come. That does not send a good sign to the Serbian people does it, that is the way that they’re going to be treated because. RH: No sir, this is not oriented towards Kosovars-Serbs, any elected official, neither a Serb officials that was mainly towards a two persons that illegally passed the borders.

Some poking experts believe that the arrest in Mitrovica, was potentially dangerous, because it’s exacerbated ethnic tensions and it will also make it more difficult for that to be normalization of relations between the two former warring factions. They also fear it will lead to a hardening of attitudes by the governments here in Prishtina and also in the Serbian capital Belgrade.

In return for recognition of Kosovo, the character of European Union membership for Serbia is being dangled in front of its president Aleksandar Vučić.

In February, Vučić told Germany’s Chancellor Merkel, he was prepared to reach a deal in which both Serbs and the Albanians lost something, but in recent days he has retrenched.

So, will a conclusive peace agreement ever happened? Regional analyst, Lulzim Peci.

I think that final agreement is possible; it will depend a lot from the engagement of the United States of America and European Union, if they are not strongly engaged in the region, then Russia enters with its influence and then situation becomes more complicated.

Russia aligns with the Serbs and it’s in Moscow’s interest for Kosovo of those current state of stagnation to continue. Most Serbs have a deep emotional attachment to Kosovo, and are reluctant to set it free as a nation. They regard Kosovo is the cradle of Serbian culture because it is home to Orthodox monastery like in Deçan.

This opening of this metal coffee it is something very attractive.

Yeah but, father Southern opens up the coffin of the monasteries, fourteenth century founder, King Stephen, a saint whose hand is as well preserved as any Egyptian mummy. This and other treasures underpin the religious and historical significance of Kosovo for the Serbs. In the past few months, some Serb politicians have suggested redrawing the map, so northern Kosovo becomes an integral part of Serbia again, but only 35 percent of Kosovo’s Serbs live in the north, the rest live among Albanians in the south.

These ideas are absolutely unrealistic and they are also, I must say, immoral, innovative. Father Southern has been a long time opponent of Serbian nationalism and his is an influential voice with visiting international politicians. He argues that the Serbs living in southern Kosovo have no intention of leaving willingly.

It will all be forced out of here just because certain people need to have clearly ethnically cut territories this is exactly what the reason was for the Balkans was in the 99 and we must never allow that to happen again.

Kosovo’s unsettled present is deterring, foreign investment of the absence of prosperity is particularly felt in Mitrovica, a town that is a microcosm of the nation’s ethnic tensions. Igor Simic represents Mitrovica Serbs in Kosova’s parliament, but he’s optimistic about reaching a deal with the former enemy.

Right now, nineteen years after the war ended, we are still talking about same stories from the past, so we have to find a way, how to go further, in our generation, doesn’t want to wait, doesn’t want to be on the same spot as their fathers. The young Kosovar who grew up after the war, have little experience of the hatred and fear that motivated their parents. Christiana Quni is the daughter of a prominent Kosovar guerilla fighter and a member of parliament. She is studying in Austria, but wants to return to help her nation and recover.

Maybe the only solution is that the young people from Kosovo to get together, and first talk, that I think it’s the only thing that we don’t do that often.

This small pork processing corporative in western Kosovo provides a glimpse of what is possible when the former enemies reach across the ethnic divide. It’s shared between Albanian woman and Serbs who returned to the area after the war.

Throughout Kosovo, It’s hard to find an enterprise like this one where we coexist together, It would be great if other people would follow suit.

It also shows that we are the same people, everybody has her own problems, her own worries, so we know each other and open our hearts to each other.

Good old wounds and likely to be reopened soon, wants a special cord in the Netherlands, indicts format Albanian members of the Kosovo Liberation Army for war crimes against serves other minorities and political opponents. Kosovars tried to stop the court being established, but America and its ambassador Greg Delawie, insisted it was essential.

Justice is vital for reconciliation, we support the Kosovo’s Special Court, we feel it’s essential to try to provide justice for all victims, and we think the court will make an important contribution to that.

But nurse called Kumnova and her husband Muharrem wants more Serbs to be held accountable. They’re heading to the empty grave, the son Albijon, he was 19 when, along with other men of fighting age, he was abducted by Serbian forces, you overran the western town of Gjakova in March 1999. 750 bodies have been recovered, 720 are still missing.

There won’t be any reconciliation while we’re still alive and all politicians shouldn’t dare to forgive Serbia, until Serbia returns all the remains of the bodies of those killed and all the perpetrators put on trial and until Serbia apologizes to us and to the world for the crimes committed in this country.

If the Kumnova’s are a team piece, they need to serve to examine his conscience and reveal their sons secret grave. For many Kosovars, the conflict is simply frozen and far from over.

For the PBS News hour Rockin Robin in Kosovo.