Saturday, 29 October 2005

Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro's positions on Kosova/Kosovo's independence

Albania, the Republic of Macedonia and Montenegro are probably going to advocate the recognition of Kosova/Kosovo's independence.

Unsurprisingly, Albania supports Kosovo's campaign for autonomy. Albanian Albanians and Kosovan Albanians are interrelated communities: many Kosovan Albanians and their families and friends have lived or do live in Albania; many Albanian Albanians and their families and friends have lived or do live in Kosovo or elsewhere in the former Yugoslavia and were subjected to racist violence. Albanians easily understand Kosovans' aspirations and fears, as do the Bosnian Muslims (a term that was sometimes used to refer to all non-Orthodox and non-Catholic Bosnians) and the Slovenians.

Fazli Veliu, a Macedonian Albanian (or an Albanian Macedonian, given his profession that "my country is Macedonia") and a member of the Democratic Union for Integration, argued that "Kosovo's independence will not jeopardize Macedonia and the entire region", but suggested that, "if it is opposed, there may be some other consequences, because Kosovo and the Kosovars have no other desire but to be independent".

Veliu, however, was a member of the organisation that became the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and of the Homeland Calling Fund, which raised money to fund the KLA's activities; particularly given some reports that the KLA was encamped near the Macedonian border, some may worry that the cautionary note he struck was more of a threat than a warning.

The Republic of Macedonia is aware of the practical and political benefits of Kosovo's independence - a secure, friendly neighbour, a calm internal minority, an economic partner - and Macedonians, too, were oppressed by Slobodan Milosevic, so they too can easily understand Kosovans' aspirations and fears.

Critically, Montenegro is also aware of the benefits of Kosovo's independence and Montenegrins were also oppressed by Milosevic; the large minority Serb population and majority Serbian language and Serbian Orthodox community's solidarity with Kosovans undermines the ethnic narratives of history and politics and ethnic geographies of friends and enemies that are prevalent within Kosovo. The potential for communities' reconciliation created by these states' cooperation ought not to be underestimated.

Despite Serbia's desire "not to permit" it, with the support of Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Slovenia and the acceptance of the United Nations Mission In Kosovo (UNMIK) that "there is no reason" to oppose Kosovo's independence declaration, the prospects for independence and thereby for peaceful, multicultural democracy, are improving; nevertheless, whether it will be a significant improvement from the present, grim circumstances remains to be seen.

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