Sunday, February 17, 2013

Kosovo celebrates 5 years of independence

Associated Press

Ethnic Albanians in Kosovo celebrated the fifth anniversary of their declaration of independence from Serbia with a parade of police and armed forces in the main square of the capital Sunday.
It's the first time such forces have been used in a parade since the end of the 1998-99 war with Serbia.
The country's lightly armed Kosovo Security Force paraded in armored vehicles alongside firefighters and special police units wearing masks to conceal their identities. The NATO-trained force has 2,500 members and wants to become an army, but alliance members such as Greece and Spain oppose that because they reject Kosovo's independence.
Thousands of people flooded the capital, Pristina, to join the festivities, which were accompanied by traditional music.
"We have made some progress, but not the way we hoped," 65-year-old resident Ilaz Rama said. "The main thing is that we are free now."
Nearly 100 nations have recognized Kosovo's independence, but Serbia claims the territory as its own. The European Union is currently mediating talks between the two former foes.
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, a former rebel who fought against Serbia, said the country is seeking EU membership, but warned the goal was still distant.
"The Republic of Kosovo is on the right path to the European Union, but we still need to work and transform Kosovo into a developed European state," he said minutes before the parade started.
The celebrations come just days after the EU published a scathing report highlighting Kosovo's failure to fight organized crime and corruption. The report was drafted to list what Kosovo needs in order to have visa requirements wavered when traveling into the EU zone. But it also focuses on the need to implement the rule of law.
"I don't think it was a surprise to Kosovo," Samuel Zbogar, the top EU official in Kosovo, told The Associated Press in an interview Friday. "We know there are issues with the rule of law, we know there are issues with corruption, we know that there are still not all the laws in place and we know that the laws are not being implemented."

Read more here:

“Serbia will never recognize Kosovo’s independence”

BELGRADE -- Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo has released that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo’s independence.
The Office also called on the international community to accept reality – that there can be no reconciliation and progress without the same treatment of all people in the province and without condemnation of all crimes.
Today marks five years since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence.

“Serbia has never and will never recognize independent Kosovo. Something that was created on injustice cannot be legal and just,” reads a release.

The Office for Kosovo stressed that there had been 1,015 attacks on Serbs since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on February 17, 2008, completely disregarding the UN Security Council and Kosovo Serbs’ opposition.

The Office for Kosovo stated in the release that Serbs had been attacked with firearms 51 times, that explosive devices had been planted 11 times, that hand grenades and Molotov cocktails had been thrown 15 times, that 25 churches had been attacked, that 201 Orthodox cemeteries had been desecrated, that 197 tombstones had been destroyed, that 135 Serb houses had been stoned and that fires were set to properties owned by Serbs 48 timed.

According to the release, 106 Serb homes were robbed, 13 woods owned by Serbs were burned, the Visoki Dečani monastery was attacked and the number of stolen cattle, cars and agricultural machines is unknown.

“A bomb was thrown at a three-year-old boy and a nine-year-old girl on February 4, four Serbs were murdered, 245 were injured, the Serb population is attacked 203 times a year, an attack every other day,” the Office for Kosovo warned.

“There are no European standards for Serbs in so-called independent Kosovo, privatization was and is still conducted solely for Albanians while 40,000 Serbian requests for the return of the property and compensation of damages are waiting for a response in vain,” reads the release.

The Office for Kosovo warns that “a state has not been established in so-called independent Kosovo but an apartheid in which two perpetrators have been convicted for 1,004 Serb victims”.

No comments: