English summary of interview by Henry H. Perritt, Jr. in Fokusi, November, 2005
T: Kosova – Lazy
Serbia : in Offensive
T2: Kosovar leaders aren’t influencing enough in Washington, London and Berlin. Serbian propaganda for Kosova is overwhelming western media.
T3: Ramush Haradinaj should be the central character of the process.
Nt: Negotiations shall end with full and clear independence, but it will be very important for USA to support it and this will happen only if political leaders in Kosova realize two things: first is to raise their voice in international medias especially in USA, UK and Germany and to raise their voice within Kosova, to help internationals understand why conditional independence is a bad and not adequate idea.
by Henry Perritt.
It’s brave that international community is interested to start and complete negotiations for the final status and this is a big change from a year ago. The international climate is good. But I am concerned about three things: First, as I have touched the subject in my articles published in Koha Ditore and Kosova Sot, Kosova is loosing the media war in the west, USA, France, Germay and England. Spokesmen of the Serbian position are giving speeches, writing editorials, writing to different publishers so everyday in USA is found something about the Serbian position, that the American people are listening to and following through the television. On the other side Kosova voice is mute in USA.
The second issue is that there is a lot of support for the conditional independence, but no one knows what that means. One meaning that can be vested to it is the status that Kosova already has-- the same status that has existed during these 6 years which means, now you get a little independence and supposedly in the future the rest of the independence will be given if some conditions are satisfied. But this is exactly the same as “Standards Before Status,” formula that didn’t prove successful. It’s ridiculous to enter in negotiations that will end up in conditional independence which is a form of status-quo.
The other meaning that conditional independence might have is to receive full independence starting right now that the international community can take away if certain criteria are not met. This is not very adequate because is similar to what Bosnia-Herzegovina already has now.
What Kosova needs is full independence, not conditional, nothing else but full independence, a sovereign state of Kosova. The international community must play two important roles after Kosova becomes independent. First, it must provide security assistance through NATO to protect Kosova in a “dangerous neighborhood.” Second, it must provide economic assistance. Kosova’s need for these two types of assistance provide the international community with sufficient leverage to assure Kosova’s continued progress toward rule of law, democracy, respect for human rights and a market economy. If Kosova is uncooperative, the international community can cut off assistance.
There is no need for complicated legal structures such as “conditional independence;” simple independence accompanied by these two assistance links will produce a better result for everyone.
Mst: This is how the negotiation process for Kosova would be successful.
The third issue is that I think no one is prepared enough to negotiate, nor the international community, nor UNMIK nor the government of Kosova or Political Parties. I do not feel sorry because there is not a unanimous position within Kosova regarding the negotiations process. I think that for Albin Kurti and his people to take the positions they have, and voice their opinion is good. I think it’s right that Hashim Thaci has taken a stronger approach which is different from what some other people think. Actually it is important that some strong voices are heard in the negotiation process which might be more extreme but that’s how the negotiation moves in your favor. If there are no strong and extremist voices in Kosova, just don’t forget that there are such voices in Serbia. Kosova needs to provide the resistance to balance the negotiations.
On the other hand it’s true that during the negotiations no one receives all that’s been asked for, and if someone thinks Kosova will receive all that it’s asking for, this just isn’t going to happen. A crucial part of the negotiation process is to make a strong entry point and negotiate on non-essential requests and achieve an agreement that’s acceptable by everybody.
If negotiations were concluded today, I think the result would be “conditional independence,” and that would be a bad result. Kosova’s leaders need to work hard to produce a better result: simple independence. They must raise their voices outside Kosova, in the US, in the UK, in Germany and elsewhere. They must raise their voices inside Kosova to help everyone understand why “conditional independence” is unacceptable.
Mst: Ramush Haradinaj, the leader that’s essential in the negotiation process for Kosova.
I hope that the Hague Tribune will make the appropriate decision in considering the appeal of the prosecutor against allowing Ramush Haradinaj to participate publicly in Kosova politics. I hope this will happen very soon, because he is one of the most effective leaders in Kosova. It’s very unfortunate that because of this unexpected accusation he is not able to make public declarations. I think the trial chambers had reached the right decision to allow him to address the public, athough it is problematic that he get permission from the SRSG every time he wants to do that. It’s important that he is allowed to make public declarations. I hope the appeal with be resolved in the favor of the previous decision and this be done quickly.