Operation Kosovo
About Operation Kosovo

Daily Trip Report - March 19, 2004

Prof. Perritt -
I walked up to the top of the hill again this morning. Now tanks and APCs were deployed not only in the road but also to the sides of the road. A new line of concertina wire lay across the road about twenty yards from the tanks. The ground was littered with gallon plastic bottles of saline solution, surgical masks and boxes of onions. I supposed the onions were for throwing at the NATO troops. Later, it was explained to me that onions (for sniffing) and saline solution (for the eyes) are good antidotes for tear gas.

I met with the Prime Minister for a few minutes at 0900. He specifically wanted me to complement Stephen, Kate and Tim for their good work on the tourism brochure, which he seemed very pleased with.

Everyone agrees that it would be disastrous to revise the KTA operating policies to "glue" the liabilities back to the assets offered for bid.

Then I spent some time with Ahmet Shala and Besim Beqaj, joined after a time by Ernst U. Tschoepke, deputy legal adviser to the SRSG. "Oh," he said when I looked at my card, "I know you." I braced myself because I have been quite critical of his office in the past. But he went on to say that the white paper on political trusteeship which we did in 2000 was instrumental in helping the OLA in Prishtina and the OLA in New York, define an aggressive role for UNMIK in economic development. Tschoepka likes the idea of C-K externships at KTA, Special Chamber and in support of the trade union organization.

As you make your summer plans, remember that we stand a good chance of being able to support 3-6 externs at various privatization and commercial law institutions for the summer, including one or two graduating LLMs with European nationality.

The Prime Minister went up the hill last night and brought 4,000 demonstrators back down with him. Things are much calmer today, but the hope is that NATO and UNMIK will respond by forcing the Serb demonstrators away from their roadblock, thus reopening the road to Skopje. That roadblock, after all, is what precipitated the whole crisis, and it was erected before stories spread about the kids drowning in Mitrovica. Hopefully, the international community will recognize that the Prime Minister and the PISG have to have something to show for their efforts to get the demonstrators to calm down-at least the reopening of the road, in the short term.

Though the targeting of the Serb enclaves and religious facilities was unfortunate-to say the least-everyone agrees that Kosovar frustration with little progress after five years of UN administration, and with the freeze on privatization were proximate causes of the violence.

Unfortunately, too many young people picked easy targets for their rage. The way to fix the problem is for the international community to take this as a wakeup call, and get off its status-quo-ism and embrace a results-oriented approach to determining final status and to privatization and economic development.

If I did not mention it before, we have a very interesting case to work on, for those who are interested.

The airport had been closed yesterday and this morning to allow NATO to fly in reinforcements, but fortunately it reopened just in time for me to catch my flight. I write this from Vienna.

I ran across Mike Rinow in the PRN airport and we are to have dinner tonight in Vienna, to talk about tourism, Bretovica, and Kosovar politics.

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