Kosovo: The EU should back peace-building

Lord Hylton

Kosovo was part of the former Yugoslavia.  The majority of its population are Albanians, but there is a Serb minority mainly living in the North East of the territory.  In addition, there are several historic Serbian orthodox monasteries, dating from the Middle Ages.

At least two of them are UNESCO listed sites and they also have resident communities of monks and nuns.  For almost ten years they have been  surrounded by barbed wire and protected by NATO troops, because of difficult relations with the Albanian neighbours.  The Soul of Europe, a British charity which has previously worked in Bosnia, has been invited by the monasteries and their neighbors to help them to work out sensible solutions to these problems.

On Monday 21st June I asked the following Question in Parliament:

“Are the Government aware of the very delicate situation now existing in Kosovo?  This is already sub judice at the European Court of Justice.  In addition, it so happens that the new Patriarch of all the Orthodox Serbs will be enthroned in the historic monastery of Pecs in October.  This event could be seen by the Albanian majority as provocation or an act of cultural assertion.   Do the Government agree that this makes it urgent to normalise relations between all the Serb monasteries and their Albanian neighbours?  These have been tense since 2000 – ten years ago.  Will the Government ask the European Union to commission and pay for an independent third-party attempt at conciliation, which has already, I am glad to say, been invited by both parties in the conflict?  I conclude by declaring a non-financial interest in the NGO in question.”

Lord Strathclyde answered for the govenrment:  “My Lords, I cannot confirm that there was a discussion at the European Council but clearly the situation in Kosovo is immensely tense and the Noble Lord has great expertise on it.  The words that he has spoken today will of course be taken fully into account by my colleagues in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office”.

7 comments for “Kosovo: The EU should back peace-building

  1. Twm O'r Nant
    24/06/2010 at 12:13 pm

    Kosovo IS Serbia! Serbia is Kosovo!

    What hope is there of conflict resolution in the light of that rallying cry from the current leaders of the Serbs?

    They should have thought about that when Milosevich planned the dismantling of the FRY.

    However monasteries are not everything and may also dwindle and die in the absence of
    new recruits to the monastery. There are not many Orthodox Serbs who would want to dedicate their lives to a future in what is now such a hostile place.

    That small number of Serbs in Kosovo now, made me wonder why they should make such an emotional call (S is K)when it is obvious that few Serbs really think so, by living there.

    But then are Welshmen abroad (diaspora) not far more patriotic than those who live at home, harking back to an ideal past which was in reality hard and grinding work! If they live in England it is comprehensible; now where are those Welsh flags for my front gate in Dorset?

    • 24/06/2010 at 3:43 pm

      We need to know what different Stakeholders mean by ‘peace-keeping’, ‘peace-building’, ‘peace-winning’ and so on and so forth, please.
      JSDM.

      • Lord Hylton
        Lord Hylton
        06/07/2010 at 11:58 am

        Thank you. Peace keeping is usually understood as a military intervention to uphold a ceasefire or peace agreement.

        Peacebuilding is diplomatic or other third party work to facilitate agreement or to promote reconciliation betwen parties to conflict, at all levels from highest to lowest. Peace-winning is probably similar. Please see also the published works of the late Australian Professor John burton

    • 24/06/2010 at 3:51 pm

      You ask what hope is there of conflict resolution ?

      There has long been a perfectly workable version of the Friendly Method III win-win-win Cooperative Problem Solving method available for collaboratively peaceful conflict-resolution.

      (Check with “Every-One Can Win” by Cornelius & Faire; and “old” book Twm O’r Nant, but by no means outmoded nor outdated. A video-set was also available as Training Workshop for the individual or small-group).

      • Lord Hylton
        Lord Hylton
        06/07/2010 at 12:00 pm

        Thank you. Peace-keeping is usually understood as a military intervention to uphold a ceasefire or peace agreement. Peace-building is dipomatic or other third party work to facilitate agreement or to promote reconciliation between parties to conflict, at al levels from highest to lowest. Peace-winning is probably similar.

        Please see also the published works of the late Australian Professor John Burton

    • 25/06/2010 at 9:43 am

      Within hours of your writing, Twn O’r Nant, a Welsh-woman has been appointed Prime Minister of Australia;
      in deed to goodness !
      (jm0942F25)

  2. Gareth Howell
    25/06/2010 at 7:33 pm

    “now where are those Welsh flags for my front gate in Dorset?”

    That is the problem! None of them lives there but they all wave the flag!

    Worse still the only people who really make full use of Kosovo now are those who have nothing whatsoever to do with the Serbians waving the flag from abroad.

    The answer is blatantly obvious. Kosovo for the Kosovans. Kosovo IS Kosovo (and vice versa)

    How much more foolish can the Serbians be than that, and how much more foolish can any international body be in taking notice of what they think about Kosovo, except to placate them, probably with cash or incentives of some sort, to persuade them to abandon it for ever.

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