October 19, 2003
The Observer (UK)

Angry Kosovars Call on 'Colonial' UN Occupying Force to Leave

The international force's fall from grace in Kosovo is a stark warning of what could happen to peacekeepers in Iraq

by Helena Smith

The first chant came from the back of the crowd. 'Go home!' yelled a youngster, as he stood in Pristina's dusty Mother Teresa Square, the site last week of Kosovo's first post-war demonstration.

'Out with the UN!' screamed an elderly woman, producing a placard that conveyed the same message. 'We don't need you here!'

Four years ago, Kosovar Albanians were liberated from their Serbian tormentors by the West. The international bureaucrats who arrived to administer the benighted territory after Nato forces made their triumphant entry were hailed as heroes by a populous as grateful as it was grief-stricken.

But now Kosovo has become angry again. As the eyes of the world have been elsewhere, another battle has erupted in the heart of the world's 'most successful' UN peacekeeping mission. After around 1,500 days of receiving more money, aid and support than any other war-ravaged country, Kosovars are angry. But this time their venom is reserved for the very people who came to protect and reform them.


[1,000 Serbs had been driven from their homes after attacks by ethnic Albanians--"Kosovo clashes 'ethnic cleansing'," BBC News, March 19, 2004]

[The plan, drawn up by the UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari, does not explicitly mention the word independence. However, it calls for a multi-ethnic Kosovo "governing itself democratically and with full respect for the rule of law" . . .

"An important element of the settlement is the mandate provided for a future international civilian and military presence in Kosovo, to supervise implementation of the settlement and assist the competent Kosovo authorities in ensuring peace and stability throughout Kosovo," the draft document said.

It recommended that a "new, professional and multi-ethnic Kosovo security force" with 2,500 active members and 800 reservists should be set up within a year.

The plan provides for an "international civilian representative" with a dual role as the EU's top official in Kosovo, who would "have ultimate supervisory authority over the implementation of the settlement".--"UN plan calls for Kosovo constitution," Guardian Unlimited, February 2, 2007]

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