Kosovo’s Linchpin: Overcoming Division in Mitrovica
Kosovo’s Linchpin: Overcoming Division in Mitrovica
Table of Contents
  1. Executive Summary
How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue
How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue

Kosovo’s Linchpin: Overcoming Division in Mitrovica

Mitrovica has become the linchpin of Kosovo’s future united status.  The stakes are high.  If the international community cannot re-establish Mitrovica as a single city, efforts to preserve a united Kosovo will also fail.

Executive Summary

Mitrovica has become the linchpin of Kosovo’s future united status.  The stakes are high.  If the international community cannot re-establish Mitrovica as a single city, efforts to preserve a united Kosovo will also fail.

Trouble has plagued Mitrovica – the city in northern Kosovo effectively divided between a northern Serb portion and a southern Albanian one – since NATO’s Kosovo Force (KFOR) arrived in June 1999.  Tensions in the city over the past few months have periodically erupted into violence.  The situation has crystallised many of the weak points of the international approach in Kosovo: lack of vision for the future; inability to protect the security of minority groups or to promote real reconciliation between Albanians and Serbs; insufficient human and financial resources among international administrators; and poor co-ordination, as well as finger pointing, among both international military and civilian officials in Mitrovica.

Senior UN and KFOR officials are working on plans for improving co-ordination among military and civilian officials in Mitrovica and there are some tentative signs that the efforts of the new UN administrator and others are beginning to take hold.  But the United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) needs to articulate what it has so far failed to: a public vision and strategy for Mitrovica that will give both Serbs and Albanians the confidence that the international community has the will and resources to help them recreate Mitrovica as a single city where both communities can live in security, tolerance, and prosperity.

Mitrovica needs, in the context of that articulated vision, a package of political, economic, and military carrots and sticks aimed at breaking Belgrade’s control over Mitrovica.  These measures should be designed to give the Serbs confidence that they can live safely and that their political and cultural identity will be respected in a united Kosovo, while assuring the Albanians that they can return to Mitrovica and that the division will not harden further into de facto partition.

Pristina/Washington/Brussels, 31 May 2000

How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue

Online Event to discuss Crisis Group's report "Relaunching the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue", in which we discussed what currently stands in the way of a new status quo and what it will take to relaunch the process with the Pristina elections in view.

Thirteen years after Kosovo broke away from Serbia, the two countries remain mired in mutual non-recognition, with deleterious effects on both. The parties need to move past technicalities to tackle the main issues at stake: Pristina’s independence and Belgrade’s influence over Kosovo’s Serbian minority.

In this conversation, we discussed what currently stands in the way of a new status quo and what it will take to relaunch the process with the Pristina elections in view.

How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue (Online Event, 28th January 2021)

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