How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue
How to Relaunch the Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue
Report 76 / Europe & Central Asia

Who's Who in Kosovo

This paper offers a brief guide to the leading indigenous organisations and personalities in Kosovo/Kosova.

Executive Summary

This paper offers a brief guide to the leading indigenous political organisations and personalities in Kosovo/Kosova.[fn]This report usually gives both the Albanian and Serb names for places.  In the case of Kosovo/Kosova, however, ‘Kosovo’ alone is generally used, both to make the text easier to read and because it is the term in general use among English-speakers.Hide Footnote

The authority of the international civil and military presence in Kosovo rests on UN Security Council Resolution 1244 of 10 June 1999.  Under international law no other authority enjoys any legitimacy until the UN administration grants it.  Specifically, the international civil presence is tasked with:

“Organizing and overseeing the development of provisional institutions for democratic and autonomous self-government pending a political settlement…”[fn]UNSCR 1244, paragraph 11(c).Hide Footnote

The UN, as a step towards fulfillment of this task, has created an advisory and consultative Transitional Council, composed of representatives of Kosovar Albanian political parties and leaders from minority communities.  It has had a shaky start, meeting only once in July and twice in August, though meetings are now planned weekly.

Among the Albanians themselves, meanwhile, at least two main groups contend for power and prominence.  There is the long-standing parliament and parallel government under Ibrahim Rugova, elected President of Kosovo by an unofficial Albanian electorate in 1992 and 1998 – but in the present circumstances it has lost the ability to perform any of its functions.  Dr Bujar Bukoshi remains prime minister in this arrangement though he broke with Rugova several years ago – the money controlled by Dr Bukoshi is in theory a major strength of Rugova’s party the LDK, but for the moment Bukoshi’s use of these funds is mysterious.  A meeting of the parliament has been scheduled for 31 August.

Then there is the provisional government agreed by the main Albanian blocs at Rambouillet, including Rugova, and now established under the UÇK political leader Hashim Thaçi with a multi-party membership but boycotted by Rugova and his allies.

Of these the provisional government is currently more active and visible, but it remains a coalition.  From Thaçi down its members are neither united nor consistent about its status, sometimes speaking as if it should be treated as an executive ally of the UN, sometimes as though it is no more than a powerful lobby, sometimes as though it is itself the ‘real’ government and the UN’s job is to assist it.

Meanwhile party political life goes on in a confused way, as Kosovo’s politicians adapt to the new circumstances.  Many of the parties at present are no more than groups of like-minded friends, and the scene is universally admitted to be very changeable.  The UÇK is not a political party; nonetheless for organisation, prestige and sheer omnipresence it merits first treatment in any post-war listing of Kosovo’s power-groupings.

Prishtinë/Pristina, 31 August 1999

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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