by B. MITRINOVIC
Two nights ago, members of the organization that embarked on a war for Kosovo's independence about 10 years ago caused a bomb blast in the centre of Pristina that damaged three UNMIK vehicles.
This act of terrorism against the representatives of the international community in Kosmet [Kosovo and Metohija] was obviously a calculated message from Pristina to the people participating in the Vienna talks on the future status of Kosovo, which Ahtisaari has described as "the last chance for compromise." The terrorist attack was a grim reminder to Serbia of the pressure applied against Serbia's negotiating position on March 17, 2004, when Kosovo Albanians organized riots that resulted in 19 deaths, the expulsion of 4,500 non-Albanians from their homes, and the destruction of 35 Serbian Orthodox churches and monasteries.
In a statement in which they assumed responsibility for the bomb attack, the members of the UCK - which was formally disbanded after the fighting had stopped although the majority of its members joined the Kosovo Protection Force - said yesterday that they would "avenge every injustice inflicted on the people." They described their terrorist act as an act of revenge for the killing of two demonstrators and the wounding of 80 Kosovo Albanians in the recent demonstrations staged by the Self-Determination Movement. This movement, headed by Albin Kurti, protested because Ahtisaari's plan did not call for an immediate unconditional independence of Kosovo.
The similarities with the violence of three years ago do not end here. Then as well as now they used the same threat of violence and terrorism to speed up independence. Then as well as now, the international officials justified their rush towards independence with the ominous hostility that could not easily be contained.
Last Friday in the US Congress Foreign Affairs Subcommittee, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the negotiators would be facing a difficult issue and would have to work on the ways to avoid an "explosion." "We do not want the last piece of the puzzle that will result in united Europe based on democratic principles to blow up because of Kosovo," Rice said.
Yesterday's message sent by the unexpectedly "revived" UCK aims to awaken such fears. The international forces in Kosovo know they are safe in Kosovo only for as long as the Albanians are extending them their hospitality. "The aim of these explosions was to destroy UNMIK vehicles, not to cause human casualties, as the UNMIK Police did (during the Self-Determination demonstrations)," the statements issued by the terrorists said.
The two-day violence of the Kosovo Albanians in 2004, when their rage towards the Serbs spilled over and turned on the KFOR troops, compelled UN Secretary General Kofi Anan's special envoy for Kosovo Kai Eide to inform the UN Secretary General that "prolonging the uncertain status of Kosovo should not be an option, in other words, the temporary status of the Kosovo institutions should be terminated and its status should be resolved." Haste in resolving the Kosovo problem was at that time also expressed by US Under-Secretary Nicholas Burns, who said that "the people of Kosovo deserve to know what their future will be."
Today this sentence is not used only by civil servants in the US Administration, but it is also one of the arguments used by UN Kosovo Status Envoy Martti Ahtisaari and his deputy Albert Rohan, who themselves give the talks in Vienna virtually no chance at all.
In an interview to the Vienna tabloid Kurier, two days before the start of the negotiations, Rohan announced that there was "little likelihood" of the talks leading to a compromise.
"There is no realistic alternative to the UN proposal, and the continuation of the current situation is impossible," Rohan said and concluded that "without a plan for the future of Kosovo, the two opposing sides would almost inevitably bring the situation to a destabilization of Kosovo, creating disorder that could potentially jeopardize the entire region."
Thus, the same protagonists used the very same formulation and identical methods to express dissatisfaction with the slowness of the decision making process. Given the past reactions of the Western powers to the Albanian frustrations, yesterday's statement made by the Chief of the US Office in Pristina Tina Kaidanow that "violence of any sort, whether aimed at international organizations, ethnic communities or political groups, will endanger the status determination process" does not seem very convincing. The truth is - violence speeds up the status determination process.
Original headline - "Povratak na terorizam OVK"