Kosovo: Nation in Waiting

The future of Kosovo is likely to be decided this year. Washington sees the area as a key factor in its strategic plans for oil and Middle East security. So independence is suddenly back on the agenda.

The World Today
Published 1 February 2005 Updated 15 October 2020 5 minute READ

James Pettifer

Author of The New Macedonia Question, Palgrave 2001

Six years ago, diplomats were putting the finishing touches on what was to be the Rambouillet conference that led to NATO bombing. Refugees huddled under plastic sheeting in the rain and snow of the Drenice forests. Slobodan Milosevic did, or did not, bother to see American envoy Richard Holbrooke. It seems a world as distant now as that of the Middle Ages.

The refugees eventually went home, NATO sent in a protection force and, until the riots last March, the world more or less forgot about Kosovo. The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) administration set about spending the reconstruction money, non-government organisations rebuilt homes, and the European Union (EU) repaired and widened roads. Elections were held, peacefully and successfully, but few of the diminishing number of Serbs in Kosovo bothering to vote in a society ninety-seven percent dominated by ethnic Albanians.

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