Kosovo: Nationalist Hopes

Just seven years ago, Kosovo was recovering from the attempted ethnic cleansing of its Albanian population by Serb forces. NATO airstrikes ended the process and allowed refugees to return. Since then, the United Nations has been in charge and now, almost unnoticed, talks are underway to decide the future of the province.

The World Today
Published 1 November 2006 Updated 12 November 2020 4 minute READ

James Pettifer

Author of The New Macedonia Question, Palgrave 2001

Vienna is famed in the Albanian world for possessing the original helmet of Skenderbeg, the national hero who resisted the Ottoman invasion of the Balkans in the fifteenth century.

Nowadays, hopes in Kosovo and Albania itself have been focussed on the Vienna talks with the Serbs that are trying to negotiate the future of the province, which is still technically part of Serbia, though under United Nations control.

Since February, teams of Kosovo Albanian and Serb negotiators have been ensconced in a castle outside the Austrian capital, under the moderation of veteran Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtisaari, to decide the future of what on the surface should be the last Balkan conundrum left over from the wars of the Yugoslav succession.

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