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On Kosovo, Dacic Compares to Palestine, Thaci Talks Coal & UNESCO

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, August 21 -- The outgoing Kosovo representative of the UN Farid Zarif, when  he briefed the UN Security Council on August 21, expressed hope that "the dialogue will expand to include other difficult issues... the fate of missing persons and to provide a scheme for compensating their families, to revitalize transport and commercial links, to address the many complex issues surrounding property, to deal with issues of return and settlement of refugees and internally displaced persons, and to discuss the status of the Orthodox Church."

  Then Serbia's Ivica Dacic and Kosovo's Hashim Thaci traded long speeches and zingers in right of reply. Dacic cited double standards and repeatedly made comparisons to Palestine. Thaci talked of genocide and rape to his government's energy project with the World Bank - coal, that is. Kosovo wants into UNESCO - like Palestine, we note.

  Neither side came to the UNTV stakeout; Thaci headed upstairs to friendly media on the UN's third floor.

  At the end an African diplomat complained to Inner City Press, Such long speeches for so little. Everything is relative.

   Back on May 26, Farid Zarif had a long paragraph about delay in trying "cases arising from the finding of the EU Special Investigative Task Force" -- without mentioning the underlying organ trafficking.

 Meanwhile the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights, embroiled in a scandal of covering up alleged child rapes by French soldiers in the Central African Republic, including allow the (French) chief of UN Peacekeeping to try to get the OHCHR whistleblower fired, has closed its office in Kosovo.

 In a speech after Zarif's briefing, Russia's Ambassador Vitaly Churkin criticized the delay in the Special Court, and the failure to report the build-up to Kumanovo.

  Here's what the UN's Farid Zarif said on this, followed by Churkin:

  A matter of pressing importance is the completion of the necessary steps toward establishment of the Specialist Court, in order to try cases arising from the findings of the EU Special Investigative Task Force in accordance with the highest standards of international justice. In my meetings across the Kosovo political establishment, I have underlined the clear expectations from the international community, as well as from those who may have been the victims of past crimes, that there be no undue delays in the steps required from Kosovo toward the establishment of the Court. I had hoped to be able to report today that the relevant constitutional and legislative steps had been completed, but the issue now has been tentatively scheduled for action this Friday.

   Farif made a glancing reference to major regional events: "the deadly armed clashes in Kumanovo, former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, on May 9 and 10. The violent clashes involved several individuals from Kosovo."

  Churkin, on Kumanovo, said

"The Kosovan problem is still pertinent and still has a destabilizing impact on the whole region. This is verified by the recent events in Macedonia, in particular the attack by bandits in uniform of the KLA on the Macedonian border guards on the 21st of April and the incident in Kumanovo on the 9 of May. This was caused by the arrival in that town of a large group of radical fighters from Kosovo who planned to carry out a series of terrorist attacks in the territory of Macedonia.

"We are astonished that the information in Skopje about the  plans of the terrorists were conveyed to international partners who played a key role in ensuring security in Kosovo at the beginning of this year. This warning was ignored. The Macedonian incidents show that in this region of the Balkans there are still inter-ethnic conflicts, and it proves the high conflict potential of the region. The situation is also impacted by a lack of the rule of law in Kosovo. This is a result of a lack of settlement of the Kosovo problem on the whole.

 On the organ trade, Churkin said:

"There have been delays in establishing the Special Court to investigating the crime carried out by the KLA including the trade in human organs. It's odd that the establishment of such a body has been dependent on legislative decisions in Prisitina when clearly Kosovo has not been ready to objectively evaluate such a delicate matter. There is a negative legacy of this from the recent past. There have been reports about western diplomats in Pristina trying to persuade  Kosovars to adopt a text written for them that would apparently give them better results than if this matter was brought to the Security Council. We dont understand how such friendly recommendations can be married with the mantra of the rule of law. We  insist on the need to achieve real progress in this area as soon as possible. We note what was said today by Mr. Thaci. We confirm our position that the perpetrators of these crimes must be brought to justice irrespective of their status.

  We'll see.


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