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Thursday, March 20, 2008

UN Mitrovica Head Resigns

There are surprisingly no reports on the aftermath of the Mitrovica riots in main news networks, but there are a number of interesting reactions reported by local news organisations.

From B-92, a Belgrade TV, Radio and Web news service, comes the item that the
Head of UNMIK's administration in K.Mitrovica, U.S. diplomat Gerard Gallucci has tendered his resignation. B92 reports as follows -

Gallucci's move was brought about by his dissatisfaction with the UN police operation on March 17 in Kosovska Mitrovica, said an international official.

UN headquarters in New York have not, however, accepted his resignation, said the same source.

Gallucci is presently on vacation and will return next weekend to continue his work.

The UNMIK official’s report to the UN Security Council, according to the Kosovo Serb leader, states that the badly planned operation to “bring back order and law in the north led to the disappearance of order and law.”


It is also interesting (from this report in Al Jazeera on Sunday the day before the dawn raid on the Courthouse) that the UN were about to hold a crucial meeting with the Serbian Minister For Kosovo, scheduled for Monday -

Nobosa Jovic, one of the demonstrators, said they had rejected a UN demand that they leave the building by midday (1100 GMT) on Saturday.
The demonstrators have suggested that they stay put until the results of a meeting between Slobodan Samardzic, Serbia's minister for Kosovo and Joachim Ruecker, head of the UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik).

The meeting is scheduled for Monday.


It seems as if the UN on the ground were prepared to negotiate and had led the Serbs to believe that negotiations were going to take place. But someone high up in the UN must have given the order to carry out the dawn raid pre-empting any negotiations, ensuring that fighting took place and that the Serbs would inevitably be humiliated.

Who would it be at the UN Headquarters in the New York who gave the order for the raid, overriding local UN attempts to negotiate, as demanded by Pristina where thinly veiled threats of violence are (it appears from Gallucci's resignation letter quoted below) being issued? Whoever it was, was, in the opinion of the Serb Minister for Kosovo looking for a fight, and to demonstrate to the Serbs that they are going to be beaten by UN military force.

The raid has also been criticised by the Ukrainians who are a part of the UN force in Mitrovica, alleging poor communication within the different national contingents within the UN and NATO. Ukraine has 20 soldiers wounded and one fatality resulting from the raid. A Ukrainian statement said that Ukraine would not withdraw its force 'for the time being'.

Gallucci's full resignation letter is viewable via a google search - as follows -

"If, on some other day, the police simply asked the people to leave the premises before trying to arrest them, perhaps we could have announced a victory without a price tag," the report said.

One positive aspect is that during the events Monday, Serbs did not disturb or attack Albanians in northern Mitrovica, and they cooperated with UNMIK during the evacuation of our civilians," Gallucci said.

Some Albanians live in the north of the divided town, while there are no Serbs in the southern, Albanian part.

"Our credibility and relations necessary for our peacekeeping role in the north have been seriously, perhaps irreversibly jeopardized. Now we can all see that Serbs have a clear goal, that they are well-organized and well-armed. The Serb community in the north, regardless of whether people like Marko [Jakšić] and Milan [Ivanović], will gather around their 'radical' leadership, if it is directly provoked. Reaction to any attempt of their arrest would be fierce," the paper, entitled, "Report after defeat", says.

"All in all, it must be clear that the use of force to achieve political goals related to the status will not work. Just as we have said many, many times before… the use of force will only lead to violence that will probably accelerate the partition or will lead to new ethnic cleansing and conflict. This must be kept in mind when future decisions are made about UN courts, railways, electricity."

Gallucci also suggested that UNMIK must "admit its mistakes and repent for what has been done" in order to continue communicating with the Serbs in the north.

"Albanians must be made to understand clearly: leave the north to us, live in peace and stop threatening with violence. We heard that Premier Thaci's been telling people he's been "having trouble controlling the Drenica boys". We did not annul the unilateral declaration of independence because we could not stop it. By the same token, we cannot force those who reject it to accept it. Not only have we no moral or legal basis to use force, but it yields no results," Gallucci concludes his damning report.


It seems that at least one of the wiser heads in Kosovo are wanting to get out. Things are not looking good with the Serbian Army in position on the Kosovan border. How much provocation will it take?

UPDATE - And now Bush starts supplying arms to Kosovo. See report HERE. Is he mad?

1 comment:

kerdasi amaq said...

'Someone high up in the UN must have given the order to carry out the dawn raid pre-empting any negotiations, ensuring that fighting took place and that the Serbs would inevitably be humiliated.'

He he the Serbs didn't 'know their role'. Maybe they were supposed to refuse to negotiate and walk off in a huff; which would then "justify" force being used against them.

The Serbs (and by extension the Russians) would want to take care: they could be walking into a trap.