Solutions for Northern Kosovo: Lessons Learned in Mostar, Eastern Slavonia, and Brcko
NATIONAL DEFENSE UNIV WASHINGTON DC CENTER FOR TECHNOLOGY AND NATIONAL SECURITY POLICY
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The six-nation Contact Group on Kosovo is now engaged in discussions about the future status of Kosovo. If the Contact Groups current guidelines are followed, Kosovo may become an independent country with no formal partitions. Under those circumstances, the treatment of the Serb minority in Kosovo about 7 percent of the population will be a critical issue in the negotiations. The largest concentration of those Serbs is north of the Ibar River, in and around the city of Mitrovica. To provide a historical context for consideration of the Mitrovica issue, the Center for Technology and National Security Policy CTNSP has examined three similar cases that were managed by the international community starting in the mid-1990s Mostar and Brcko, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Eastern Slavonia, in Croatia. By looking at the results of these three cases a decade or more after they began, the authors endeavor to shed light on the options for Mitrovica. To accomplish this, CTNSP held a workshop attended by many Balkan experts. In addition, CTNSP staff traveled to Mitrovica, Mostar, and Brcko to gather first-hand information relating to this problem. The observations and recommendations of CTNSP staff are presented here in the form of studies on Mostar, Brcko, and Eastern Slavonia that have been vetted by regional experts. The case studies are accompanied by background material on Mitrovica and a summary of the recommendations of the workshop. The summary and the case studies should be seen as the separate contributions of the workshop participants and the authors of the case studies, not as a unified study with consensus recommendations. A matrix at the end of this paper summarizes the three case studies and their relevance to Mitrovica. If the Contact Group excludes formal partition of Kosovo, three basic options for Mitrovica remain de facto partition Mostar, rapid reorientation Eastern Slavonia, and ethnic integration in an international zone Brcko.
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