Kosovo. During the fall, municipal elections were conducted, and although the campaign was characterized by violence, the election proceeded relatively calmly. The Serbs generally refused to go to the ballot, citing that whoever won, they would fight for an independent Kosovo without Serbs.
The Albanians voted for the first time in history because they had previously boycotted elections announced by Belgrade. Ibrahim Rugova and his party LDK (Kosovo Democratic Alliance, Lidhje Demokratike e Kosove) won by far. Rugova has worked for over ten years for self-government with peaceful means and during that time created a kind of shadow government and an underground alternative society with, among other things. Albanian schools.
- ABBREVIATIONFINDER: Offers three letter and two letter abbreviations for the country of Kosovo. Also covers country profile such as geography, society and economy.
Among the most troubled places was the town of Mitrovica northwest of the capital Pristina. There, 2,000 KFOR soldiers made a huge scare at the end of February, when they virtually occupied and isolated the city to search houses and vehicles to seize weapons. Shortly thereafter, KFOR struck villages near Kosovo’s eastern border with Serbia, seizing large quantities of weapons and arresting nine people. The fear didn’t help. In the fall, a new Albanian guerrilla with the initials UCPMB (Ushtria Clirimtare e Presheves, Medvegies e Bujanovci, Liberation Movement for Pesevo, Medvedja and Bujanovac) appeared and attacked the Serbian police. According to an agreement with NATO, Serbian police can only carry light weapons in a security zone along the border with Kosovo Gerillan’s goal was to incorporate parts of southern Serbia into an independent Kosovo. Belgrade authorities protested and put an ultimatum to KFOR to end the attacks. Just a few hours before the deadline expired, an armistice came into being.
Yugoslavia’s new president Vojislav Kočtunica declared at the time of power that he was ready to give Kosovo autonomy but not to give the province the independence that the Albanian majority seeks.
The independent Kosovo Commission, established in 1999 on the initiative of Prime Minister Göran Persson, presented its comprehensive report at the end of October. The report discusses different scenarios for Kosovo’s future. One is to extend the protectorate of the UN and NATO for the foreseeable future, but then there is a risk that the population’s impatient wait for a final solution will crush confidence in the UN administration, UNMIK. A division of the province would certainly suit the Serbs in Mitrovica and north of the Ibar river, but it would mean huge population migrations. Independence would never be possible because Yugoslavia would refuse, and the Russian Federation and China would oppose it because of their own minority problems. In addition, the UN states: Resolution 1244 is in the way because it speaks of the territorial integrity of Yugoslavia and the right of the Kosovo Albanians to comprehensive autonomy. The Commission’s conclusion was that the only solution in the long term is to give Kosovo “conditional independence” with continued international security guarantees and protection for the Serbian minority.