"Kosovo wants to become independent of Serbia, while Serbia insists it should remain a Serbian province," writes Erliss Selimaj matter-of-factly in Southeast Europe Times. The truth is that Serbia has not really come out of its denial, since it lost its mythical empire, not only Kosovo, but all of former Yugoslavia which it tried to rule under Whathisname, now on trial in the Hague. Serbia still blackmails coastline and restive Montegnegro into a pseudo-federation, that allows the Serbs to speak of the contrived entity "Serbia-Montegnegro."
But, regarding Kosovo against which Serbia conducted a genocidal war that Europe and the USA brawt to a halt, Serbia still is not able to grasp that only 6% of the Kosovo population is of Serbian ethnicity. The Serb minority is entitled fully to its human and civil rights, but it cannot bind the largely Muslim majority to the Serbian state. That state has absolutely no moral authority among the huge majority of Kosovars - who, not incidentally, are of Muslim background and among whom Islamic European culture of a unique kind is undergoing a renaissance counting many institutions active in many realms of Kosovo life. There are Muslim political parties practicing democracy and helping to build a democratic society of Muslim majority. This reality should not be bound to Serbia's fantasy of overlordship. Yet both in Kosovo itself and in Serbia, the Serbs have remained intransigent towards the desire of the Kosovo majority's desire for an independent state.
Nevertheless, one can only applaud the recent meeting held at last, in Vienna no less, on September 16.
The talks between the ministers of local governance of Kosovo and Serbia -- Lutfi Haziri and Zoran Loncar -- were described as businesslike and civil, focusing on some of the less-contentious issues that have prevented a lasting peace in Kosovo, such as local government reform and the return of tens of thousands of Serbs and other minorities who fled the province after the war.
The officials also discussed the return of property records, which Serb authorities took when they relinquished control of the province to NATO-led forces and the UN administration, officials said.
Eide said the meeting was a positive step and that both ministers agreed to discuss the issues together. "We cannot expect from this meeting to reach an agreement on difficult issues. If this was possible, the whole process would have been shorter. But I think that it is important that all the elements are put on the table and the talks were open and frank," he told journalists.
Analysts say that Kosovo -- which has been under UN administration since 1999 -- is making an effort to display willingness to co-operate in order to show that it is ready for the UN-backed status talks.
In the world such as it is, the meeting in Vienna was a very postive, tho very small step. We all need more of these in the whole region of Southeast Europe. - Owlb