Kosovo. The Serbian majority in four municipalities in
northern Kosovo voted in February with a large majority
against recognizing the republic that the country's Albanian
population declared in 2008. They thus defied the government
of Priština and also did not support the Serbian government
in Belgrade to hold a referendum in question.
In talks during EU mediation, Kosovo and Serbia reached a
settlement in February that allowed Kosovo to have
representation at international meetings.
When a group of Serbs from northern Kosovo visited a
historic battlefield outside Priština in June, their buses
were attacked by stone-throwing Albanians, and about 50
people were injured.
countryaah, a visit by UN chief Ban Ki Moon in July was interpreted
by many as a recognition of Kosovo's right to independence,
although a UN membership was still remote. In September, the
international steering group - 23 EU countries, the US and
Turkey - gave the go-ahead for Kosovo to go from being a
republic with "supervised independence" to "full
independence". Kosovo, now recognized by more than 90
countries around the world, was found to have fulfilled
conditions set out in a UN plan in connection with
independence from Serbia. US President Barack Obama called
the status change a "historic milestone." However, Serbia,
which did not recognize the independence of the breakaway
republic, dismissed the message as irrelevant.
Nevertheless, the country's heads of government, Kosovo's
Hashim Thaši and his Serbian colleague Ivica Dac˘ić, met in
Brussels in October, led by EU Foreign Minister Catherine
Ashton. It was the first high-level political meeting held
since Kosovo declared itself independent. Ashton stated that
they both promised to work to improve relations between the
countries. The talks sparked violent protests in Kosovo's
capital Priština by people who opposed all normalization in
relations with Serbia. Over 20 were injured and dozens were
arrested in the unrest.
During the autumn, Kosovo and Serbia also managed to
agree on a common border check, despite having different
views on the border status.
A research team in the Netherlands was commissioned in
November to lead an international investigation into alleged
organ trafficking in Kosovo in 2008. According to the data,
illegal transplants should have taken place. Several arrests
in the case had been made in Israel earlier this year. The
investigation was funded by the European Commission and
would last for three years.
In November, the UN War Criminal Tribunal in The Hague
freed former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj from suspicions
of war crimes during the 1998–99 conflict with Serbia.
Haradinaj was already released in 2008, but the trial had to
be rescheduled because of information that witnesses were
threatened. The verdict was celebrated in Kosovo but
triggered protests in Serbia.