The uninterrupted bombing of Yugoslavia lasted 78 days and involved 38, sorties, including 10, strike sorties. In military terms, Operation Allied Force was a clear success. It achieved its major objectives. NATO troops were subsequently deployed on the ground and remain there to this day. It should be noted, however, that the bombing was illegal. It was done without the authorisation of the UN Security Council.
After 8 Years in Limbo, Frustrated Kosovo Awaits Its Future
The operation has been romanticised by its supporters. This idealist perspective, however, neglects the fact that the intervention had significant geopolitical motivations. The operation was fervently supported, and indeed implemented, by Bill Clinton and Tony Blair — leaders who were very much a product of their time. This generation transformed post-Cold War euphoria into military adventurism. They went on to present themselves as humanitarian heroes at home.
Others saw their actions as imperialism. The campaign also resulted in massive collateral damage. There were hundreds of civilian victims. The bombing dramatically shaped the political future of Kosovo. It paved the way towards its unilaterally declared independence on February 17 — a move which was encouraged by Washington and some European allies. At first glance, it would seem that this development would solve the crisis in Kosovo.
But Kosovo is far from achieving full international recognition. It is, for one thing, still unable to join the UN, the gold standard when it comes to statehood.
Even if enough states did support its bid for membership, Kosovo could face a veto — certainly from Russia and probably from China. For all Kosovo officials I have talked to, nevertheless, the meaning of the term is crystal clear — full mutual recognition. The problem is that if a solution is not found, further border alterations could be on the cards.
The final toll of the war: thousands of dead and , refugees. Serbia's economy and large swaths of its infrastructure were destroyed. Kosovo was put under UN administration. Even so, the Monday summit could still serve a very important purpose — it could finally bury the controversial idea of trading territory between Serbia and Kosovo.
Both sides floated this solution, which would see a Serb-populated region of Kosovo returned to Belgrade's authority and Kosovo annexing several Albanian-dominated towns in Serbia. However, many international officials fear that redrawing borders would eventually prompt fresh bloodshed in the Balkans. Germany's Merkel has clearly opposed the swap from the start. Still, there are also notable voices supporting this solution, and the Berlin summit may serve to suppress them.
The Kosovo War in Retrospect
This message is intended not just for Belgrade and Pristina, but for other powerful players as well. German lawmaker Christian Schmidt, who serves on the Bundestag's foreign policy committee, recently returned from the Balkans where he was laying the groundwork for the Berlin talks. Talking to DW, Schmidt said that Berlin would not accept changing borders under any conditions. Also, the Berlin government now believes the time is right for the EU, led by France and Germany, to take the matters into its own hands. It sends a clear message to Brussels, but also to Washington and Moscow — Germany and France are the ones deciding Europe's future and the EU's expansion process.
According to Radio Free Europe, this is the reason that Mogherini had not been officially invited to the Berlin summit. German officials specifically stated that the topic of the meeting was to "exchange opinions" with Balkan leaders and not to discuss EU expansion. However, Merkel was also scheduled to meet the prime ministers of North Macedonia and Albania before the main talks. Specifically, she was expected to take on the unhappy duty of explaining to North Macedonia's Zoran Zaev that there would be no opening of EU accession talks this June.
Pristina hit Serbian goods with steep tariffs after blaming Belgrade's "aggressive stance" for its failed bid to join the Interpol. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in , but the countries remain at odds. An armed conflict between Serbia and Kosovo is possible if their EU perspectives fade, a group of Balkan experts has said. But there are other more positive outcomes to ties between Belgrade and Pristina. Egon Bahr, known as one of the architects behind West Germany's "Ostpolitik," has died aged His work was essential for the rapprochement between East and West Germany and Eastern Europe starting in The protests, triggered by a brutal assault on an opposition leader, have been escalating for months.
Serbs and Kosovars want to take their borders back to the drawing board. Villages and valleys changing hands could help soothe an ancient feud but potentially break a longstanding taboo. A momentous step shrouded in secrecy is currently underway: Serbia and Kosovo are planning to trade territories.
Kosovo war: The conflict that won't go away - BBC News
But shifting borders in the Balkans is a mistake, writes guest policy expert Christian Schwarz-Schilling. The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo have met in Brussels but again failed to agree on details to normalize relations. Both countries have been told they must push for normalcy for a chance to join the European Union. Still, some 20 years later, the war, which was conducted without UN backing, remains controversial.
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Washington is bringing the Western Balkan states back to the negotiating table. The US initiative should galvanize the EU, which is currently busy with its own problems, says guest expert Christian Schwarz-Schilling. German Chancellor Angel Merkel assured Balkan states that negotiations to join the EU are in the bloc's interest, countering concerns by the French president, who insisted EU reforms must come before further enlargement. Both are seeking EU accession.
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Deutsche Welle. Audiotrainer Deutschtrainer Die Bienenretter. Kosovo: Independent and divided. EU president Juncker on tour in the Balkans. Kosovo slaps percent tariff on Serbian goods after Interpol bid failure Pristina hit Serbian goods with steep tariffs after blaming Belgrade's "aggressive stance" for its failed bid to join the Interpol. Scenarios to end Kosovo and Serbia's frozen conflict An armed conflict between Serbia and Kosovo is possible if their EU perspectives fade, a group of Balkan experts has said.
Why are Serbs protesting against Aleksandar Vucic? Serbia and Kosovo moot map redraw in historic land swap Serbs and Kosovars want to take their borders back to the drawing board. Opinion: Serbia-Kosovo land swap will open Pandora's box A momentous step shrouded in secrecy is currently underway: Serbia and Kosovo are planning to trade territories.