As of this afternoon, map makers will be forced to add yet another country to their product: Kosovo. At 15:00 today in Kosovo, the parliament will convene and vote on independence but that is merely a formality. The outcome has long been certain as I found out quickly while visiting in May.
By tonight we should expect a flurry of recognition by the US, UK and most of the EU. Cyprus and Romania will stay out. Yet, the real question isn’t as much what will become of Kosovo as the thousands of international troops there leave little to the imagination. No, the real uncertaintly is that of Russia’s reaction. Will Moscow suddenly recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both breakaway regions in Georgia?
In addition, although the massive international troop presence will contain and hopefully prevent violence within Kosovo, I worry that civil unrest could take hold in Serbia as the government is powerless to react with substantive measures. A blockade and perhaps even power cuts have been predicted. We’ll soon find out.
‘”No Negotiations. Independence!” (in Albanian) is a slogan spraypainted all over Kosovo. I’ll leave readers with some of my collection of pictures of that.