Why these ‘peace’ efforts can’t bring peace to Kosovo

By Jan Oberg

TFF PressInfo 54 – January 7, 1999

Originally published here.

In a large interview with the leading Kosovo-Albanian weekly “ZËRI” on December 22, TFF director Jan Oberg challenges the international community’s whole approach to conflict-resolution and peace. He also believes that the policy of positioning and the focus on formal status pursued by the parties is counterproductive.

It’s time, he maintains, to listen to the needs of citizens, to address real issues of daily life and to introduce some new ideas and actors.

Governments have failed on all sides. Their diplomats may be great lawyers but they lack professional knowledge and training in conflict analysis, conflict psychology, social issues and mediation techniques. This is simply not the way to proceed if you want to help people to live in peace.”

 

Read the interview in its entirety.

Here follow excerpts:

“Modern history is full of conflicts at least as bad as that in Kosovo that have been overcome by nonviolence.”

“What I have said here applies also to the international community’s “conflict managers”. Neither the US nor the EU did anything systematic, based on analysis, about the Kosovo conflict. They waited for a decade until the “only way” was to threaten NATO bombings…”

“Some of you may think that the US/NATO would do something here to support you – forget it.”

“The Milosevic-Holbrooke agreement is a ‘deal’ about power and, like in Dayton, nobody will ask the people living in the region whether they like it or not. Nobody who works professionally with conflict-resolution, mediation and peace would call this anything but a deal.”

“Whatever political solution will one day be found – the citizens of Kosovo/a will need help to recover, reconciliate, build trust. In the best of cases, peace can be built from the ground-up.”

“So far in this ‘peace’ process, there is no negotiation institution, only an American ambassador from Skopje who cannot be neutral because [Read more…]

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