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How can the United States help support peace in Macedonia and the Balkans?

Asked by Selim Ibraimi, from Webster University

The Balkans region in southern Europe has been unsettled since the dismantling of Ottoman dominance there in the late nineteenth century. During the twentieth century, ethnic and sectarian tensions not infrequently brought war to the region, most recently during the 1990s amid the breakup of Yugoslavia. The United States played a significant role in bringing peace to Bosnia in 1995 and to Kosovo in 1999, but the region faces continued instability.

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Primary Sources

Independent International Commission on Kosovo: The Kosovo Report, Executive Summary

The Independent International Commission on Kosovo prepared a report on Kosovo in 2000; the link below displays the executive summary. The commission’s mission statement said,

“The Independent International Commission on Kosovo will examine key developments prior to, during and after the Kosovo war, including systematic violations of human rights in the region. The Commission will present a detailed, objective analysis of the options that were available to the international community to cope with the crisis. It will focus on the origins of the Kosovo crisis, the diplomatic efforts to end the conflict, the role of the United Nations and Nato's decision to intervene militarily. It will examine the resulting refugee crisis including the responses of the international community to resolve the crisis. The effect of the conflict on regional and other states will also be examined. Furthermore, the Commission will assess the role of humanitarian workers, NGOs and the media during the Kosovo war. Finally, the Commission will identify the norms of international law and diplomacy brought to the fore by the Kosovo war and the adequacy of present norms and institutions in preventing or responding to comparable crises in the future.”

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The Future of Kosovo [Rush Transcript; Federal News Service]

Speaker: R. Nicholas Burns

Two weeks ago, UN special envoy Martii Ahtisaari met with the Security Council to discuss his proposal for Kosovar independence. Ahtisaari’s plan is the basis for a resolution considered last week in the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Undersecretary R. Nicholas Burns discusses the prospects for a sovereign Kosovo with Charles A. Kupchan, Senior Fellow and Director of Europe Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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Must Read

USIP: Kosovo: What Can Go Wrong?

Authors: Christina Parajon, Yll Bajraktari, and Daniel P. Serwer

Last summer, UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari was tasked by the Security Council with resolving the question of Kosovo's future status, with support from U.S. and European Union envoys. As the process draws to a close, this United States Institute of Peace briefing discusses potential drivers of conflict in Kosovo during the status decision and in the period thereafter.

See more in Kosovo; Sovereignty