War in the Balkans: The Balkan Question - Key Issues Behind The War Explained

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The Independent Online
Is the partition of Kosovo a practical idea?

Many people have suggested that splitting Kosovo into two might solve the dispute, leaving Serbia with most of its holy sites and the areas where Serbs are concentrated. But it is difficult to see how any agreement along the lines of the 1995 deal in Bosnia might be engineered here. The biggest problem is that Albanians are dispersed almost equally all over Kosovo while Serb settlements are isolated. One group of Serb villages clusters around Pristina, while others are grouped around Prizren, on the Albanian border, for example. There is no neat border that could be drawn through Kosovo.

Nor are the historic sites that mean so much to Serbian public opinion conveniently close to the border with Serbia. Kosovo Polje, site of the celebrated battle of 1389, is just outside Pristina, only about 20 miles from Serbia. Likewise the monastary of Gracanica. But the Serbs' other famous sites are many miles away, on Kosovo's western border with Albania. It is difficult to see how a partition line could be drawn that leaves Serbia with the cathedral of the Serbian patriarchs at Pec, or with the monastary at Decani. If Kosovo is divided, there would have to be a big forced movement of population, with many Albanians surrendering their homes.

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