U.S. expert: Kosovo is "black hole" in center of Balkans

Published on April 21, 2007, Tanjug

Category: Organized Crime in Kosovo

MOSCOW, April 20 (Tanjug) - If the status of Kosovo and Metohija is resolved according to Martti Ahtisaari's plan, a single-nation criminal state might emerge in the territory of the province, which would be abandoned by the remainder of the ethnic community members, U.S. expert Michael Radu warned on Friday.

What kind of control is proposed by Ahtisaari's plan on "controlled independence," if Kosovo may have its own armed force and government, may participate in the work of international organizations, and is the European Union preparing at all to supervise the activities of the Kosovo authorities, Radu asked in an interview with Vremya Novostei.

"Kosovo, with its semi-educated population and criminal armed formations, is a 'black hole' in the center of the Balkans, which reminds me of Chechnya in the 1995-1999 period or Pridnestrovye in the 1990s," said Radu, who is the co-chairman of the Center on Terrorism and Counterterrorism at the Philadelphia-based Foreign Policy Research Institute.

He also said that the Kosovo Albanians officially do not have their own army, after the Liberation Army of Kosovo (OVK) was dissolved in 1999, but he also pointed out that instead, the Kosovo Protection Corps had been set up, which "in reality is a militarized nationalist organization with a criminal background."

According to Radu, members of the Kosovo Protection Corps are involved in all crimes against humanity, drug and arms trafficking, supplying European brothels with "bodies," and they have good connections with the Italian mobsters, in Calabria, for instance.

Radu reiterated also that Belgrade had issued an indictment for crimes against humanity against provisional Kosovo Premier Agim Ceku and his fellow OVK fighters, while the Hague tribunal is already processing the war-crime activities of former premier Ramus Haradinaj.

Warning that independence of Kosovo might become a reason for a military conflict and that "Serbia's armed forces are still the strongest in the Balkans," Radu explained the US administration's compliance with requests for independence with the influence of the Albanian lobby on media.

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