'Bush missed the boat on Kosovo'
by Richard Holbrooke
‘In the long run Kosovo will be an independent country...the long run depends on what the Serbs do. Will they accept reality and look to the future of Serbia as part of the European Union, or cling to a mythic version of the past and deny reality? If they deny reality and try to hold on to Kosovo, they will lose both. They won’t be able to retain Kosovo, but will also lose the chance to join Europe. History is on the side of the Kosovo Albanians for the first time in 800 years. The horrible events of 1912 and 1989 are in the process of being reversed.
Albanians are very understandably impatient [and] I share that impatience. President Bush and his administration are responsible for the delay. They allowed it to happen knowing well that the United Nations and the European Union would never push it. The impetus had to come from the United States and the failure was appalling. The colossal mistake in 2001 and 2002 of the new Bush administration was turning its back on Kosovo and not negotiating immediately final status, when it would have been easier to do. Then we also had prime minister Djindjic, who was the closest thing the Serbs have had to a visionary leader.’
Extracted from an interview with former Bosnia mediator Richard Holbrooke by BIRN’s Kosova director Jeta Xharra in New York, and published by Balkan Insight, BIRN’s online publication, 10 November 2006.