Finding a Peaceful Path for Kosovo:
A Track Two Approach
by Avnita Lakhani
Ajami wrote “Serbia has had enough of poetry and legend; in its return to reason
and to practicality must lie its deliverance.”
Since June 28, 1987, when Serbian
President Slobodon Milosevic arrived at the Field of Blackbirds, just outside the
Kosovo capital of Pristina, Serbia has drenched Kosovo in a rain of blood and war
based on Serbia’s legendary tales dating back to their defeat at the hands of the Turks
Despite countless attempts by the international community to intervene in
the killing fields of Kosovo, neither reason nor practicality cut through the Serbian
cultural and religious claims to the predominantly Albanian stronghold. Finally, in
June 1999, after significant United Nations Security Council intervention, shuttle
diplomacy, and heavy NATO bombing, NATO reached an agreement with the
Yugoslavia government to: 1) withdraw its Serb troops, militias, police and secret
police from Kosovo; 2) allow NATO-led peacekeeping forces to enter Kosovo; and
3) allow ethnic Albanians to return to their homeland.
Kosovo today is considered an international protectorate under an interim
trusteeship administration by the United Nations.
Even under international
protection, there has been violence in Kosovo, including deadly rioting in March
2004 that left 19 people dead and more than 4,000 Serbs and others without homes.
This recent outbreak of violence underscores the fact that, despite abatement of the
violence in Kosovo via traditional international intervention, unrest is growing
because Kosovar Albanians are “frustrated with their unresolved status, the
economic situation, and the problems of dealing with the past.”
Clearly, there can
be no peaceful and practical future for Kosovo without first addressing the historical,
cultural, and religious claims of the Serb majority of the Federal Republic of
Yugoslavia, the Albanian majority of Kosovo, and the Serb minority of Kosovo.
The purpose of this paper is to discuss the overriding issue of Kosovo’s
unresolved status and how faith-based diplomacy can serve as a critical, non-
governmental mechanism for conflict resolution. Faith-based diplomacy can begin to
is an international conflict prevention and resolution specialist. Ms. Lakhani
earned her LLM in International Dispute Resolution from the Straus Institute for Dispute
Resolution at the Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, California. Ms. Lakhani is
grateful to the Editorial Board of the Whitehead Journal of Diplomacy and International Relations
for their insightful comments on this article and their dedication to publishing this issue.