Partition of Kosovo

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Map of North Kosovo, in orange, showing the divided city of Kosovska Mitrovica

The partition of Kosovo has been suggested as a solution to the Kosovo issue between the Republic of Serbia and the Republic of Kosovo[a]. The possible partition would be the division of Kosovo along ethnic lines, such as separating Serb-inhabited North Kosovo, and possibly some enclaves in the south, from the rest of Albanian-inhabited Kosovo. The partition was proposed several times, even before the 2008 Kosovo declaration of independence,[1] although the question has most recently been raised after the North Kosovo crisis.

However, after the signatory of the 2013 Brussels Agreement between the governments of Kosovo and Serbia, Serbia dropped its support for a possible partition of the territory, and agreed to create an association of Serb municipalities in Kosovo. Its assembly will have no legislative authority and the judicial authorities will be integrated and operate within the Kosovo legal framework. The association was expected to be formed in 2015, but opposition riots and a petition signed by over 203,000 citizens slowed it down.[2] The Constitutional Court of Kosovo ruled that the formation of the Association was in compliance with the constitution of Kosovo, but that certain aspects of its proposed implementation were not.[3]



Serbian politician Dobrica Ćosić stated that "Kosovo can not be preserved. It is realistic to delineate, while retaining the coal [mines] and sanctities".[4]

On April 30, 1999, Margaret Thatcher gave a speech in which she opposed a partition.[5]


In 2002, Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Đinđić stated that "Serbia has neither the mechanism nor the resources to reintegrate Kosovo into its legal system, or to create a form in which it will be under its sovereignty. The division of the province, therefore, is nothing else than an attempt to rescue what can still be saved."[4]

The policy of partitioning Kosovo and unification of Republika Srpska with Serbia was seen as offering "long-term security and stability for the region", according to Aleksandar Jokic (2003).[6]

In 2004, Anatol Lieven of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace stated that the "Partition of Kosovo is the most realistic solution, but the Albanians' insisting on independence will lead to a new conflict."[4] Čedomir Antić of G17 Plus said that the "Partition of Kosmet is not an ideal solution, but it is the maximum that can be obtained at this time."[4] Albanologist Miranda Vickers said that the partition of Kosovo would be the best solution.[4]

In 2005, part of the Serbia-Kosovo negotiation was the Serbian side's call for the establishment of Serb municipalities and constitutional and legal protection of Serbs.[7] UN Special Representative (UNOSEK) Jessen-Petersen and Kosovo speaker Daci reiterated the ruling out of partition.[7] Contact Groups' German representative Michael Scheffer also stressed that there should be no division.[8] CIA Deputy Chief of the Balkan Task Force Steven Meyer stated that "The Government of Serbia should not forget about a division of Kosovo, which no one in the international community would support, nor dismiss as a solution. Changing borders has never been the Holy Scripture of the EU and the UN."[4] Charles A. Kupchan of the Council on Foreign Relations said that "Giving northern Kosovo, Pristina will be freed from futile attempts to establish rule over a province intending to maintain ties with Belgrade."[4] Serbian intellectual Desimir Tošić said that he supported the option of partition, "but that now there is very little chance, because Serbia will never return to Serbia in the state of 1912, 1918 or 1945."[4]

In 2006, Sanda Rašković-Ivić, President of the Coordination Centre for Kosovo and Metohija, said that "If both sides, both Serbs and Albanians, face the fact that for both living in cohabitation is impossible, and if the international community is faces the same fact, then a a kind of partition of Kosovo would represent a solution for both sides."[4] Slobodan Samardžić, adviser to the Serbian PM, said that a long-term solution would be partition, "given the fact that the Albanians so far clearly do not want to live with the Serbs."[4]

In 2007, political analyst Andrey Piontkovsky said that "Serbia needs to stand up for the partition of Kosovo with the argument that there are no international forces that can keep Kosovo Serbs safe in an independent Kosovo."[4] Law professor Timothy William Waters said that "The division is possible and it is possible that this is the right thing to do."[4] Erhard Busek said that "the partition of Kosovo is perhaps the least bad solution".[9]


The Community of Serb Municipalities is planned to be established according to the Brussels Agreement (2013).

Drawing the line[edit]

Hypothetical future territory of the Republic of Kosovo, with part of North Kosovo going to the Republic of Serbia

The partition of Kosovo generally refers to dividing Kosovo south of the Ibar River.[10][11] North of the river is a predominantly ethnic Serb majority area, whereas south of the river is a predominantly ethnic Albanian area.[12] There are also several Kosovo Serb enclaves south of the river Ibar, which have been proposed to be included in a possible partition of Kosovo.[citation needed] North Kosovo is controlled by the 'Assembly of the Community of Municipalities of the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija', a regional government loyal to Belgrade;[13] whereas the rest of Kosovo is administrated by the government of the 'Republic of Kosovo'.[citation needed]


  •  Albania - Albanian Prime Minister stated in November 2011: "Dividing Kosovo is an absurd idea and respecting the borders of Kosovo is of essential interest for all the countries in the region."[14]
  •  Austria - Former Austrian Vice-Chancellor Erhard Busek proposed partition and stated: "I agree that the dialogue is the only path, in scope of which issues which seem to be impossible at the moment should also be discussed, such as the division of Kosovo... I do not see why the international community would not agree on the division if Belgrade and Priština reached an agreement on the issue. All details of such resolution of the Kosovo stalemate could be agreed at some kind of 'Kosovo Dayton', with the international community as the guarantor of the accord."[15]
  •  European Union - Former EU Kosovo Envoy Wolfgang Ischinger, in August 2011, stated regarding the partition of Kosovo that in his opinion "such ideas are absolutely unacceptable". He added that without a solution of the conflict, a Serbian European Union membership "will not happen, it must not happen."[16]
  •  Kosovo - Kosovo's former Deputy Prime Minister, Hajredin Kuqi said regarding a possible partition of Kosovo: "We want to help create cooperation between Serbs and Albanians in Kosovo — not divisions."[10]
  •  Macedonia - Macedonian president, Gjorge Ivanov, supported the continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations and said that Macedonia is against the partition of Kosovo, as that may destabilize the region.[17]
  •  Montenegro - Ex-President Milo Đukanović said he did not support the idea to partition Kosovo because it could "open the door for similar solutions in other countries in the region".[18]
  •  Serbia
    • Members of the ruling majority in the Parliament of Serbia believe that any partition of Kosovo and Metohija can be one of the ideas for resolving the Kosovo problem, which is strongly opposed to the radicals and liberals belief that the solution arrived too late.[19]
    • Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dačić proposed the partition of Kosovo as a solution to the Kosovo dispute. He stated, "This is my opinion, although neither Belgrade nor Priština like it. However, I am a realistic politician and I don’t see any other solution.... I think that the only realistic solution is that places where Serbs live stay in Serbia and that the other part where the Albanians live secedes. This is the only realistic way that can lead us to a quick solution.... Other solutions are a waste of time and years and decades would go in an attempt to solve those small issues".[20]
    • Former Yugoslav President Dobrica Ćosić proposed the partition of Kosovo. He stated, "I have been talking and writing about Kosovo and Metohija in vain for 40 years now, proposing a democratic, just, compromise and permanent partition. This is the only way to overcome centuries-long antagonism between Albanians and Serbs... [and] stop the great Albanian expansion and create conditions for normal life of both peoples".[21]
  •  United Kingdom
    • James Ker-Lindsay, senior research fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science, stated that the partition of Kosovo is a logical solution. In an interview for "Politika", he stated that Belgrade, in the next few months, might have a chance to fight for the division of Kosovo and the establishment of large autonomy for Serbs in Northern Kosovo.[22]
    • Ivor Roberts, the former British Ambassador to Yugoslavia, supports the partition of Kosovo. He stated that "the Partition of Kosovo will please neither side, but the equality of pain is more likely to lead to stability than present Western plans which will undoubtedly destabilise Serbia, and through Serbia the whole region."[23]
    • Baroness Margaret Thatcher, the former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom between 1979 and 1990, strongly opposed any talk of partition of Kosovo: "...there must be no partition, a plan that predictable siren voices are already advancing. Partition would only serve to reward violence and ethnic cleansing. It would be to concede defeat. And I am unmoved by Serb pleas to retain their grasp on most of Kosovo because it contains their holy places. Coming from those who systematically leveled Catholic churches and Muslim mosques wherever they went, such an argument is cynical almost to the point of blasphemy."[5]
  •  United States - US diplomats warn that European 'vacillation and weakness' could entrench Serbian control over the northern part of the territory. "Failure to act soon means losing northern Kosovo and will reopen the Pandora's box of ethnic conflict that defined the 1990s," then US ambassador, Christopher Dell, wrote this year. "The time is right to end the years of drift on the north and to alter the dynamic of a hardening partition between the north and the rest of Kosovo.… The current situation is untenable and deteriorating. The aim is to stop the rot."[24]

See also[edit]


a. ^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 111 out of 193 United Nations member states.


  1. ^ Kosovo partition 'on the table' BBC
  2. ^ "203000 people signed the petition against the Association". Indeksonline. 31 October 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  3. ^ "The verdict of the Constitutional Court". GJK. 23 December 2015. Retrieved 2 January 2016. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Blic 27 March 2007.
  5. ^ a b MEMORANDUM TO: OPINION LEADERS - April 30, 1999, at the site of Project for the New American Century
  6. ^ Aleksandar Jokic (26 February 2003). Lessons of Kosovo: The Dangers of Humanitarian Intervention. Broadview Press. pp. 180–. ISBN 978-1-55111-545-0. 
  7. ^ a b Niels van Willigen (18 July 2013). Peacebuilding and International Administration: The Cases of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Routledge. pp. 177–. ISBN 978-1-134-11718-5. 
  8. ^ "Kontakt-grupa protiv podele Kosova". Slobodna Evropa. 
  9. ^ "Busek: Podela Kosova je možda najmanje loše rešenje". Blic. 15 August 2007. 
  10. ^ a b "Kosovo partition on the table". BBC News. 12 August 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  11. ^ "Serbia Formally Proposes Ethnic Partition of Kosovo". New York Times. 25 March 2008. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  12. ^ BBC, Could Balkan break-up continue?, 22.02.08
  13. ^ "Serbs form rival Kosovo assembly". BBC News. 2008-06-14. Retrieved 2011-10-03. 
  14. ^ "Albania: Ethnic Division of Kosovo Is Absurd Idea". 9 November 2011. Retrieved 10 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Partition possible solution for Kosovo problem". B92. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 6 October 2011. 
  16. ^ "Partition of Kosovo is unacceptable". B92. 10 August 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  17. ^ [ Kosova-moze-da-destabilizuje-region.html "Ivanov: Podela Kosova može da destabilizuje region"] Check |url= value (help). SMedia (in Serbian). 06.10.2011. Retrieved 7 October 2011.  line feed character in |url= at position 104 (help); Check date values in: |date= (help)
  18. ^ "Montenegro "repaid Albanians for support"". B92. 11 January 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012. 
  19. ^ Podela Kosova - jedno od mogućih rešenja (Serbian)
  20. ^ "Partition of Kosovo only solution, minister says". B92. 15 May 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  21. ^ "Kosovo partition only solution, ex-Yugoslav president says". B92. 29 May 2011. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  22. ^ Подела Косова је логично решење (Serbian)
  23. ^ "Ivor Roberts: Partition is the best answer to the Kosovo question". The Independent. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 3 October 2011. 
  24. ^ WikiLeaks cables: Kosovo sliding towards partition, Washington told Guardian

Further reading[edit]