Le Monde: This is a new map of Kosovo

The renowned French daily, Le Monde has published two articles about a possible land swap between Serbia and Kosovo, as well as the map of Kosovo with its interpretation of “border change”, saying that “ethnic mosaics, key infrastructures and cultural facilities are an obstacle to re-defining the borders”.

In the first article, the Paris-based daily indicates that “the land swap, based on purely ethnic criteria, is worrying” and that “ethics and pragmatism are in collision with each other in the debate about a possible change in the borders between the two sides.”

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The daily quotes the French geographer Michel Foucher, who says that “the inviolability and the sanctity of the borders are the two terms that should not be confused.”

“The borders are intangible from the point of view of international law, by force they cannot be questioned, but not untouchable: they can be moved if both sides reach an agreement,” Foucher said.

Known at the 1975 Helsinki Conference between the Soviet Union and the West, and formally entered the 1990 Paris Charter, this principle, says Le Monde, enabled German unification after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

“Between 1989 and 1992 in Europe – including Ukraine and Belarus – 22 new borders were established, 11,149 kilometres long,” explains Michel Foucher.

The French newspaper notes that in the case of territorial exchange between Belgrade and Pristina, however, it is the first time that it is about the new frontiers drawn on a completely ethnic basis, rather than on the former administrative lines of the constituent republics or autonomous regions of the former Yugoslavia.

In another article, Le Monde says the Western Balkans restitution project appears as a solution to stability after 20 years of frozen conflict, but states that residents of the respective areas are again afraid of a “ethnic cleansing “.

This newspaper published a map of Kosovo, along with the inscription:

“Between Kosovo and Serbia, ethnic mosaic, main infrastructure and cultural buildings are obstacles to the border re-design project.”

The map shows how the “new borders between Serbia and Kosovo” will look like, where the northern part of Kosovo, with the Serb municipalities of Leposavic, Zvecan, Zubin, Potok and Mitrovica, would pass to Serbia, the territories of the Medvedja and Presevo Valley territories, mostly populated with Albanians, were merged.

Are highlighted four Serb-majority municipalities in northern Kosovo on the map, for which the newspaper writes are “out of control, are not regulated by law and are affected by mafia groups”.

Le Monde goes on to say that residents of northern Kosovo are not paying taxes or electricity bills, and that in the 2012 referendum, 99.7% of them did not recognize the legitimacy of the authorities in Pristina.

Mitrovica is described as a symbol of ethnic divisions, while Lake Gazivode as having crucial importance for supplying Kosovo with water. Le Monde underlines that the ownership over the lake is a controversial matter since it lies on the “border with Serbia”.

The Le Monde map also shows two main thermal power plants with the water from Gazivode Lake used for their cooling.

The Trepca mine is also depicted on the map and the French daily says that Belgrade claims ownership rights over the mine, but in reality, it is managed by two different entities – the Kosovo Albanian entity and the Serb entity.

Le Monde goes on to claim that the local governments in the Presevo Valley have been defying the Serbian government, while the town of Prizren in Kosovo is shown as significant for the Serbian Orthodox Church, with the remark that the Serbs view Kosovo as the cradle of their nation and religion.

As sources for mapping, Le Mond states the Statistical Office of Kosovo and Metohija, the Statistical Office of Serbia and the World Bank.

(Sputnik News, 23.09.2018)






This post is also available in: Italiano

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