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The (Sub) Prime of Lady Catherine Ashton

7:24 AM, Dec 13, 2013 • By STEPHEN SCHWARTZ
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On November 3 local elections were held, in Serbian-dominated northern Kosovo along with the rest of the republic. But the voting in northern Kosovo was disrupted by a Serb boycott, riots, attacks by masked men on voters and poll workers, destruction of ballot boxes, and an assault on Krstimir Pantic, a Serbian candidate. Pantic, seen as a traitor by Serbian hardliners for running in an election under EU administration and, supposedly, Kosovar Albanian jurisdiction, represents the “Serbian Land” (“Srpska”) Civic Initiative.

Pantic was, nonetheless, elected to the mayoralty of north Mitrovica on December 1. He declared, “after these elections, Kosovo will never become a member of the United Nations,” demonstrating that he is no moderate.

In addition, however, Shpend Ahmeti, the militant Self-Determination leader who had criticized Ashton for imposing a Bosnian-style ethnic segregation in Kosovo, was voted in as mayor of Pristina on December 1. Ahmeti is an alumnus of Harvard University, with a master’s degree in public administration. He has also worked at the World Bank. Amid harsh winter weather that had been expected to limit participation, Self-Determination claimed large numbers of voters had turned out to support their candidate.

Ahmeti’s victory was seen as an expression of Kosovar discontent with Lady Ashton and the Brussels agreement with Serbia.

On Ashton’s performance regarding Iran, the FT’s Spiegel gushed, “[her] supporters say the agreement, like the Kosovo one before it, has proved she can do the job despite its structural limitations.” But the Kosovo agreement has unraveled in discontent.

Catherine Ashton stands for the EU policy of accepting a stalemate between hostile forces and presenting it as a reconciliation, then treating continued discord and conflict with promises of new talks. That was visible in Macedonia, after inter-ethnic fighting in 2001, as well as in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. There is no compelling evidence that her performance with the Iranians at Geneva will produce a better result.

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