Dutch Minister: 'Kosovo is run by criminals'

Kosovo is run by people who live off crime, according to the assessment of the then Dutch State Secretary for European Affairs in a leaked cable from 2007

Lawrence Marzouk

29 Jan 11

Pristina -   Frans Timmermans, who remains a parliamentarian in the Dutch assembly but is no longer a minister, made the comments during a November 2007 meeting with US officials in The Hague.

The remarks appear in a cable, obtained by the Wikileaks website, made at the time of elections in Kosovo and in the runup to the February 2008 declaration of independence.

“Timmermans was concerned about the future implications of the EU's outreach to Kosovo: Kosovo is run by people who live off crime...(they have) no other means to support themselves,” the cable reads.

The former minister also suggested that the EU would never be able to agree on Kosovo’s independence.

“He [Timmermans] also expressed strong doubt the EU could ever reach consensus on Kosovo,” according to the cable.

“Timmermans noted that Russia was creating havoc in the Balkans, and Kosovo will be a messy affair.

“The Russians will react strongly (to a Kosovar declaration of independence), and the European reaction will be all over the place, I'm afraid,” reads the cable, apparently referring to Timmermans’ comments.

The criticism of Kosovo’s leaders emerges after a series of leaks which has already damaged the reputation of Kosovo’s ruling class.

Leaked NATO documents identified Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci as one of the "biggest fish" in organized crime in his country and alleged that a senior member of his party ordered a series of political murders.

The focus of the 2004 NATO intelligence report was Xhavit Haliti, a senior figure in Thaci's Democratic Party of Kosovo, PDK, who was a key figure in running the Kosovo Liberation Army's fund from diaspora donations.

The document claims that Haliti is involved in a range of organised crime activities, ordered political murders against members of the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK, and exerted a strong influence over Thaci because of his wealth.

But while Haliti is the focus of the surveillance report, it also details the alleged role of several other key players in Kosovo's business and political world, including the current caretaker prime minister, Thaci.

The information from the leaked intelligence reports was first published by investigative reporter Jürgen Roth last month but was given international media coverage by French daily Le Monde and British newspaper The Guardian in the past week.

The Kosovo government and Haliti have rejected the allegations contained in the report and the leaked NATO document, pointing out that similar claims have been circulating without being proved for a decade.

Orig.: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/dutch-minister-kosovo-is-run-by-criminals