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Last Updated: Monday, 29 March, 2004, 10:31 GMT 11:31 UK
Kosovo: Can peace be restored?
Injured people are led away as UN peacekeepers step in to separate clashing ethnic Albanians and Serbs in Mitrovica
The EU's foreign policy chief Javier Solana has been met by an angry crowd of Serbs during a visit to Kosovo following last week's violent riots.

A group of protestors who had been driven from their homes by the attacks, accused him of failing to protect them.

Mr Solana's visit coincided with the fifth anniversary of Nato air strikes which forced Serbia's army to leave Kosovo.

Earlier this week, a day of mourning took place in the province for the 28 victims killed in last week's inter-ethnic violence.

Can peace be restored to Kosovo? Should more troops be sent?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:

This topic was suggested by Mladen Sudarevic, USA:
I would like to hear what people have to say about what is going on in Kosovo

Having lived and worked in Kosovo for a year in 1999, I am not surprised by these recent developments. I have many Albanian and Serb friends and contacts. Individually they are all loving and peaceful people but it was always evident as to how much hate they had for one another. Centuries of hate will not disappear in four or five years.
Ian Pennell, Christchurch, New Zealand

Kosovo can't be independent in any way. That is not the question of Serbs and Albanians; it's the question of principle. If the international community starts to cut other country's parts there will be no end in that process... next will be Spain, Greece and Macedonia. There will always be extreme groups in every country who will want independence for their region. After all if you take Serbia the majority of population is strictly against independent Kosovo and Metohija.
Goran, Belgrade, Serbia

Can peace be restored? Sure, but the troops have to start playing hardball with the people that are inciting all the rioting and killing that is going on.
Jeff, Anchorage, Alaska

After having lived in Kosova (Kosovo) for two years, working alongside many Albanian people, I don't think peace has ever really existed in Kosovo - at least not in the past millennium. The hatred on both sides runs very deep. They have remembered the wrongs done for centuries by the other and refuse to let go of the bitterness that rules their day-to-day existence. Only when the people of the Balkans learn to forgive and forget will they find peace.
Kelly, USA

I think that the only surprised people are the ones sitting in pretty offices in Brussels
Dimitre, Chicago

I think that the only surprised people are the ones sitting in pretty offices in Brussels. Everyone knew that sooner or later the Albanians would drive out the Serbs, it was just a matter of time. The biggest irony is that Nato troops who came to "protect" the Albanians are now scrambling to save the lives and heritage of the Serbs, and are not doing a good job at all. And finally, I would like to hear Bill Clinton's comments. How does he feel about this "liberation"?
Dimitre, Chicago, USA

Whatever the international community wants to do in Kosovo, the only solution is to separate two peoples in two enclaves. The hatred has been seeded over the centuries, it cannot be out-rooted in several years.
SVD, Belgrade

It is said that today we live in a "globalised village", where the news flash tells us stories about riots in Haiti, a coup in an African republic, or a terrorist act somewhere else. But, how interested is an average citizen in what is going on in this corner of the earth? My feeling is that - once again - powerful lobbies and trusts still have a lot to gain from instability in Kosovo, at the expense of innocent and unaware people. This is very bad. I hope at least some day people will understand and stop fighting each other.
Yanni, Thessaloniki,Greece

It is pathetic how the world media cannot get away from the cliché of evil Serbs and poor victims Albanians, even when it is obvious that this is an organised attempt to get rid of remaining Serbs, and everything that would even remind of Serbian presence, and proclaim independence. I agree that Serbs and Albanians have nothing in common except deep hatred for each other, and that division of Kosovo is the only possible peaceful solution for the situation.
Aleks, Calgary, Canada

Underneath everybody knows that this situation isn't fixable, but we have to stop it spreading any further
Mark, Kosovo/Bosnia
I have been working in the Balkans for two years now, and it's been quite plain that things haven't been fixed, and aren't going to be fixed. It's in the mindset of the different people in this whole region that they hate each other. Even where I am now - in Bosnia, although outwardly peaceful, things simmer on underneath. If we were to leave here I'm quite sure it would all start again, and I think that the main reason KFOR is in Kosovo, and SFOR is in Bosnia is containment. Underneath everybody knows that this situation isn't fixable, but we have to stop it spreading any further.
Mark, Kosovo/Bosnia

Until Kosovar Serbs realise that Kosovo is not part of Serbia anymore, there'll be problems in Kosovo.
Fatos, Peja, Kosovo

I'm a Kosovar Albanian and am Catholic. I just want to make clear that we Albanians don't identify ourselves by religion. We stand united always no-matter what religion we have. I want the Kosovo problem to be solved in a peaceful way.
Kastriot Deva, Pristina

As I served in Kosovo in 1999, it is no great shock to me that the Albanians have started to riot against the Serbs. The vast majority do not feel that Kosovo will be pure until ALL Serbs are gone. Is this what the UN is spending millions of dollars on???
Neil, Liverpool England

In parts of Kosovo, some villages were already reconciled and the two ethnicities were getting their lives back in track and harmoniously. Definitely, one of the major ski resorts (I think there are only two in Kosovo), in the Shar mountains, Brezovica, is full of Albanians who come on the weekend to Ski, walk, Snow Board and generally enjoy the scenic beauty. The Serbs, who are the majority by far in this area, welcome the business from Kosovar Albanians and a few foreigners (UN and International NGO staff). Seeing these things makes you think that within a relatively short time, things may again be normal. But one thing is for sure, until there is a resolve by all the International Bodies, including the United Nations and the US, to set a meaningful goal for the end of the conflict, there will be no peace and I am afraid sentiments linked to violence and hatred will brew deep.
Amit, Pristina, Kosovo

Current events in Kosovo only show once again that the province is not mature for independence. Giving independence to Kosovo would be tantamount to a green light for the complete ethnic cleansing of the remaining Serbs and other minorities. An independent Kosovo would be Europe's most ethnically clean state. Hardly what Nato had in mind when they went to war in 1999.
Oskar Lindström, Stockholm, Sweden

I am a Kosovo Albanian. It tears my heart apart to see Kosovo in flames again. Peace and independence are the only solutions. Enough with violence
Bledi, London

We ordinary people should stand up and say stop to violence from both sides
Armend, Pristina, Kosovo
I would like to assure the international community, UNMIK and KFOR that the attacks were not directed against them, they were always welcomed and it will remain so. The acts of violence that happened in Kosovo were misled and misinterpreted by various medias. It is true that churches were put on fire, but believe me the perpetrators will be brought to justice. Recent happenings should invoke a different approach by international community in handing over the competencies to locally elected representatives, who will be able to cope with current situation. Finally, the ordinary people are frustrated because the Kosovo has a highest unemployment rate and that Kosovars are always seen in media as citizens of second class. I would like to use this opportunity to express my deepest condolences to the members of the families of those killed in these clashes, both for Albanians and Serbs, and that we ordinary people should stand up and say stop to violence from both sides, since the Kosovo is our joint homeland.
Armend, Pristina, Kosovo

I believe peace can be in Kosovo, only if we decided to put down our weapons, and sit like a men to discuss. There are not enough words to explain our feelings about the situation, but violence isn't the answer. Like the man said: "Give peace a chance". Don't let your words be only empty phrases. UN military forces on Kosovo should act, not just stand and watch what's happened. I agree to the soldiers coming in much number and help us to resist.
Marko, Serbia

I have served as peacekeeper myself in Kosovo and it is tragic how violence leads to yet more loss of human life. The only solution I see for Kosovo is that it gains conditional independence.
Anders, Stockholm, Sweden

The situation in Kosovo has a striking resemblance to that of in the Middle East. The only difference is that the conflict in the Balkans lacks the Biblical "background". Since the deep hatred lasts for a hundred years, seemingly there is no way out of that.
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary

It's not about restoring peace. It's about having a fair solution
Bekim, Prishtina, Kosovo
It's not about restoring peace. It's about having a fair solution. Today we have peace in Slovenia and Croatia, because people reached their aim. They don't want to live under anybody's regime. Neither do Albanians in Kosovo. Neither do people in Montenegro. It's the right of the people to decide for their future. If people see that they are losing their freedom, they will fight for it. This is the human right.
Bekim, Prishtina, Kosovo

Kosovo Serbs have failed to recognise the new reality created in Kosovo five years ago. They still dream of the Milosevic regime and think that his dictatorship will be restored in Kosovo. They strongly rejected every attempt of the international community and Kosovan institutions to integrate them as equal citizens in the society. Their only goal is the division of Kosovo and Kosovo Albanians are fully aware of this. The violence in the street of Kosovo is a sign that International Community should review its policies and develop a new strategy and approach. I am convinced that as of today Kosovo will be back to its normality, but the most important think in all this is "lesson learned". My sincere condolences to the families of all victims regardless their ethnicity.
Visar, Visar, Prishtina, Kosovo

Peace can be enforced, but not restored. All anyone should do is monitor the security of the country and offer help when it is asked for. On no account should outside agencies decide how to create a multi-ethnic democracy. That should be left to the people themselves who will know best on how, and when, it should happen.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

British troops should definitely not be there. The Muslims in Kosovo will only turn on their liberators, just as they did in Iraq. British troops should definitely not die for ungrateful Muslim countries. Let their fellow Muslims sort it out.
Will, London

We are human beings and it is very hard for us to forgive and forget
Carolina Di Pasquale, London
It is very difficult to achieve peace, there is so much anger and sadness between the two cultures. How would you feel if you had to live next door to the neighbour who may have killed a member of your family? We are human beings and it is very hard for us to forgive and forget.
Carolina Di Pasquale, London

Extremist Albanians see the churches and remaining Serb population as a threat to their independence. Those people and those churches could have been saved if Serbia had recognized the right to self-determination. I have no doubt in my mind that Kosovo will be an independent state. It would be better for the Serbs to see this reality and in this way save the remaining Serbs in Kosovo and their important historical churches.
Agon, Pristina, Kosovo

Freedom fighting is not reasserting one's national identity by reneging and erasing another people's identity and history. Destruction and violence in Kosovo and Serbia will cause grief, suffering and economic disorder. These conflicts simply will perpetuate the poverty trap, and slows down the economic development of the entire region. Is this what the world "superpowers" want?
Peter, Sofia, Bulgaria

It is sad to see Kosovo in the news once more. It makes me wonder whether Iraq will be in the news in the same way in five years time.
John Wallace, London, UK

There can never be peace anywhere in the world where the two conflicting sides show no tolerance or willingness to work with each other!
Michael, Liverpool, UK

Serbs and Albanians are like water and oil, don't try to integrate and mix them. What UN should do is divide the region (Kosovo) into two equal autonomous parts, and things will settle down. These people are too charged with passions against each other to reconcile in just a few years.
Alfonso, Napoli, Italy

The Albanian majority has clearly shown that it has not been capable of establishing democratic institutions a
Dado, Serbia
I really don't see how independence will solve anything in this context. Since the departure of the Serbian security forces an unprecedented wave of terror and repression has been released against the Serbian minority. The Albanian majority has clearly shown that it has not been capable of establishing democratic institutions and implementing democratic standards and values. If this madness is rewarded with independence I foresee several bloody conflicts erupting in the Balkans.
Dado, Serbia

There is only one solution to restore the peace in Kosovo, and that is Kosovo independence. I think that no one better than the Slovenians, Croatians, Macedonians and Bosnians knows what it means to be independent from the Serbs. Can all these nations and Albanians be guilty just because they do not indulge Serbia's leaders? Why don't they (except Albanians) fight with Serbians anymore? Because they're independent. Serbia should concentrate more in developing democracy inside its borders and let the people out of it live in peace.
Eljana, Gjakove

Peace in Kosovo won't be restored until all Albanians unite. Unity will make Serbia rethink its desire for Kosovo and only than we will start to see peace restored.
Guljed, Boston, MA, USA

People in the world have to understand that this is not a question of having land. Kosovo is not an ordinary territory. Kosovo is root of Serbian people.
Aleksandar, Belgrade, Serbia/Montenegro

Why blame the UN when the problem is with the people themselves?
Mark H, UK
This is not unique to the Balkans. Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland.... examples of two groups of people divided by religion and culture, indoctrinated with utter unbending hatred for each other. Why blame the UN when the problem is with the people themselves?
Mark H, UK

At least 25 Serbian orthodox churches were burned in less than 3 days in Kosovo. Do you now realise who is who in Kosovo?
Mazoni, Novi Sad, Serbia and Montenegro

Recent events in Kosovo have been organised by Albanian extremists months ago and have nothing to do with angry citizens. It is interesting to see how the Nato will prevent the ethnic cleansing of the few Serbs left in Kosovo, unless of course, they don't care as Serbs are the 'bad' guys.
Mike, London

The Kosovan people should restore the problem, not UN, not Belgrade, not anyone else. The UN should allow a referendum. Belgrade should not interfere.
Buli, London

Please remember that there are Roma refugee camps in the northern part of Mitrovica and many Roma living in the Serbian enclaves - their homes have also been torched, their sons and daughters have also been evacuated. This is not just a conflict effecting two ethnicities but this is a conflict that has been placed on 'two sides'.
Shayna, Macedonia/America

If the international community will decide to make Kosovo an independent Albanian populated entity at the expense of ethnic Serbs that will go against each and every point in the Charter of the United Nations ensuring national Self-Determination of States and thus it's not an option. Europe should mobilize each and every available resource in its arsenal to normalize the region.
Mike, Chicago, IL

The current crises in Iraq and Kosovo have one thing in common - foreign interference
Steve, Canada

The current crises in Iraq and Kosovo have one thing in common - foreign interference. Although I don't like the idea of Serbia being deprived of a part of its legitimate national territory, I believe the only solution at this stage is to partition Kosovo in half. Many on both sides probably won't be happy with this, which is probably a good indication that it is the best solution under the circumstances. For the West to try to impose multiculturalism on people who clearly don't want it is not only arrogant but a recipe for disaster.
Steve, Canada

The problems in Kosovo were not solved in 1999 - the Western intervention was nothing short of a disgrace. We in Britain were blithely told what a wonderful success the NATO bombing campaign had been. But then we didn't get the story from the victim's point of view. The country was left in a mess - but the issue was conveniently swept under the carpet and relegated from the news.
Neil Walker, Gloucester UK

The Albanian majority cannot accept a status in which they are being governed by the very enemy who tried to cleanse them. Independence Status for Kosovo is necessary and the only option to resolve the dispute.
Mitrovica citizen living in USA

Can peace be restored? No - it's as simple as that. Mutual hatred runs too deep here and any 'peace' that is achieved by using foreign will be fragile and temporary.
Nick, Sevenoaks, UK

Independence, listening to the will of the Kosovan people is the only solution...
Gini, London, UK

A recently Commander of KFOR, a French General, said at his farewell parade to the ex-KLA, "Nato didn't intervene to replace one mono-ethnic culture with another". Unfortunately that is exactly what is happening.
"International", ex-Pristina/ KFOR

Both Serbs and Albanians have lived in this country for over 1000 years. However for Serbia to think it has any right to this area or any part of it because of a battle someone fought there over 500 years ago is foolish. Kosovo should become independent with one government - basing its decisions on what the majority of the population wants.
Wendy, London, UK

The whole of the Balkans is not worth the life of a single British squaddie.
Kerry, London, England

Abuse of religion seems to be a very common theme in most major areas of violent conflict across the world. Sadly, it would appear that our so-called leaders, instead of attempting to deal with the route causes of the problem are instead creating new 'balkanised' regions around the world.
Matthew, UK

Let's hope that peace can be restored to Kosovo. However, the situation is very tense as the status of the province has not been resolved yet after 5 years of liberation. Unless this happens, there will continue to be clashes.
Valbona Ametaj, Manchester

There is only one Kosovo and there should be only one government ruling Kosovo
Kujtim Shehu, London
For five years the UN has allowed the Serbs to run a parallel government for the Serbs. There is only one Kosovo and there should be only one government ruling Kosovo, the Serbs should be part of it if they want to live peacefully with the Albanians. The bottom line is Albanians are very angry with the lack of progress being made when always any decision made by the Parliament gets overruled by the UN. Who takes responsibility when you give no power and you rule it as a colonial place! There may be temporary peace but we will return to square one and the substance of the problem which is parallel government.
Kujtim Shehu, London

NATO tried to halt the fighting long enough for both sides to accept peace and both sides turned down the opportunity. How many hundreds of years do people have to fight before the rest of us can accept that they WANT to fight? Bring the troops home. These young men deserve better than to be made into sitting ducks and scapegoats.
Jim , NJ, USA

Absolutely no British troops should go or be there. Both sides are terminally set against the other, and we cannot force "multi-culturalism" onto them at the point of a peacekeeper's gun.
Roger, Whitwick, England

How can there be peace when you have well prepared, well-organized and well-synchronized action against Serbian people, with just one aim, to force them out of Kosovo. This action is called ethnic cleansing, and NATO-led peacekeepers failed to stop it.
Nikola, Belgrade, Serbia

The two communities, Serbs and Albanians, needs to be separated one from another
Ljiljana Petrovic, Pozarevac, Serbia and Montenegro
Now it is clear that Kosovo needs to be decentralized. The two communities, Serbs and Albanians, needs to be separated one from another if there is to be peace in Kosovo. Serbs must have their own police, judiciary and other institutions necessary to assure their protection. It is unacceptable to let Albanians (around 99% of them are Muslims) to destroy Serb Orthodox churches (some of them were several centuries old), to set on fire houses of Serbs, to kill Serbs... just because they are Serbs and Christians. Can we let this happen in the heart of Europe? Shouldn't we do something to stop this evil, before it spreads.

The burning of the two mosques in Serbia, of which I naturally do not approve, was a response to the burning of Serb Orthodox churches in Kosovo, now and during the last few years (more than 100 Orthodox churches have been damaged or completely destroyed in the last few years). The violence provokes violence, and this too must be stopped. I am sure that these shameful acts will not be repeated in Serbia, thanks to the calls for peace, and non-violent responses made by the Government Kostunica as well as the Serb Orthodox Church. But, can one hope to have the same responses in Kosovo? In a Kosovo non-decentralized, as it is now, I strongly doubt that the violence against Serbs will (and can) be stopped permanently.
Ljiljana Petrovic, Pozarevac, Serbia and Montenegro

This is to all the people who think that it is time for Serbs to give Kosovo away: Please, before giving any comments, read a bit about Serbian history for the past fifteen centuries. The first land ever to be called "Serbia" was the land of Kosovo. That is heart of Serbia. So, why would we give Kosovo to Albanians when they came to Kosovo just few decades ago?! Come on, think reasonably. And about peace in Kosovo, I don't think that it will ever happen again: not until there is one Albanian and one Serb in that land.
Jelena Stojanovic, Cuprija, Serbia

Can the peace in Kosovo be restored? We cannot be sure that the situation of a perfect peace and tolerance between Serbs and Albanians will be restored for a pretty long time... But why don't Albanians have problems (ethnical problems) with other communities?! This is an evidence that the Albanians are not the problem here... But just to be sure that angry groups of Serbs or even Serb soldiers don't risk the borders of Kosovo, it is advised that British troops are to be brought here in Kosovo, not to help the ethnical stability or internal matters but because of the danger from Serbs of Serbia!!!
Baton Mati, Prishtina, Kosovo

Everybody must know that Serbs and Albanians can't live together. The only solution is to split Kosovo. If not, Serbs will be refuges in their own country. Independent Kosovo? Then provinces in every European country can demand independence.
Sanja, Belgrade, Serbia

There will be no peace until the West changes its policy of double standards
Nik, Belgrade, Serbia
In 1999 Milosevic tried to clean Kosovo from Albanians and he was punished by NATO. Now 5 years later, Kosovan Albanians are doing the same thing with Serbs and they are not punished, on contrary they have help and they have been rewarded. There will be no peace until the West changes its policy of double standards and all guilty people are punished. In addition, now it is clear that Kosovo Albanians and Kosovo Serbs can't live in same state and if anybody wants durable peace, Kosovo must be divided on Serb and Albanian lines.
Nik, Belgrade, Serbia

A sad, pathetic failure to the politics of NATO and UN. I understand the frustration of the Serbs. How would we Brits feel if suddenly hundreds of thousands of French came to live in Kent and after 30 years they demanded independence? That's what happened to the Serbs in Kosovo.
Nick, London, UK

The problem in Kosovo started much before 1998 as many people think. The problem began after the WW2. During that time borders were basically opened and many Albanians left their country in order to find better life. By 1990s their number was around 2 million while number of Serbs was less than a million. I honestly cannot understand what rights ethnic Albanians have to demand Kosovo as their republic. Kosovo has always been Serbian territory even though there were more Albanians than Serbs. However Serbia was unlucky and had Milosevic for the president who practically lost Kosovo by killing Albanians. I am wondering now how NATO and the UN are going to react. In 1999 we were bombed. What are they going to do now?
Belgrade, Serbia

Peace can certainly be stored in Kosovo but for this to take place, Kosovo's Independence must be achieved first. The UN has been very biased (pro-Serb) pre war, during the war, and post war and it has made it very difficult for Kosovo Albanians to stay calm and see their freedom and future (for which they fought) slip away. Serbs MUST understand that Kosovo is not their land and never was. Serbs MUST understand that Albanians lived in the Region of Kosovo centuries before Serbs ever existed. Albanians will die for the Independence of Kosovo because Kosovo is their homeland and will protect it at any cost.
Milot Rukiqi, USA

Five years is not enough time for all of the wounds to heal
Senka, USA
The Albanian population has been repressed for decades. I am not justifying any use of violence, but it is obvious that with a history full of violence and hatred that tensions and clashes will continue for a long time. Five years is not enough time for all of the wounds to heal. I am grateful for the presence of the NATO troops and their efforts, not only in Kosovo, but in Bosnia as well.
Senka, USA

Just cannot understand why the Belgrade Mosque had to be destroyed... looks like Belgrade was waiting something to happen, in order to destroy it... Anyway, it is a deja vu. Best regards from sunny Sarajevo
Edo, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina

Will someone please tell me why NATO aren't bombing the Albanians to bits like they did the Serbs? This is how it all started last time. I don't believe in war, in my opinion no-one deserves to die - but these seem like double standards to me. Why is it alright to slaughter the Serbs? Are we going to send troops in to occupy every nation at war, because that won't leave many of us behind to run (and live in) our own country.
Rose Ivanson, Shrewsbury, UK

Peace will only be restored if the Serbs and the Albanians realise that we are all the same no matter what colour or race.
Tayo Adekoya, Lagos, Nigeria

This is a same old story. I wish there was no race or religion on earth. I wish we would be one someday. Hopefully!
Ilker Karatas, Turkey

Nato and the UN should ask themselves where things went wrong
Mickey, Pittsburgh, USA
It's been five years since Nato troops and the UN were deployed in Kosovo. Their promises that they would create a multi-ethnic society and provide for freedom and liberty for all Kosovo citizens have not been fulfilled. Five years later, in only one night, centuries old symbols of Serbian Christian existence in Kosovo have been set ablaze. Under the rule of the most powerful military organisation in the world, people are being killed, their houses burnt and destroyed. Nato and the UN should ask themselves where things went wrong. Today, more then ever, Kosovo desperately needs help.
Mickey, Pittsburgh, USA

I live in a town called Prizren, and now I feel like I'm in a war time like we had nearly 5 yrs ago. All Orthodox churches has been fired and most of people still trying to destroy. Today and yesterday we had have hard day the protester's destroyed everything what they had a chance. The UN Special Troops used sprayed tear gas but it was unavailable to stop the protesters.
Adil, Prizren/Kosovo

To Western People: Give new Serbia a chance! There's no more Milosevic! You must validate it, as well as you must stop burning of the world inheritance, UNESCO legacy, not only Serbian.
Dejan Milosevic, Kragujevac, Serbia

Is this why NATO bombed Serbia in 1999? SHAME
Maria, Canada

I've truly believed that end of Milosevic was the end of ethnic cleansing in Kosovo. Now there are no Serbs left in Kosovo, their houses are burned down. These are the black days for democracy and multi ethnicity in Kosovo.
Ivan Cikaric, Zajecar, Serbia

Until the various factions come together to sit at a table and work out a plan for their country, everyone who goes in there with the best of intentions is bound to fail
Marcella, Houston, Texas USA
Where and when will it all end? I've almost given up on the word 'peace'. This was a big test for NATO and the UN on restoring peace in an area with inbred hatreds and it appears they've had very little effect. I say let them fight among themselves and figure out the solution. This is not said with heartlessness. We had racial problems (still do, in fact) in the 1960s and no one came to help us, but we worked it out within our own borders and with our own people and found a compromise.

Today we have the civil rights act and it's that act that causes the most problems -- in the courtroom. But until the various factions come together without prejudice and alienation to sit at a table and work out a plan for their country, everyone who goes in there with the best of intentions is bound to fail.
Marcella, Houston, Texas USA

I'm not sure if sending any troops would help the situation on Kosovo. After all, UN troops had seen 7000 Bosnians in Srebrenica being slaughtered before their eyes, and couldn't stop it. Will British troops do better? There's just too much hatred in that part of the world. I just hope that these recent events on Kosovo won't spark up new waves of violence in Serb dominated Bosnian territories. Serbs still blame Turks for their misfortunes and losses, instead of starting to face the truth and realize what have their own nationalistic governments done to them. Setting up couple of mosques on fire doesn't help their countrymen on Kosovo. They burnt hundreds of them in Bosnia, and did it help them? Their leader is in Hag, others are hiding and running from international court, country had been bombed by NATO and heading to the disaster.
Sam, Chicago, USA

Why is the international community opposed to the division of Kosovo? Both sides seem to accept partition as the only workable solution. Kosovars get independence, Serbs get back their northern Kosovo and NATO troops go home!
F. Mikollino, UK

Yes, peace can be restored in Kosovo, at least a temporary peace; a peace that will require an armed International presence forever more until we grant the Albanians independence. They will not stop until they have their independence, and if we allow them to have, Macedonia's next. When NATO backed the KLA against the Milosevic regime, it demonstrated - very clearly - to the Albanians how to achieve their aim: by violence.
Mac, Sarajevo, Bosnia

The Serbs have to accept that Kosovo is not part of Serbia anymore and both sides have to see each other as neighbours
Andi, Albania / Brighton England
The Serbs have to accept that Kosovo is not part of Serbia anymore and both sides have to see each other as neighbours. Kosovo must take full responsibility to protect all the minorities that live there. But all these problems will not happen any longer if Kosovo is recognize from Serbia and international community as an independent country. Kosovans have been waiting and fighting for more than a century to have their own state and the price has been high.
Andi, Albania / Brighton England

The international community must come up with a solution. The former Serbian government led by Milosevic failed. Neither do the Albanians have any idea other than to declare independence. The Kosovo issue will have the effect of radicalising the Serbian population yet again. Time and again Serbs are told to 'move on' from the issue but how can they when they cannot live in peace in Kosovo? All options should be considered.
Sasa Markovic, Belgrade Jugoslavia

Just wandering, when do you plan on showing the photos of burning churches in Kosovo? Every church in every city in Kosovo is burning and a few are being protected by KFOR forces. All we can see through the variety of the links you're providing are burnt mosques in Belgrade and Nis which is, by the way, an absolute disgrace and only a step backwards to healing of the wounds in Serbia.
Svetlana, Canada

Until our leaders accept that military action is not in fact an effective long term solution to the world's problems, we are stuck in a terrible downward spiral of violence. Neither Yugoslavia nor Iraq were actually a threat to us, but by throwing these countries into chaos we have released gangs of criminals and terrorists. Let's have some isolationism, please!
Andrew, Cirencester, UK

Too many innocent people are dying both Serb and Albanians due to their flawed policies and decisions
George Stojanovic, England, United Kingdom
Let's stop playing political games and start protecting the innocent people. Kosovo can not be divided as this would give the green light to the Albanians that terrorism pays and we would see the same in Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and so on. Kosovo is part of Serbia, we need the world community to finish what they started because too many innocent people are dying both Serb and Albanians due to their flawed policies and decisions.
George Stojanovic, England, United Kingdom

The BBC's "Day in Pictures" today has a several pictures of destroyed mosque in Belgrade, but sadly not a single picture of several dozens of orthodox churches destroyed on Kosovo yesterday and today. Current vandalism of Albanian mobs can be only compared to Afghan Taliban's destruction of Buddha statues couple years ago.

This is very sad , this is big failure for UN and NATO, but most of all a tragic failure for both Albanians and Serbs who are not capable of dealing with their issues the way the international community is expecting from them.
Mike, NYC, USA

More NATO troops are needed urgently in Kosovo if peace is to be restored. Europe and the rest of the civilized world cannot allow extremists to slaughter innocent people in the pursuit of political goals. Those who use violence to capture land and property must never be recognised as belonging to the community of civilized nations. The international community must make it clear to all Kosovo politicians that ethnic cleansing and terrorism will not be tolerated.
Marko Kraljevic, London, UK

Here is my prediction: NATO will stay in Kosovo for a few more years. With no peace in sight, the province will be declared a "democracy" and granted independence. The remaining Serb population will be forced out. Eventually, Kosovo will become a part of Albania.
Petr, Russia

To the extent that Iraq is a US problem that Europe shouldn't help with, this is a problem for continental Europe that the US (and Britain) shouldn't help with. Get NATO out and let a coalition of France, Germany, Belgium, etc. step up and do something productive outside of their borders. If Old Europe can turn Kosovo into a peaceful paradise in short order they will have some credibility in attacking US policy in Iraq.
Michael, Kansas City, USA

Both sides say they want peace, but what they really mean is they want victory
Mark Alcroft, Bolton, UK
How depressingly familiar it all is, each side believing itself to be the victim of the other and referring to incidents which occurred hundreds of years ago to justify today's atrocities. As somebody said about Northern Ireland, both sides say they want peace, but what they really mean is they want victory. We should either swamp the area with troops and enforce a peace, or withdraw entirely and let them get on with it. Both sides will criticise us either way
Mark Alcroft, Bolton, UK

Peace can be restored for ever in Kosovo, if the international community will recognize Kosovo as state. That will suppress the appetite of Serbia to return Kosovo under its administrative borders again. And the Albanians & local Serbs and other minorities in Kosovo would be oriented to work and live to build the new country (Kosovo).
N Dibrani, Prishtina, Kosova

A sad fact that after being assured and reassured for five years that Kosovo is advancing toward a true democracy we are faced with what is clearly an organized campaign to once and for all purge the remains of Serbs from Kosovo. With all due respect from people outside of these territories they cannot and will never understand this clash, but it is easy to understand that peace is far from here, and will continue to be so unless the international community finally excepts faults at both sides, faces the problems in both communities and stops cheering for one side and starts being what it should be - an independent arbiter while talks start - no matter how long they take it is the only way. Provided of course there are any Serbs left to talk by the time this is finished.
Cica, Belgrade, Serbia

I really don't think it's important who started the whole thing. Let's just not focus any more on who's to blame! Of course I absolutely agree that Serbian minority, which has very bad living conditions, has to be protected by the International community way more effectively. And yes it's quite obvious now that Serbia will have to learn to accept that Kosovo is not part of it. The sooner it realizes that the better. I'm afraid that any foreign troops will never be able to do away with the hatred.
Tijana, Belgrade

Nato shows us that it is still a useful alliance
Nelson Rotsaert, Belgium

Of course, peace can be restored to Kosovo. But it will be a long and difficult process. Nato shows us that it is still a useful alliance.
Nelson Rotsaert, Belgium

We can discuss for a whole century about who is older: chicken or an egg. And in between, there would be no solution and only innocent people will die. I am afraid that there are too many interests involved in one small region such as Kosovo. You can call it manipulation or a cause, but at the end you will have ethnically clean region in a heart of Europe with no intention of becoming multi-ethnically democratic society. And that would be unimaginable contradiction to everything. A really sad failure for everyone.
Rade, Malta

It appears that this anger was accumulating for years because UNMIK and KFOR were tolerating Serbian parallel structures in Kosovo, which in fact were working to undermine any positive developments, in order to stop Kosovo from becoming independent. In my view Serbia has lost the right to govern Kosovo in '99 therefore Kosovo has to become independent and bear full responsibility for the security of minorities and not like now where we have UNMIK and KFOR responsible for the security.
Udo, Hamburg, Germany

Of course they can not have peace. It will never happen. These groups have been fighting long before the Eastern Block was formed. It is what they are used to, they are life long enemies. We cannot bring peace as they have to believe in peace for it to work. Governments can sign all the peace agreements they want, but if the people living in the countries are going to continue fighting each other the peace is not there.
Jane, UK

The question is can peace be restored. My answer would be yes if the people of Kosovo are given the power to do so. No if the issue is left in the hands of UN.
Aldo, London

Tensions between Serbs and Albanians on Kosovo originated decades ago. Even in former Socialist Yugoslavia there have been tensions and even a kind of Albanian uprising against the Belgrade regime. As long as Serbs will treat Kosovo as "Serbian cradle" and Albanians will talk about "Great Albania" or "Independent Kosovo", there will be tensions and violence between those two nations, who obviously have nothing left in common now. Maybe the best solution is to divide the land along ethnic lines. But there might also be a lot of objections from both sides, due to the fact that region is rich with coal and minerals. The international community is only wasting time, money and lives trying to keep the region as a whole.
Mitja Koren, Ljubljana, Slovenia

Peace is a state of mind. With the attitudes of both Albanians and Serbians so distrustful and hateful of each other, there can be no talk of peace in Kosovo. I have lived and worked here for nearly four years too, but sometimes I wonder why I am here. It seems as if the moment NATO leaves, things will be back to the state it was immediately before, during and immediately after the 1999 conflicts.
Another "International", Pristina, Kosovo, Serbia & Montenegro

If you look at the wounded and dead people you will see that out of 22 dead people 18 are Albanians. Out of 500 wounded about 440 are Albanians, 51 are UNMIK and KFOR troops and 9 Serbs. It clearly shows who threw grenades and opened fire. I personally condemn all the killings and I think both of them are to be blamed. Albanians have to learn to forgive and live with Serbs. Serbs have to rid the idea of Kosovo being part of Serbia and accept Kosovo's institutions.
Martin, Glasgow, UK

I have been working here for four years now. I had asked that very same question to one local Albanian, he said "After 500 years we will still fight the Serbs". The Serbs feel the same way about the Kosovars. I don't believe this is a religious conflict, since the Albanians are Muslims by name, not by practice. Kosovars are quick to put blame elsewhere except themselves... yesterday they blamed the Serbs, today they blame the UN, who are they going to blame tomorrow??
"International", Pristina, Kosovo

Although clashes are undesirable, perhaps we should remember that Kosovo is a part of Serbia, and that the Albanians have colonised from another country. Having said this, the peoples still need to find a way to live together; neither will go away.
Dr T Smith, UK

There will be no peace, not in another 100 years!
Milos, Belgrade, Serbia
Conflicts are deeper than anyone can imagine. There will be no peace, not in another 100 years! I beg NATO, this time please help saving Serbs!!! Evacuate them in safe areas, it's supposed to be your duty! If you can't do it alone, then let us help you with our forces under your command. I don't care if Kosovo is about to become ethnic-Albanian territory, just let us protect our own people!
Milos, Belgrade, Serbia

The only solution is to divide Kosovo on ethnic lines so each side can decide in the future if they wish to have a union with each other or not. Its very annoying to see the British making decisions on our future there - do we have any say on decision making in the UK? Why doesn't Nato accept failure like in Iraq and listen to the people from the province and work out a compromise. Divide Kosovo, return the Serbs to the Serbian part which will be rejoined with Serbia, and the Albanian population can declare independence, union or whatever they wish!
Mark, London

Nothing joins Serbs and Albanians. They have different culture, languages, religions, history, and different place of living. 90% of Kosova is lived by Albanians. Why should they live under domineer of 10% Serbs. They want to be independent. To live as they want, as everybody in the world does. It's lasting for 100 years now. It will last forever if solution is not reached. The day that Kosova Serbs will not threat the future of Kosova, they will be very secure.
Bekim, Prishtina

"90% of Kosova is lived by Albanians. Why should they live under domineer of 10% Serbs" ??? For the past 5 years there has been no "Belgrade regime" in Kosovo, it is completely under UN authority. Less than 200.000 Serbs, cut-off in enclaves, dominating 2 million Albanians? If that is not impossible, what is? Everything said in favour of Serbs nowadays immediately gets the stigma "nationalist propaganda" and there had been good reasons for that, but injustice is going a bit too far in Kosovo. Dividing Kosovo with firm borders is the wisest thing to do, with fair division of resources and infrastructure among those who originally invested in them.
Vladimir Urosevic, Glendale USA

Sending more UN troops to Kosovo will not resolve the problem of Albanian terrorism which we have seen demonstrated yet again on Wednesday 17th March throughout the province. I propose, as should the entire civilised world, an immediate return of Serbian forces as outlined by Resolution 1244.
Marko Kezunovic, London, UK

I am ashamed of this Nation's failure to implement the peace
Martin, UK
I served in the British Army in Kosovo in 1999. I have seen first hand what people are capable of doing to each other. I was impeded at every step by the policies and politics at various levels of the Military System. I have left the Army now, and am ashamed of this Nation's failure to implement the peace. I also fear far worse is yet to come.
Martin, UK

Peace can't be restored in Kosovo simply because there was no peace before. For past five years, Kosovo has been a cradle to murders and violence. Kosovo is a Gordian knot, a hot potato being handled between politicians. While civilians keep dying. Kosovo's problems need swift military solutions. My opinion is that five years of talking has done nothing, as we're witnessing now.
Janja, Belgrade, Serbia & Montenegro

Kosovo is not Northern Ireland or Bosnia or Croatia. Peacekeepers should know that. Five years is not enough. It will take a decades to have peaceful Kosovo. You can't even talk about the peace at this moment, but just about the security of the civilians.
Rada, Sombor, Serbia

The beginning of the article by saying "The violence began in Mitrovica where Serbs and Albanians exchanged gunfire and grenades, killing several people" is not precise since there was no exchange. The hand grenades were coming from the Serbian part, since the process of disarming the citizens of Kosova apparently did not include the Serbs. The frustration of Kosovar Albanians is accumulated anger towards UN Administration and the limited authority of newly built local Government.
Shqipe Breznica, Prishtinė, Kosovė

It may take two generations to heal the wounds of recent history
John M, Lyne Meads, UK
Kosovo is yet another victim of the meeting of religions. Peacekeeping is only a short-term, but necessary, measure and a long-term solution can only be reached through a meeting of minds. Do all the people of Kosovo have the will to look forward towards a united peace rather than backwards with separate views of history? It may take two generations to heal the wounds of recent history but it's better to wait with peacekeepers than to jump forward with warlords.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK

Since June 1999, under Nato protection, more then 200,000 Serbs have been forced to flee Kosovo, while some 2,000 are missing since. Is that kind of peace that Nato keeps?
Roman, Belgrade, Serbia

My uncle is trapped in a small Serb village in Kosovo (I am afraid to reveal his exact location). This morning we talked to him and he said that there were no peacekeeping troops anywhere near the village. They cannot get out and they are afraid to stay in. Since Serb troops are not allowed to go back to Kosovo and protect the Serbs, I beg you to send more Nato troops and help the remaining Serbs.
Pathon, London

If Nato or the UN do not intervene now we will almost certainly see a repeat of the ethnic violence and hatred that plagued eastern Europe in the 1990s.
Naomi Richland, Bushey, Herts

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