Analysis: Kosovo’s anxious wait

BBC News, Nick Hawton August 2, 2006

Mitrovica, Kosovo

Tensions are rising in Kosovo as a decision on its long-term future nears.

The international community says it wants the Serbs and ethnic Albanians to reach an agreement by the end of the year.

Otherwise, a settlement may have to be imposed.

In the divided city of Mitrovica people seem a long way from agreement.

Hardship

At 0900 the men are sitting outside the bars drinking beer and rakia. With sky-high unemployment, there is not much to do apart from think of the future and gaze at the bridge separating the two halves of the city.

The portakabin shops which line the street add to the pervading sense of the temporary. Patrolling international police and K-For troops seem to outnumber the locals.

Welcome to north Mitrovica, the last Serb urban area in Kosovo. It is tense, depressing and the people are scared about the future.

. . . more