Recent experience of Kosovo?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by chris78290, May 7, 2008.

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  1. Hi all,

    A student group at my university is planning a trip to Serbia (Belgrade for 5 days) and to Kosovo (Pristina for 5 days with a day in Kosovska Mitrovica). They seem to have taken little to no security precautions and have said that from what they have been told the situation remains stable and travelling around and staying in Pristina shouldnt be a problem.

    Has anyone got any recent experience of Kosovo, if so can they verify their assumptions of safety. Also we will be crossing the border from Serbia into Kosovo and also back into Serbia later on. How safe is the border crossing and how happy are the Serbians to allow free passage in and out at the moment.

    Any help would be much appreciated.
  2. Depends on which border crossing, what time of the day you cross, who the tour leader is, the reason for your visit, your attitude, and whether the border guard got out of bed on the wrong side or not. Could be no more hassle than taking the chunnel to France for the day or you could end up as enemies of the state number 1.

    Try to avoid Belgrade later this month when you are likely to be gravely assaulted by live Eurovision tunes!
  3. The minimum i would expect the organisers to have done would be to check the fco website.
  4. I've visited Serbia twice - not sure about Kosovo, but the Serbians are very friendly people... If anything, you'll probably find high levels of hospitality because they have been isolated for so long. The first time I went, I had people stopping me in the street to talk to me because they wanted to know how I enjoyed their country etc. The only person who was abit funny was somebody who couldn't believe I was only spending three days in their country.

    Obviously do not discuss politics etc, and your friends should be ok!
  5. Are any grown ups actually going with you?

    Extract from fco:

    The Serbian authorities will not allow you to travel into Serbia from Kosovo unless you began your journey in Serbia or via Macedonia, Montenegro or Albania. When visiting Kosovo, you may be required, by the Kosovo border police, to provide documents explaining your visit (for example a letter of introduction). See the Entry Requirements section of this advice for more details.
  6. chris78290 is probably the designated 'adult' for the trip and the question above constitutes his responsibility regarding background travel advice.

    PS. I was in Pristina end of last year, Mitrovica last week and current in Belgrade. Will be escaping Belgrade at end of month to avoid the Eurotrash circus coming to town!
  7. Cheers for the replies guys, everyone going on the trip is in their twenties. The woman organising it is quite responsible normally, she just doesnt seem very aware of security concerns (sheltered background you see). I don't believe in signing up for anything until i've done some research on the risks involved so I checked the FCO website and thought i'd ask around on here. Sounds like it shouldn't be too much of a problem as long as we keep our wits about us, the trip is in June, i'll keep my eyes peeled for any developments in the mean time. Cheers for your input.
  8. You really are taking the pi$$ aren't you?

    You're off to Kosovo in June, heh! Why June? Have you been keeping up with current affairs?

    First week of June: Russia 'peacekeeping' battalion due in Mitrovica at the invitation of the Serbian government - possible.
    Second week in June: US and EU demand withdrawal of Russian troops and confrontation line created along the Ibar - unlikely, but possible.
    June 15: Pristina officially promulgates its own constitution - definite.
    June 28: The 'Ahtisaari Plan' 120-day "transition period" ends - definite, and
    June 28: UNMIK hands over full governance and legal responsibilities to the Albanian authorities (with EULEX overwatch) - almost definite.
    June 29: Significantly reduced UNMIK and EULEX remain locked in dispute over who controls what, where and how - almost definite.
    June 29: 'Border' at the Ibar created.
    June 30: Russia convenes a special meeting at the UNSC and demands full implementation of Resolution 1244 and in particular the return of Serbian military forces to Kosovo - possible.
  9. But don't worry folks, all will be OK because ARRSE said it was calm at the beginning of May!
  10. see hence the reason why I asked, maybe I should have mentioned the date in my first post. Hmm, that doesn't sound like too much of a fun time to be in Kosovo. Thankyou whitecity for the insight, i may pm you tomorrow
  11. You might read something into the fact that the SLE Battalion are deploying this month too?!! Steer well clear of Mitrovica though for definite as that is the main flash point in Kosovo.
  12. So just what kind of 'Student Trip' is this? Whats the aim? Why pick June, its not exactly mid term is it?
    Is your leader a trot?

    .......and yeah, course you looked at the FCO site before you posted.
  13. GordonBrown, don't insult my intelligence. I did in fact look at the FCO website, however in light of the announcement that The Rifles are being sent out soon due to an escalation in the situation, I decided not to take 'most trips to Kosovo are safe' as a good enough answer and came on here to hear it from the horses mouth so to speak.

    In answer to your question about what kind of student trip this is, although its really none of your business, its a research trip looking at post-conflict reconstruction. We are all post-grad students, June is after we have finished our final papers of the term.

    I don't know why you felt the need to suggest I was some kind of idiot, the fact I did not know the detailed itinerary of likely events in June is not that unusual, you try finding that on a news website.
  14. Well enjoy yourself, buddy but if I wanted to visit a region to look at 'post conflict reconstruction', I would be looking for a region currently experiencing a period of 'post conflict'. Not somewhere very much engaged in conflict as Kosovo but each to his own.
    I would have thought Bos would have been a better experience but what do I know.