Landed at Pristina airport.
Met coordinator of the independence negotiation team.
Met prime minister
Dinner with Veton Surroi, who gave me his new book.
Left for Macedonia: foolishly took the icy twisting track over the hills to avoid the recent landslide, though guided by Polish and Lithuanian troops
Met with Mayor of Skopje for late lunch, with my boss having also arrived
Met with leader of the 2001 uprising
Met with US ambassador
Dinner with President Crvenkovski
Midnight drink with my former assistant
Breakfast with EU Special Representative
My boss gave a speech to the youth wing of the main opposition party
Met with Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European integration
Final lunch with Mayor of Skopje again
Boss returned to Brussels; I drove back north to Kosovo, taking the more sensible route (though it does take you past souvenirs of the 2001 war)
Got to Pristina in time for a meeting with someone who is not currently allowed to engage in public political activities, so we talked about mutual friends and topics of common interest
Met with UN Secretary General’s Special Representative
Dinner party with i) EU Special Representative, ii) government minister widely tipped as next leader of main government party (leadership currently vacant after death of Rugova) and iii) main opposition party’s leading intellectual. The restaurant offered us squid in strawberry sauce. We were almost all sufficiently intrigued to try it. It was OK.
Went back to my colleague’s house to watch the recording of Kosovo’s main political talk-show from earlier in the evening. His girlfriend is the presenter.
Visit to Dečani Monastery, heavily guarded by Italian soldiers (not in photograph). Long drive across Kosovo’s central plain to the point where the Montenegro mountains loom over it.
Met with Father Sava Janjić, well-known “cyber-monk”. The monastery is completely isolated from the nearby town, to the point that the locals keep taking the roadsigns to it down. Father Sava argues, with some justice, that the monks had opposed the Milošević regime but are still being made to pay for its mistakes, despite having given shelter to Albanian refugees in the 1999 conflict. A very difficult situation, often forgotten in easy talk of ethnic reconciliation in Pristina.
Drove to airport. Airport covered in fog. All flights cancelled.
Back to Pristina.
Swiftly scheduled meeting with leader of largest opposition party.
Swiftly arranged visit to northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica, divided between Serbs an Albanians.
Met UN official in “charge” of area.
Met hard-line Serb leader
Met moderate Serb leader
Plane home took off late, but at least it took off. They had to hold my connecting flight in Budapest for me and my luggage only got back this morning. But a good trip.