Last week, Kofi Annan named the Danish civil servant Soren Jessen-Petersen as his new representative in Kosovo almost five years to the day after Nato proclaimed its victory in its war against the Yugoslav army. A time, then, for celebration and moving forward? Not a bit. Nobody, neither Albanians nor Serbs nor internationals, was celebrating the fifth anniversary. And many diplomats were very unhappy at the mechanism which led to Jessen-Petersen's selection in which national vanities triumphed over the real needs of Kosovo - a desperate and potentially violent place these days.
What a contrast with June 1999 when Kosovo Albanians threw roses as the west's tanks rolled in. The Albanians, 85% of the population, were delirious at the prospect of a UN administration backed by Kfor, the Nato-led military force. Even those who clearly had not benefited, the Serbian minority in Kosovo, accepted the new reality without resorting to sabotage or terrorism in response.
But in the past three years, Albanian joy has turned into resentment. Serb bitterness has deepened. The UN, with a creditable record in peace-keeping, has proved hopelessly inadequate at governing a complex society like Kosovo...
Told you so.