Head of hardship

first_img Fact File Curriculum vitae1945: Born in Rotterdam, the Netherlands1968: Graduates in political science from the University of Lausanne, Switzerland1970: Master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Enters the Dutch diplomatic service.1995: Appointed political adviser to the commander of NATO peacekeepers in Bosnia; further assignments for NATO in the Balkans and Brussels2001: Deputy director-general in the Council of Ministers secretariat, Brussels2004: Personal envoy of EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana for Sudan/Darfur2005: Head of EU expert team for Iraq2006: Head of Aceh monitoring mission2007: Appointed civilian operations commander for all EU civilian crisis missions2008: Appointed EU special representative (EUSR) and head of the International Civilian Office (ICO) Pieter Feith may be the international community’s top trouble-shooter in Kosovo, but even trouble-shooters have to live somewhere. Feith’s last prospective landlord in Pristina, Kosovo’s booming capital,  abruptly hiked the rent by several hundred euros per month when he realised just who this 63-year-old Dutchman was. Perhaps that is what Feith means when he notes the “energy” of the town.Feith’s fate – for several weeks after his arrival in Pristina in January he lived in temporary quarters – is shared by many of his colleagues. Landlords in Pristina are cashing in on the anticipated influx of staff at the International Civilian Office (ICO) – the ad-hoc organisation which Feith heads – and the EU’s much larger judicial and police mission, Eulex.Feith’s difficulties in unpacking his suitcase mirror those of the ICO, which is scheduled to take over many of the functions of the widely unloved UN mission in Kosovo (Unmik). The longer Unmik has stayed on as a surrogate government to help maintain the fiction that Kosovo is still part of Serbia, the more unpopular it has become. Cases of sleaze and worse (Romanian UN police killed two demonstrators in Pristina in February 2007 and were whisked out of the country rather than being prosecuted) did little to reconcile Kosovo’s overwhelmingly Albanian population to being governed by foreigners.Feith has now walked straight intothe tight spot in which the EU found itself following Kosovo’s 17 February declaration of independence – the Kosovars’ exasperated reaction to lengthy and unsuccessful negotiations with the Serbian government. The new country is inevitably going to remain a ward of the international community for years to come and, given its location, the ‘international community’ in questionis, of course, the EU. On the recommendation of Javier Solana, the EU’s foreign-policy chief, Feith has now been sent to Pristina to sort out the situation, leaving his wife and three daughters back home.Sorting out this situation bristles with problems. On top of the unhappy heritage of violence, ethnic distrust and unwelcome international supervision, acute questions remain over the status of Kosovo and consequently over the new supervisory mission itself. Even among the EU’s 27 member states, only 18 have so far recognised Europe’s youngest country and there is no immediate prospect of EU unanimity on the question. “Soon we will have the EU insignia all over the place,” Feith says briskly, acknowledging that the respective roles of the various EU agencies active in Kosovo are not always clear to the people who live there. An official says that Feith is “very good at making the transition from a political decision to an operational reality, to implementation”.But what if the political decision itself is muddled? Feith is what policymakers call “double-hatted” – as head of the ICO, he is accountable to an international supervisory board which includes non-EU countries. The ICO itself includes senior staff from third countries, notably the US. But, as EU special representative (EUSR), Feith reports to Solana and has to convey and defend the views of all 27 member states. “It is not possible to be clear in which capacity Pieter speaks,” a diplomat says, while another confirms that the ICO has “difficulties with the other hat since it’s linked to recognition”. The international community’s top man in Pristina cannot very well preface each sentence with a clarification as to whose views exactly he is now communicating. And Feith himself admits that the environment he is working in is “much more controversial than we had hoped”.But a challenging working environment is no deterrent to Feith. Those who know him say he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve in this job, just as in previous postings. “You are not going to hire Pieter if you want a representational diplomat,” a Brussels insider says. Indeed, his CV reads like a catalogue of hardship postings: Bosnia, Darfur, Aceh, Iraq and perhaps the toughest of them all – Brussels. People hire him if they need someone who can get results under taxing conditions.As the personal envoy of George Robertson, the then NATO secretary-general, Feith was instrumental in defusing a potentially deadly conflict in ethnic-Albanian areas of Serbia, just outside Kosovo, in 2001. For weeks, he and his small team shuttled back and forth in the Preševo valley between armed insurgents and Serbs until they reached an agreement under which the guerrillas put down their weapons in return for an amnesty. He then helped start up negotiations between ethnic-Albanian insurgents and the government in neighbouring Macedonia, at a time when a bloody civil war appeared a real possibility. In 2005, he helped implement a peace plan which put an end to separatist violence in Aceh, Indonesia. In all this, his role was that of a facilitator rather than that of an involved party, which is very much how he sees his tenure in Kosovo. “He does not want the ICO to become a one-stop shop for all of Kosovo’s problems,” a diplomat says.The office is keeping a fairly low profile: its staff drive round in blue VW Golfs rather than the 4x4s typical of the UN. The ICO has sweeping powers to intervene in the country’s domestic politics, to ensure implementation of the plan for supervised independence drawn up by UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari. But Feith has made it clear that he will only use these powers as a last resort. “Everyone knows what’s in Ahtisaari,” a diplomat said. “But Pieter wanted to set the tone as one of co-operation.” Part of that approach is his stated desire to travel widely outside Pristina and its bubble of international civil servants and workers at non-governmental organisations. Former colleagues say he is a good listener who is prepared to take advice. Building up a complex organisation from scratch in a less-than-serene environment will demand maximum use of this character trait. “I am happy to live here,” Feith says, “Kosovo is an interesting place.”last_img read more

Jerry Garcia Band Releases “Waiting For A Miracle” Ft. Clarence Clemons From 1989 [Listen]

first_imgThe latest archival release from Jerry Garcia Band features The E Street Band saxophonist Clarence Clemons on “Waiting for a Miracle”.The live cut comes from JGB’s September 16th, 1989 show at Poplar Creek Music Theatre in Hoffman Estates, Illinois. That entire show is due for release as GarciaLive Volume 13 on Friday, April 24th via Round Records.Related: Bob Weir, Jerry Garcia Give Famous “Frog In A Glass Of Milk” Interview On ‘Letterman’, On This Day In 1982 [Watch]This Bruce Cockburn cover came in the middle of the band’s second set after Clemons had already sat in on a number of songs including “They Love Each Other”, “Let’s Spend The Night Together”, “Cat’s Under The Stars”, and several more that evening. As the band wraps up the second verse, Clemons comes roaring in to take the solo, rather than Garcia himself. Jerry gracefully steps aside and allows The Big Man to take center stage, serving as a testament to Clemons’ ability and Garcia’s reverence for his skill. Even during the verses, when Clemons’ sax is much more subdued, he meshes perfectly with the smooth soul sounds of JGB, and it sounds so natural that you’d think he’d been there for years.Listen to Clarence Clemons sit in with Jerry Garcia Band for a rendition of “Waiting for a Miracle”.Jerry Garcia Band, Clarence Clemons – “Waiting for a Miracle” – 9/16/1989[Video: Jerry Garcia]During Jerry Garcia Band’s September 1989 run through the midwest, Clarence Clemons sat in for an unprecedented five nights in a row. This September 16th show is the culmination of that run and comes from a time when Bruce Springsteen was pursuing solo work, leaving Clemons open for various sit-ins with JGB as well as the Grateful Dead. GarciaLive Volume 13, featuring the entire September 16th, 1989 performance from Poplar Creek Music Theatre, is available everywhere on Friday, April 24th. A two-CD set is also available for pre-order through Garcia Family Provisions.last_img read more

Cards fall in SLC opening round match

first_img The Cardinals end the season with a 9-12 (.429) overall record, but struggled down the stretch dropping five consecutive matches. LU returns the heart of its roster for next season with no seniors on the 2016 roster. Next UpThe Islanders (21-0) picked up wins at Nos. 1 and 3 doubles to score the first point of the match. A&M-Corpus Christi pushed its advantage to 2-0 when Kerry Galhos recorded a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Stephanie Marchena at No. 6 singles.A&M-Corpus Christi took a 3-0 lead after picking up another win at No. 2 singles. Junior Katya Lapayeva dropped the first set, 6-1, but rallied back to make it a close battle in the second. Lapayeva hung tough but fell short dropping the match in straight sets, 6-1, 6-4, to A&M-Corpus Christi’s Jelena Dzinic.The Islanders locked up the victory and advanced to conference semifinals with a straight sets victory on court four. A&M-Corpus Christi’s Celia Rodriguez defeated Talisa Merchiers, 6-4, 6-1, for the overall win. Lamar sports informationNACOGDOCHES – The Lamar women’s tennis team watched its season come to an end in the opening round of the Southland Conference Championship tournament Friday afternoon at the Schlief Tennis Complex.The eighth-seeded Cardinals (9-12) couldn’t find an answer for the regular-season champion Texas A&M-Corpus Christi Islanders, falling 4-0.last_img read more

Quins, Nakuru in pool of death for Kabeberi

first_img0Shares0000Kenya Harlequins in action against Mwamba RFC during the Driftwood Sevens in Mombasa on September 2, 2017. PHOTO/Timothy OlobuluNAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 5- Driftwood Sevens silver medalists Nakuru RFC are placed in a tough pool for the second stop of this season’s National Sevens Circuit, Kabeberi Sevens, which will be held this weekend at the RFUEA Ground on Ngong’ Road.Wanyore, top seeds for Group B by virtue of reaching the final will square out with last year’s second overall best Kenya Harlequins who will be playing on their home ground as well as 15s powerhouse KCB and Kisii who finished 14th in Mombasa. Top seeds Homeboyz who have already amassed 22 points after winning in Mombasa over the weekend will headline Pool A where they will battle tournament hosts Mwamba RFC who will be celebrating their 40th anniversary.They will also square out with invited side Daystar Falcons as well as Nondies.Driftwood surprise package Menengai Oilers will headline Pool C where they have been grouped with reigning Kabeberi champions Impala RFC Kenyatta University’s Blakblad who were 11th in Mombasa as well as Catholic Monks.University of Nairobi’s Mean machine headline Pool D and will vie for a Main Cup quarters slot with Driftwood plate winners Kabras Sugar, Strathmore Leos and the promoted Makueni RFC.Kabeberi Sevens PoolsPool A: Homeboyz, Nondescripts, Mwamba, Daystar FalconsPool B: Nakuru, Kenya Harlequins, KCB, KisiiPool C: Menengai Oilers, Impala Saracens, BlakBlad, Catholic MonksPool D: Mean Machine, Kabras Sugar, Strathmore Leos, Makueni0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today)last_img read more