Friday, February 15, 2008

An Independent Kosovo?

Source: Dissent clouds Kosovo’s birth

On Friday, the parliament of Kosovo laid the necessary groundwork for declaring independence, despite uncertainty that the United Nations mission, in place since 1999, will withdraw. The UN interim mission, which has ruled Kosovo since 1999, was scheduled to end in lieu of the western-backed status plan that calls for a 120- day UN handover and the opening of an international supervisory office led by the European Union. However, this transition is uncertain, with Russia continuing to uphold Serbia’s sovereignty over the primarily Albanian province.

As a result of the UN Security Council’s failure to agree on a new resolution, Resolution 1244 remains in place. Resolution 1244, adopted in 1999, provides a legal basis for an EU-led supervisory council even if the UN mission continues to exist. Russia, however, continues to insist that this is not the case. Vuk Jeremic, Serbia’s foreign minister, urged the UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon to declare that Kosovo’s expected declaration of independence is worthless. Accoring to Vuk Jeremic “[Serbia] shall never recognize Kosovo’s independence. Now now. Not in a year. Not in a decade. Never. For Kosovo and Metohija shall remain a part of Serbia forever.”
At this point, it isn’t quite clear how any party will proceed. The EU distanced itself, while a spokeswoman for the UN secretary general said that “in terms of the UN’s operation in Kosovo, the secretary-general is monitoring the operation very, very closely.” Kosovo president, Fatmir Sejdiu echoed a similar state of limbo, stating that ‘we shall see what Ban Ki-moon will do.” The parliament of Kosovo adopted the Ahtisaari principles on Friday, which ensure that an independent Kosovo can protect human rights as mandated by the EU. However, Kosovo officials refused to confirm when the public declaration of independent might come forward, stating that a few “editorial issues” needed to be dealt with and that coordination with Kosovo’s prime minister, the US and “key EU countries” continues.

Questions for Discussion
1. Should the EU play a more aggressive role in Kosovo's quest for independence?

No comments: