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Kosovo Stand-off

  • December 19th, 2007
  • Posted by 7thmin

kosovonet.jpgFresh calls have been made for independence for Kosovo, the former Yugoslav province caught in a contest of wills between authorities in Serbia, and Western interests, predominantly the European Union.

ELECTIONS AND NEGOTIATIONS – STILL NO OUTCOMES

Elections in Kosovo (17.11.07) did little to settle the question of the province’s independence, with the Serbian government demanding an international court ruling on the constitutional status of Kosovo.

The vote saw a consolidation of local power in the hands of the area’s majority Albanian population, with ethnic Serbs mostly boycotting it.

European Union Foreign Ministers meeting on 14.12.07 offered to speed up work on Serbia’s application to join the EU, and send a peace-keeping mission to an independent Kosovo.

That was rejected by the Serbian government which has been getting support from Russia, and has resisted concerted pressure from the European neighbours to make a change; ever since intervention by NATO in 1999 and establishment of a Kosovo government under United Nations supervision.

The latest round of international talks failed to find a solution by the agreed deadline 10.12.07.

CRISIS GROUP SAYS INDEPENDENCE BEST OUTCOME

In Brussels, the International Crisis Group has declared that Kosovo should be allowed conditional independence as a separate country in the first half of next year.

A report by the organisation, which generates research-based proposals for ending conflicts, said (6.12.07) the “Quint” group of five countries engaged with Kosovo – France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and USA – should disregard Serbian and Russian opposition and organise a peaceful transition.

The Crisis Group President, Gareth Evans, said Serbia was giving a wrong interpretation to a UN Security Council Resolution, which it said guaranteed its formal sovereignity over Kosovo.

“It provides rather for a ‘political process’ to ‘determine Koso’s future status’; and the political process that will in fact unfold is recognition of Kosovo’s sovereignity by a large number of states”, he said.

The Crisis Group document says instability will be avoided in the Balkans region by Kosovo’s transition to the status of an independent country, under close supervision of the international community, especially on Serbian minority rights, in line with a plan already devised by the United Nations.

Reference:

International Crisis Group, “Kosovo Countdown: A Blueprint for Transition, Europe Report N°188”; Brussels, 6.12.07. http://www.crisisgroup.org/home/index.cfm?id=5201&l=1, (19.12.07)

Picture: Kosovo during troubles, www.kosovo.net

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