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Military

Analysis: UN Probes Kosovo Independence

Council on Foreign Relations

February 1, 2007
Prepared by: Robert McMahon

UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which has governed the lives of Kosovo’s two million residents for nearly eight years, says residents of the Serbian province shall have “substantial autonomy and self-government” pending a final political settlement. It was a nimble way of ending a war and preserving big power harmony but it has also left the province in an international limbo that all sides agree is not healthy. Serbs want the territory, with ties dating back many centuries, returned. Ethnic Albanians, in de facto control of the province, insist on immediate independence. UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari proposes something in between (NYT)—a path to full independence for Kosovo with the ethnic-Albanian dominated government remaining under international supervision for an interim period.

Ahtisaari on Friday goes to Belgrade and the provincial capital of Pristina for his first direct airing of the proposals to the parties most affected. He’s likely to face tough talks in both cities. Serbia just completed an election in which ultranationalists won the highest percentage of votes, and even the more moderate parties that will end up running the country have opposed Kosovo’s independence. Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica’s governing party this week threatened to sever diplomatic ties (AP) with states that recognized a future independent Kosovo. In Pristina, the province’s leaders are expected to grudgingly accept the Ahtisaari plan but are wary of his expected call for an international pro consul, a post that has generated controversy, as well as some progress, in nearby Bosnia.


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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.



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