Saturday, March 24, 2007

Independence for Kosovo?

The UN special envoy who has been supervising the negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia for the last year made a splash this week by calling for independence for Kosovo. With this endorsement, Martti Ahtisaari has adopted Kosovo’s position virtually wholesale, indicating that he holds out no hope for a negotiated compromise. Now, more than seven years after the Security Council put off the question of Kosovo’s political status by authorizing UN administration of the province, this hot potato is back in its hands. It is scheduled to discuss the issue on Monday. Will the Security Council adopt Ahtisaari’s proposal, and if so, will Serbia accept this result? Russia has already criticized Ahtisaari’s conclusions, but has not gone so far as to say it would veto a resolution adopting his proposal. With its aspirations to EU membership and greater social and economic ties to other European states, Serbia certainly has greater incentives to comply with an adverse Security Council resolution than would Kosovo with a resolution authorizing the reinstitution of Serbian authority. Stay tuned…

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