A week ago I wrote here an article “UN deciding over plan for Kosovo – which plan to select?”. On the table was a 6-point plan negotiated between UN and Serbia, and a 4-point plan, a declaration by Kosovo’s separatist government. Now we know the answer – 6-point plan was selected unanimously in UNSC. Next question would be the consequences of decision.
The UN Security Council on Wednesday 26th Nov. 2008 in New York unanimously adopted the UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s report on the reorganization of the civil mission in Kosovo. Ban’s spokesman Brenden Varma told B92 earlier today that the secretary-general’s report welcomes the positive outcome of the talks on the six points of the UNMIK reorganization and Belgrade’s decision to accept the agreement.
Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić welcomed Ban’s Kosovo report, saying
“The explicit language of the report confirms the status neutrality of EULEX’s engagement, which is a guarantee that no part of its mandate can be devoted to the implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan for Kosovo’s independence-rejected by the Republic of Serbia, and ‘never endorsed by the Security Council,’ in the words of the report that is before us today.” (Source B92)
“EULEX will fully respect Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999) and operate under the overall authority and within the status-neutral framework of the United Nations,” Ban Ki-moon said in the report to the UN Security Council. By working within the framework of the resolution, the mission in Kosovo will not imply any recognition of the territory’s independence. (AFP)
Analysts in Priština have noted, that accepting the 6-point-plan for would mean that the Kosovo officials would formally lose their sovereignty over North Kosovo, though this sovereignty does not exist essentially. One could think that latest UNSC decision does not change anything. My opinion is that some change will come and that decision opens also new possibilities for future status arrangements. The follow-up could include following aspects:
- The immediate impact will be that finally EULEX rule of law mission can be deployed throughout Kosovo. This means that some 2.000 experts is coming to secure his sector in Kosovo and hopefully also to make develop local capacities.
- International administration today in protectorate is a big mess – International Community Office, Eulex, EU Kosovo delegation and Kfor are twisting arms who is doing what and where, in addition there is a group of other powerful actors such as OSCE and liaison offices of foreign countries. The decision streamlines international administration and chain of command at least partially.
- The local administration will coordinate with internationals in Albanian majority regions and with Serbia in Serb dominated regions. However if the local stakeholders want administer more themselves without international supervision now they have possibility to negotiate future status between Pristina and Belgrade and without artificial time limits.
- If Pristina and Belgrade want Kosovo to be more than UN protectorate forever they can now adopt some of countless amount of different territorial autonomy models, develop a totally new one between themselves or agree some partition of Kosovo. One could predict that what ever compromise or outcome will mutually be agreed it will also be accepted in UN and other international bodies.
From frozen conflict to frozen independence
UN decision clarifies situation which escalated by Kosovo’s Unilateral Declaration of Independence. This came in right moment before Kosovo would developed to next “failed or captured state”. Probably also local population in Kosovo has noticed during short independence experiment that for state more is needed than only flag and anthem. Now – when e.g. EU still is pumping money to province – is time to build own administrative capacity, hopefully democratic practices and sustainable economy. As UN protectorate – even formally still as one province of Serbia – and by backing of EU funds the population in Kosovo has leverage peacefully, without time limits and predicted outcome to develop its autonomy and next future status.