International

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EU Assists Kosovo on Road to Independence

December 16, 2007 01:51 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Kosovo wants political autonomy despite Serbian and Russian objections; a UN deadline to resolve the issue passes without conclusion, and the European Union takes steps to deter the resurgence of old conflicts.

30-Second Summary

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During a one-day summit on Dec. 14, leaders from the European Union agreed to offer Serbia a fast track to EU membership as an incentive to allow Kosovo to break from its control.

However, the membership deal is conditional on Belgrade handing over individuals wanted for war crimes who are still at large.

Earlier, Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica rejected the same deal when it was suggested by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"I am sure that every Serbian prime minister would reply in the same way to an offer that Serbia give up any part of its territory in exchange for some concession," responded Kostunica.

In a Wall Street Journal article on Nov. 15, 2007, Kosovan Prime Minister Agim Ceku explained why he feels his nation’s status must be resolved by territorial separation: “After the suffering of all of the people of Kosovo in the 1990s, we can never have any kind of confederation with Serbia. But we can have collaboration … Kosovo alone will declare its independence.”

Serbia may ask the UN Security Council for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice to block Kosovo’s bid for independence.

Serbia considers Kosovo a province. But the state has been under UN control since 1999, when NATO intervened to prevent further Serbian ethnic-cleansing of Kosovar Albanians. At least 90 percent of the Kosovar-Albanian population was displaced during the war.

Russia has voiced its objection to Kosovo breaking from Serbia, arguing that such a split would encourage separatists elsewhere in countries formally incorporated in the USSR.

Headline Links: United Nations deadline passes; EU fast-track deal for Serbia

Background: Obstacles to independence

Historical Context: War

Related Links: UN recommends independence; UN Security Resolution 1244

Opinions & Analysis: Assessing Serbian and Kosovan claims

Reference Material: The International Court of Justice

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