International

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Serbia Unbending as Kosovo Prepares for Independence

February 16, 2008 12:58 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Kosovo is expected to declare its independence on Sunday or Monday, a move likely to face Serbian and Russian resistance.

30-Second Summary

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In a last-ditch attempt to prevent Kosovo’s secession, Russia and Serbia called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council, at which they asked the international body to oppose Kosovo’s bid for independence.

Russian President Vladimir Putin went so far as to tell reporters Thursday that Russia would retaliate if Kosovo were to split from Serbia. However, he did not specify what action Moscow would take.

If Kosovo secedes, it will be the newest successor state to what was once Yugoslavia. In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic stripped Kosovo of its sovereignty, sparking a crisis that stretched across the rest of the former Yugoslavia and ended in its collapse. 

Despite Kosovo’s resolve, and the West’s support, Serbia will continue to resist Kosovo’s sovereignty. This could result in violent clashes between Serbs and Albanians, says Richard C. Holbrooke, former U.S. ambassador to the UN and negotiator of the Dayton Accords, which ended the Bosnian War.

But even if the worst is avoided, an independent Kosovo will face many challenges. The EU’s planned takeover of the UN peacekeeping mission, the status of the Serbian minority and rampant poverty are among the more pressing issues faced by the province.

Headline Links: Kosovo to secede over the weekend

Reactions: Serbia, Russia and Greece speak out

Background: Divisions over Kosovo’s independence

Against
In favor

Historical Context: The 1990s Balkan Wars

Related Topics: Kosovo’s future challenges and the trial of Slobodan Milosevic

Minorities
A look beyond independence

Opinion & Analysis: Assessing Serbian and Kosovan claims

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