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UN Unable to Reach Consensus on Kosovo

December 20, 2007 02:18 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The UN Security Council failed to settle the issue of Kosovo’s independence; Moscow supports Serbia's objections in a debate that is testing relations between Europe and an ascendant Russia.

30-Second Summary

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The United Nations Security Council announced on Dec. 19 that its one-day meeting failed to produce a consensus on the status of Kosovo, which is determined to break away from Serbia.

In a written statement, the Security Council declared that the European Union will now work to settle the dispute.

The negotiations were held in private, but Russia, which sits on the council, has long been vocal in its opposition to independence and in its support of the Serbian line.  

A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation on Kosovo Settlement reads, “The authority of the UN is at stake. Kosovo settlement cannot occur outside the Security Council, the UN’s main body responsible for international peace and security.”

The latest development places the responsibility for resolving the issue outside the United Nations and therefore beyond the reach of the Russian veto.

In Europe, there are fears that the expected unilateral declaration of independence will reignite old conflicts between Kosovo and Serbia.

On Tuesday, Dec. 18, thousands of Serbs in Kosovo protested the European Union’s offer to send an 1,800-strong peacekeeping force to protect government infrastructure should Kosovo announce its independence.

Serbia may ask the UN Security Council for an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice to block any move toward separation.

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

Headline Links: UN steps aside for EU to settle Kosovo

Background: Obstacles to independence

Reactions: Russia's position and Serbian protests

Historical Context: Balkan wars

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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