UN considers Kosovo situation

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon will receive a report on the current situation in Kosovo by the end of this week, according to Belgian diplomat Wim Peeters, who's based in Pristina.

It comes after a UN Security Council mission visited the region last week as part of a brawl in deciding the future status of Serbia's breakaway republic. Designed to give the Council members a first hand understanding of the political, social and economic situation inside Kosovo, it is still unclear how the fact finding trip will ultimately effect future deliberations.

In the first meeting of the Security Council for the month of May, members were briefed on the findings of the mission by its head Johan Verbeke.

“The mission lived up, I think, to its expectations. It indeed did provide its participants with an opportunity to get first hand information on the situation on Kosovo. As a result the concrete reality of the Kosovo issue has become clearer – more than before – instead of being rather an abstract problem,” he claimed.

Still, Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin does not believe the international community is anywhere near the implementation of a new resolution.

“The big question of Kosovo is what kind of resolution this is going to be. In our view if there is to be a resolution, it should be a resolution reiterating the goals of Resolution 1244, the need to accomplish the objectives which were set by Resolution 1244, and also encouraging the sides to continue their negotiations in order to come to some sort of a compromise,” the Russian diplomat said.

Russia's position is that a plan to resolve the status must satisfy both Kosovars and Belgrade, and that Security Council Resolution 1244 must be fully implemented first. Adopted in 1999, the resolution was created to resolve the grave humanitarian situation in Kosovo and to provide for the safe and free return of all refugees and displaced persons to their homes. According to Ambassador Churkin, the mission showed how this requirement is still far from being fulfilled.

Still, it is unclear if all Security Council members will use the fact finding mission as a foundation for a new resolution.

“I would hope that that would be the case, but one has to be realistic. Some countries – at least in the Security Council – operate within a certain straightjacket of their political positions, so for some countries, I think, it wouldn’t be realistic to expect that even the strong impressions of the mission of the Security Council will change their mind. In some other cases it well may be the case,” Mr Churkin says.

Washington and Brussels are convinced the plan worked out by UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari, which calls for a phased process of independence monitored by the international community, is a good basis for a new resolution. There is speculation that US and European members will be eager to proceed with the adoption of the proposals recommended by Mr Ahtisaari. However it is unlikely that events will unfold quickly as Russia continues to signal its desire for a more deliberate process that is equitable to both sides.