UN neutral over Kosovo – Ban Ki-moon

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says the organisation is neutral on the status of Kosovo. At the same time, he has pledged the continuing support of UNMIK to the democratic institutions of Kosovo and its efforts to advance economic growth. The statement

It says the UN mission had to adjust to a “profoundly new reality” in Kosovo, in which the ability of UNMIK to operate as before and perform its functions has been 'fundamentally challenged,  owing to actions taken by both the authorities in Pristina and the Kosovo Serbs“.

Thus, the actions of Kosovo authorities ‘have sought to effectively assume the Mission’s powers’ and there have been instances of them openly challenging the powers of UNMIK.

Also, the Constitution of Kosovo, adopted on June 15, does not imply the real role for the Mission.

Kosovo Serbs, for their part, have boycotted Kosovo’s institutions, establishing parallel structures with the support of Belgrade.

Therefore, Mr Ban suggests the restructuring of the Mission, as outlined in the plan he presented to the Security Council last month – which will allow the European Union to “take on increasing role in the rule of law sector, operating under resolution 1244 (1999) and under a ”United Nations umbrella”.

Russia sees the attempts to reconfigure the model international presence in Kosovo as “striving to legalise the structure that would handle the implementation of so-called Ahtisaari plan and in essence would help the legalisation of the illegally proclaimed state”, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday.

Russia has previously been critical of Ban Ki-moon’s position on the breakaway republic.

Moscow accused him of overstepping his powers by allowing some UN operations in Kosovo to be handed over to a European force without the consent of the Security Council.

Kosovo unanimously declared independence from Serbia on February 17 this year. The move was supported by most western powers but was opposed by Russia.