Thursday, March 31, 2005

Work done on clarifying roles before start of debate on Kosovo status - KOHA DITORE

Koha Ditore carries a report on possible developments before the addressing of Kosovo’s status. According to the paper, there is still a possibility that Jessen-Petersen leaves Kosovo and Kai Eide is appointed special envoy for the assessment of standards implementation and that a high-profile politician like Marti Ahtisaari or Karl Bildt could be appointed special envoy for the issue of status. ‘The international community is now working on clarifying the roles before the start of the debate on Kosovo’s status,’ the paper added.

Koha Ditore notes that even though UNMIK in Kosovo tries to leave the impression that Jessen-Petersen doesn’t plan to leave Kosovo, the fact that he has accepted the nomination by his government for the post of UNHCR chief shows that he will leave Kosovo if he is appointed to this post. If Jessen-Petersen didn’t want to leave Kosovo he would have refused the nomination in the first place.

At the same time, diplomats that claim that the SRSG is doing an excellent job in Kosovo also say that the process of appointing a new UNHCR chief can last at least until mid summer and that after an eventual appointment the new commissioner would start work in autumn. Under such circumstances, it could happen that Jessen-Petersen would leave Kosovo in autumn.

Norwegian Ambassador to NATO, Kai Eide has refuted information that he is interested to replace Jessen-Petersen at the helm of UNMIK, but officials in Brussels claim he is a serious candidate for another important post in Kosovo.

The same diplomats said that sometime around the end of May, the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is expected to appoint a special envoy for the comprehensive review of standards implementation and Eide is still the main candidate for this post.

Koha Ditore also notes that in case of a positive review of standards implementation, the UN will also appoint a special envoy to prepare negotiations on Kosovo’s status. Unnamed diplomatic sources in Brussels told the paper that this should be a high-profile diplomat, a former prime minister. Former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari and former Swedish Prime Minister Karl Bildt are among the names mentioned for this post.

Although US officials have said nothing about this matter so far, diplomatic circles in Brussels told the paper that Washington could be expected to appoint its special envoy for the status of Kosovo. This was even recently reported by The Washington Post.

According to EU and NATO diplomats, Washington would appoint a special envoy for the phase of negotiations to prove to Prishtina and Belgrade that the issue of Kosovo’s status is a high priority. ‘If a US special envoy is appointed for Kosovo, he could act as deputy to the UN special envoy on the issue of status,’ said diplomats in Brussels.

‘No one can predict what will happen after the start of the debate on Kosovo’s status. Although the whole process will be formally led by the United Nations, it will be coordinated through the Contact Group. As far as the final status is concerned, there is a growing agreement that for the time being conditional independence seems like the most realistic solution,’ the paper concluded.

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