Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Kosovo's status resolution begins this October and ends in late spring 2006 (Zëri)

Citing Western diplomatic sources in Pristina, Zëri reports on the front page that the international community will make five steps from the end of May until late spring 2006 in the agenda of resolving the status of Kosovo.

The first step, the paper notes, will be made on 27 May at the meeting of the UN Security Council in New York where the member states should come out with support to the quarterly report on standard assessment drafted jointly by the international administration in Kosovo and local provisional institutions. According to Zëri, there are good chances of the report getting a positive mark thus opening the way for the second step.

The second step will involve the expected assessment of priority standards. Possible problems encountered on this issue are expected to be addressed and resolved in the upcoming meeting of Contact Group in London. The paper writes that Russia will initiate some topics at the meeting as it has certain remarks to the UNMIK report. The second step also includes appointment of a special envoy for the comprehensive assessment of standards, a decision that rests with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. The envoy will most likely be Norwegian Ambassador to NATO Kai Eide. He would start the work on the report in June and end it in mid or end of July. If positive, then the status of Kosovo can proceed to be addressed. If, however, the findings of the report are negative, the whole process may be postponed for at least another six months.

Assuming Eide’s report will be positive, the third step again goes back to UN SG Annan who should decide to appoint his candidate for the post of special envoy but this time it will be for Kosovo’s final status. The decision is expected to be reached during intensive consultations with members of the Contact Group. Criteria likely to be followed upon selection is that the envoy should not be from any of the CG countries and in this case, the special envoy will have three deputies representing USA, EU and Russia, Zëri writes. The plan could of course be altered if the post of the special envoy on status goes to an official from CG states.

The fourth step is expected to be made in late September when the regular annual meeting of the UN Assembly will be held. The session would result in an official appointment of the special envoy and his team.

Zëri says that the fifth step will be the concluding phase of resolving Kosovo’s final status that is expected to commence in October this year. First, the special envoy would propose an option for resolving status of Kosovo, which according to the paper could be independence, but it would be a surprise if this proposal finds approval from Belgrade. If, by March-April of 2006, there is no noticeable progress on status, envoy would put on the table an option which would require confirmation reached in an international gathering.

In conclusion, the paper writes that the status of Kosovo will be known by September of next year and its enforcement could start early 2007.

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