Friday, December 02, 2005

EU afraid to replace UN in Kosovo

(Brussels, DTT-NET.COM)-EU nations are afraid and feel that the 25 nation bloc is unprepared to replace UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and have opted only for increased limited role in the province at future international civil presence, ones the talks on the status are concluded, sources said.

“EU doesn’t have experience in such missions” European sources told DTT-NET.COM, referring to the increased demands of Kosovo Albanians that EU takes over completely the UN mission in Kosovo, after the talks on the status are ended.

Ethnic Albanians representing some 90 percent of 2 million inhabitants are increasing their calls that UN mission which is composed from officials of more than 50 countries around the world ends its mission in the province and want EU to replace it.

But EU at the time being is rejecting such a possibility arguing that it has never done before such huge and wide mission. Officials say that certainly EU would not enter such an adventure in Kosovo, which is identified as the most problematic issue in the door-step of the EU territory.

Sources said that the second reason why EU is not ready (or not willing) to replace UN is that it still needs a strong political role and presence of US in Kosovo and the Balkan region.

US presence in Kosovo at the same time is assured via the presence of NATO, where Washington plays an important role with some 6000 soldiers in the theatre.

“We still need a strong American political and military presence in Kosovo” EU officials said.

Kosovo is legally part of Serbia-Montenegro union, but Ethnic Albanians are insisting on final split from Serbia and want Kosovo to become independent state, a demand which Belgrade authorities reject and want the province to remain inside the Serbia-Montenegro union.

The UN Security Council (UNSC) endorsed the start of talks on the future status of the province where ethnic Albanians represent 90 percent of some 2 million inhabitants and which is ruled by UNMIK since NATO drove out Yugoslav forces in 1999 ending the repression against Ethnic Albanians by Serbian regime then-led by Slobodan Milosevic.

Direct UN led talks between Kosovo and Serbia’s authorities could be launched earlier next year, in an attempt to reach a very difficult compromise.

Both sides have said they will not withdraw from their polarised positions on the future of Kosovo.

Since the war ended in 1999 EU has been the major international financial donor for Kosovo reconstruction. EU is one of the key players inside the UNMIK, with its officials being the principal advisors on the economy field and law and order.

Sources said that EU will not change drastically the current situation of its role in Kosovo and have opted only to increase its current contribution.

There is already agreement between EU and US that UN mission should end and there should be a new overhaul of international presence in Kosovo, once a new status solution is found in Kosovo be it final status or another upgraded status-quo.

Brussels and Washington have agreed that the new international civil presence should be similar to the current in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which has an High Representative who is chosen by EU but also must be agreed by other international actors.

EU top officials have already begun dropping the first lines on how such mission should look like in Kosovo, which primarily aims to increase informally and not formally the role of the bloc in the province.

According the proposals of EU’s chief of diplomacy Javier Solana and European Commissioner Olli Rehn, European nations should increase their advisors in Kosovo and help local authorities in economic field, judiciary, law and order, institution building.

In the near future EU is expected to have also a civilian security role in Kosovo.

But the first new formal role in Kosovo by the European bloc is expected to be the EU police mission, on which the nations have already agreed in principle, in what would be the EU’s third such mission in the Balkan region after similar operations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia.

EU police mission would help local police on improving law and order and also help build proper police structures accordint the European standards.

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