Saturday, May 31, 2008

Kosovo - Not Yet a Done Deal

News that the EU has delayed its planned police mission to Kosovo suggests that rocky times lie ahead for Europe's newest country.

Once the mandate for the UN mission in Kosoko (UNMIK) ended in mid-June, the EU was due to take responsibility for providing a police service to help stabilise the republic during its transition to independence.

Having threatened to use its veto in the UN to stop the EU initiative, Russia has effectively blocked the establishment of the EU police force in Kosovo. The result will be months of uncertainty, during which Serbia, from whom Kosovo succeeded in February of this year, will continue to attempt to derail the emergence of a fully-fledged Kosovon state. Russia backs Serbia in its rejection of Kosovon independence.

Meanwhile, Serbia continues to try and consolidate its position over districts in northern Kosovo (which boarder Serbia and have Serb majorities.) Leposavic, Zvecan and Zubin Potok have had little input from UNMIK and, in the absence of a Kosovon or European police force, are vulnerable to Serbian annexation, a move which the US says they "absolutely oppose."

The Kosovon government, meanwhile, has come under criticism for its failure to secure sufficient recognition by other nations to be granted a place at the UN general Assembly. 97 is the number of endorsements required. So far, less than 50 countries have formerly recognised the Republic of Kosovo. Recent countries to do so include Sierra Leone and Liberia.

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