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Research Report

Negotiating the final status of Kosovo

Marc Weller
Copyright Date: Dec. 1, 2008
Pages: 100
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. 4-4)
    Álvaro de Vasconcelos

    This Chaillot Paper by Marc Weller deals with a very important question for the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union: the long and extraordinary political process that led to Kosovo’s declaration of independence. I am convinced that Mark Weller’s cogently argued paper is a significant contribution to the ongoing debate within the European Union on the recognition of independence, at a moment when all Member States have agreed to deploy the largest EU civilian mission so far, EULEX, in Kosovo. This Chaillot Paper also looks to the future and emphasises the importance of the protection of...

  2. (pp. 5-10)

    When two express trains race towards one another on a single-track line, there is not much room for compromise. Either one side gives up and selects reverse gear in a hurry, or there is an almighty crash. This is how self-determination conflicts outside of the colonial context have traditionally been resolved. The secessionist entity either renounces its claim to independence, or a violent conflict ensues. The conflict will continue, often for decades, until those invoking the right to self-determination have been crushed or have given up.

    In the past, it has nearly always been the central state that has emerged...

  3. (pp. 11-16)

    Kosovo is a territory inhabited by some two million people. 90 percent of the population are ethnic Albanian, some 7 percent are ethnic Serbs and the remainder include Roma, Ashkali, Egyptian, Bosniak, Turk, Gorani and other minorities. While Serbia stakes a claim to it as the cradle of its own history, ethnic Albanians have been struggling to assert their identity in the territory for some decades. The autonomy of the territory was strengthened significantly in the 1974 SFRY constitution. However, after the death of Tito, Serbia under Slobodan Milosevic started to exert increasing influence throughout the Federation as a whole....

  4. (pp. 17-22)

    With Kosovo under international administration, a general sense prevailed among international actors that the status issue would be best left untouched for as long as possible. Time might heal the wounds of history and memories of the 1999 conflict. As has already been noted, during that conflict, the Belgrade authorities had caused the forcible displacement or expulsion from Kosovo of over half of its ethnic Albanian population.27 Among the thousands of Kosovars murdered during the campaign of ethnic cleansing was one of Pristina’s lead negotiators at Rambouillet, the moderate and gentlemanly Professor Fehmi Agani. When the Serb forces finally withdrew,...

  5. (pp. 23-46)

    The structure for the negotiations on Kosovo’s final status was complex. As noted previously, the framework for the negotiations had been established by the UN Security Council, on the basis of the recommendations of Ambassador Eide and the UN Secretary-General. This framework was rooted in a general sense in Security Council Resolution 1244 (1999).

    That resolution had reaffirmed the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the FRY and the other states of the region. Acting under Chapter VII of the UN Charter, the Security Council had authorised the establishment of an international civil and...

  6. (pp. 47-56)

    The Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement consists of a short framework agreement and 12 annexes. The agreement offers elements for a future constitution of Kosovo, detailed guidance on minority rights and community issues, decentralisation and other issues, and provides for an international civil and military presence after the transition.

    The document is silent about the status of Kosovo. While it was transmitted to the Security Council along with a separate recommendation in favour of supervised independence, neither the framework text nor the annexes address this issue. But in contrast to Resolution 1244 (1999), there was no longer any...

  7. (pp. 57-68)

    Several attempts were made to overcome the deadlock triggered by the mixed reception that greeted the Ahtisaari document in New York. First, the UN Security Council decided, on the initiative of Russia, to dispatch its own mission to Kosovo late in April 2007 in order to allow Council members to obtain first-hand information on progress made in Kosovo on the implementation of agreed standards and other matters.83 During the visit to the region, Belgrade argued again that the Comprehensive Proposal amounted to an endorsement of independence – a result that could not be accepted. Instead of supervised independence, as proposed...

  8. (pp. 69-78)

    Consultations in the UN Security Council continued from December onwards.109 On 16 January, President Tadic of Serbia addressed the Security Council. He claimed that Belgrade had negotiated constructively over a period for two years. ‘Substantial autonomy has figured in various models as a functioning, sustainable and successful solution. It has been proved that such solutions are in accordance with international law and that they are the only way to arrive at a compromise in conflicts similar to the Kosovo conflict.’110 Unilateral recognition of Kosovo’s independence, he argued, would create a precedent causing unforeseeable consequences for other regions. Instead, he urged...

  9. (pp. 79-94)

    The history of international discussions and action on Kosovo, including the deliberations on its final status, is an extraordinary one. Over a period of some 20 years, it involves nearly the entire arsenal of international diplomatic tools, ranging from good offices to direct negotiations and mediation, including shuttle diplomacy and proximity talks, to major international conference diplomacy and Security Council action. It even includes action that seemed to have been eliminated from the repertoire of the international diplomatic dictionary since the advent of the UN Charter in 1945, such as ultimata involving threats of the use of military force and...