Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today welcomed an agreement to have a troika comprised of the European Union, Russian Federation and United States lead further negotiations on the future status of Kosovo, the Serbian province administered by the United Nations since 1999.
“I hope that the new period of engagement will lead to agreement on Kosovo’s future status, which remains a priority for the United Nations,” Mr. Ban said in a statement released today.
Stating that the status quo is “not sustainable,” he urged the international community to find a solution that is “timely, addresses the key concerns of all communities living in Kosovo and provides clarity for Kosovo’s status.”
The agreement was arrived at by members of the Contact Group – the US, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, and the Russian Federation – which will report back to Mr. Ban by 10 December on the progress of negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade.
It follows a deadlock in the Security Council over a proposal by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari for a phased process of independence for the province, where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and others by nine to one.
Kosovo’s Albanian leadership support independence but Serbia is opposed.
Mr. Ban pledged that the world body will continue to “play a constructive role in the new period of engagement,” with the Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo (UNOSEK) standing by to provide information and clarification on request, as well as continue its major role on the ground.