The Security Council today held a private debate over the future status of Kosovo, a Serbian province where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by nine to one.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the debate, as did Vojislav Kostunica, Serbia’s Prime Minister, and Fatmir Sejdiu, the President of Kosovo, which has been run by the UN since Western forces drove out Yugoslav forces amid inter-ethnic fighting in 1999.
Earlier this month, a report submitted to the Council by the troika – comprising the European Union, Russia and the United States – noted that despite four months of intense and high-level negotiations, Belgrade and Pristina have been unable to reach agreement on Kosovo’s final status. The province’s Albanian leadership supports independence but Serbia is opposed.
“Neither party was willing to cede its position on the fundamental question of sovereignty,” the report said.
The troika was established after a stalemate emerged over a proposal by Mr. Ban’s Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, for a phased process of independence for Kosovo.
Mr. Ahtisaari declared talks on the future status of the province deadlocked in mid-March, a little more than a month after unveiling his proposals, which aimed to address the demands of a multi-ethnic society.
His plan called for a constitution enshrining principles to protect the rights of all communities, including culture, language, education and symbols, as well as granting specific representation for non-Albanians in key public institutions and requiring that certain laws may only be enacted if a majority of the Kosovo non-Albanian legislative members agree.