Kosovo Stalemate At United Nations – Serbs And Albanians Deadlocked at Security Council Meeting

Kosovo Stalemate At United Nations – Serbs And Albanians Deadlocked at Security Council Meeting

Ban Ki-moon with President Bush

(Best Syndication) Talks between representatives of Kosovo and Serbia reached a stalemate at the United Nations on Wednesday. It is unlikely that the status of Kosovo will be resolved by the UN. Kosovo, a province of Serbia, has been under UN governance since 1999, and there has been a long standing territorial dispute between Serbia and the Albanian population of Kosovo.

In closed meetings, the UN Security Council held a private “debate” over the future status of Kosovo, a province where ethnic Albanians outnumber Serbs and other minorities by nine to one. While the Albanians support independence, Serbia and the Serbian minority do not.

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The Albanians are primarily Sunni Muslims. Much of Serbia is Catholic, Protestant or Orthodox Christian. The Russians support the Serbs while the United States and European Union favor an independent Kosovo.

A report earlier this month highlighted the problem. “Neither party was willing to cede its position on the fundamental question of sovereignty,” the report held.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, declared talks on the future status of the province deadlocked back in March. He had hoped to forge a constitution ensuring the rights of “all communities” granting specific representation for non-Albanians in key public institutions.

So how bad is it now? According to Warren Hoge of the New York Times, the solution will have to come from “outside the United Nations.” British ambassador, John Sawers, emerged from the meeting saying there was an enormous gulf between the two sides.

The American Ambassador, Zalmay Khalilzad, wasn’t any more optimistic saying there was “irreconcilable differences”. “The continuation of the status-quo poses not only a threat to peace and stability in Kosovo but also to the region and in Europe,” Mr. Khalilzad said.

Khalilzad believes it is time to grant Kosovo the independence it has sought. It is expected that both Russia and Serbia will reject such a proposal. Hoge says “The dispute has pitted the principles of sovereignty and self-determination against each other and produced a stand-off between Serbia, backed vigorously by Russia, and Kosovo, supported by the United States and the European Union.”

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By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication News Writer

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