Speculation mounts over Ahtisaari's recommendations for Kosovo status

09/01/2007

UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's office says his proposal for Kosovo's future will be ready by January 21st, the date of elections in Serbia.

By Blerta Foniqi-Kabashi for Southeast European Times in Pristina – 09/01/07

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Many in Pristina and Belgrade are eager to know what UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari's recommendations for Kosovo will be. [Getty Images]

A spokesman for Martti Ahtisaari confirmed last week that the UN envoy's much-awaited plan for the future status of Kosovo would be presented after the January 21st parliamentary elections in Serbia.

"It's in the final stages," Remi Dourlot said on Thursday (January 4th). "[The plan] has still to be finalised, but it will be ready for the 21st and will be presented any time after then." Ahtisaari is expected to brief members of the International Contact Group before unveiling his plan to Belgrade and Pristina.

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku said he is confident that Ahtisaari will summarise his final recommendations for the province and will present them to the UN Security Council at the end of February or beginning of March. Meanwhile, speculation continues about what exactly Ahtisaari will recommend.

The editors of the Austrian newspaper Die Presse, Wieland Schneider and Norbert Rief, wrote in Thursday's edition that they expect Ahtisaari will propose some kind of "supervised independence" for Kosovo.

"We are confident that Ahtisaari's package will not surprise us," UNMIK deputy chief Steven Schook said after a meeting last week with Ceku. "However, after the presentation, we will analyse the package and then Kosovo's negotiating team will present its view about it."

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Serbia, which opposes independence for Kosovo and argues instead for "substantial autonomy", has already warned it will oppose any proposal that does not guarantee the inviolability of its borders. If Ahtisaari "makes an agreement for independence with the Albanian separatists, the Serbian government will reject it as invalid", Local Government Minister Zoran Locar said.

At the weekend, Serbian President Boris Tadic urged Ahtisaari to delay presenting his blueprint until a new government is formed in Belgrade. He said an unfavourable proposal could jeopardise Serbian coalition negotiations.

Russia's Ambassador to the UN Security Council, Vitaly Churkin, said at a press conference last week that Kosovo will not be on the Security Council's agenda this month. "We Russians believe that an opportunity must be given to the sides to continue the dialogue," Churkin said. "It would be extremely dangerous to go into imposition mode."

However, he appeared to confirm that Ahtisaari's blueprint would be on the table soon. "There is an idea that Ahtisaari will present his proposal for Kosovo immediately after the elections in Serbia," he said.

This content was commissioned for SETimes.com.
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