EULEX, UN and mess-up in Kosovo

Last Spring EU was building enthusiastically its Rule of Law Mission EULEX for Kosovo.  However even today EULEX has not started work, its wish is to do so before end of the year 2008.  Some hundreds EULEX mission members are already in Kosovo wondering what to do and where.

Kosovo had made unilateral declaring of  independence, EULEX should replace UNMIK in four months and International Community Office (ICO) should supervise Kosovo’s independence with Nato-lead KFOR troops backing.  Everything was unclear even in paper and in reality the mess has been even bigger. (Earlier 28ht Oct. I wrote an article about chaos between four international administrators plus local stakeholders, check my Blog:archive)

Positions today

The basic position of today’s situation is that to be a credible operation in Kosovo according great ideals imaged earlier in Brussels EULEX should be deployed throughout province.  Belgrad however does not recognise EULEX. They are dealing only with UN/UNMIK, which implements UNSC resolution 1244, where is stated Kosovo province to be part of
Serbia and temporary under international administration – not a word there about some independence.  Serbs have even collected a petition against EULEX with about 20.000 names on it.

An idea to deploy EULEX only south of Ibar river while UN would still administer North Kosovo and Serb enclaves (Ghettos) in Albanian dominated southern part was not acceptable to international community so situation remains unclear.

UN seeking compromise 

UN – which according original plan supposed to hand over its operation to EULEX during past Summer – has negotiated intensively a solution with Belgrade for this problem, which should clear situation in Security Council meeting hopefully on November or December.    

The main components of possible solution are

  • that EULEX operates formally under UN umbrella and is approved in UNSC,
  • EULEX is status neutral, and
  • EULEX does not have mandate for implementation of sc. Ahtisaari’s plan.

In addition there is ongoing technical negotiations between UN and Belgrade and Pristina authorities over six issues – police, customs, judicial system, traffic-infrastructure, borderline and Serbian cultural heritage.

The bottom line

EU is so impatient to finally launch its operation and replace UN mission that maybe solution according components mentioned above can be reached.  There is however doubts that this solution confirms de facto partition of Kosovo.  From my point of view this is not big thread if it is first solution in last ten years which local stakeholders  – Belgrade and Pristina – could together accept.

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