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INFO   :::  Region > Kosovo - PAGE 5 > Report for Prishtina, without Prishtina


Report for Prishtina, without Prishtina

If it's not too late, Prishtina should now assume its role by trying to position itself clearly, especially in relation with those who have supported its independence

Ylber Hysa


The long-awaited report of the UN Secretary General, Ban ki-Moon, which will be made public today, will apparently mark a new chapter in Kosovo's direction following independence, by giving it many attributes during this transitional period with cohabitation, which in the very least, can be called complex and sui generis, in as much as it is used as a reason to bring the newest state in Europe to life.

What came out initially as a proposal in June this year, as means of bringing about a series of efforts delegated from New York, which were more extensively discussed with Belgrade than Prishtina (the latter being partly, but not exclusively, with it's blame), and involving the EU - or said more correctly, parts of Brussels - the report in the end arrived as the embedded and official 6 points.

The report focuses and elaborates the more special aspects including access as well as implementation, by identifying various actors and their roles, extending the longevity and importance of UNMIK, which is far from the reconfiguration process foreseen anyway. Furthermore, it can now go from being the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, to the Mission for Serbs in Kosovo.

If you go through the various points in the report, one by one, in the first reading, you can see that various special aspects, such as customs and the police, are elaborated in detail. The Police or references to the "Serb Policemen in the Kosovo Police Service" have more than grammatical significance, as they bring this category to a legal level, although presented as a temporary solution with a chain of command from UNMIK and with few references to the direct involvement of the Kosovo Ministry of Internal Affairs. The opening of new stations and sub-stations, as well as the appointment of a senior Serb official of the Kosovo Police, who will serve as a liaison and representative within the KPS, who is accountable directly to the UNMIK Police Authority, represents the materialization of the activities foreseen in this field. Paragraph 33 is unclear because on the one hand it implies the existence of the UNMIK Police Commissioner for the appointment of the police officer from the Kosovo Serbs and, on the other hand, implies that this police officer should report to the senior international officer in Kosovo, through the existing chain of command. It is not clear how the existing chain of command will be maintained in practice. This will depend on and will be worked out in detail in the future. Paragraph 34 says that all police activity in Kosovo will be monitored internationally and that the highest authority to which reporting on such monitoring will take place is the SRSG. This strengthens the role of UNMIK and the SRSG, but is also subject to a practical arrangement (agreement) between UNMIK and EULEX, to be made in the future.

Customs, which in the selection of its modalities referred to the best and most advanced European practices - is dealt by recognizing Kosovo as one unique customs area, which might not be as pleasing to all Serbs, but cannot satisfy Kosovars either, especially in its efforts to ensure the division of income generated through customs into a source, which as a fiscal devolution creates a special fund to be used especially for the Serbs. Above all, in this agreement, the UN recognizes Belgrade as a partner.

Other items have been elaborated in principle, but do not provide details. What is more, they intend to be built on based a future, possible dialogue, or based on a unilateral course of action. This much can be seen as regards transport and heritage, which leave the open possibility for both sides to engage in a dialogue, without specifying what and how it might be, to return the archeological treasures and to achieve the rights required by the Orthodox Church.

What is also interesting is the part that refers to EULEX, and in which the UN preserve the right to maintain a supreme legal and political umbrella (oversight), which EULEX would have to report to periodically.

This especially applies to Annex Two, which we will go back to again.

To make it even more cynical, New York explains that the report was made from the negotiations in Belgrade and in Prishtina, not between them, and that Belgrade agreed to its contents, while Prishtina rejected it, making it clear that it would cooperate with the EU and NATO through EULEX. The ICO, which Prishtina accepts (recognizes) is not mentioned here.

Item 53, appears to address the issue in passing, leaving a mere small and possible way out for Prishtina by stating that it is a temporary mission. But, Prishtina's position can not associate with any more from the report. Following the pressure of certain western pro-Kosovar states, its' position is addressed at greater length in the form of the 4 points (items) contained in Annex One, which is placed more as an archiving document, than a binding document of the UN. Furthermore, it is presented there as a "bundle", without any other comment.

To make the irony even greater, Annex Two brings a report on the developments as regards various problems, including returns and up to the Government's performance vis-a-vis various segments of governance and democratization. Annex Two was built on the basis of a concept in Steiner's time of "Standards Before Status", which gives UNMIK supreme rights in monitoring the work of Kosovar institutions and judgment of the results achieved, thus allowing New York the possibility of permanent evaluation. This is a very cynical point and is a contradiction to the UN position of being status neutral. It cannot be a status-neutral mission, if it gives itself the par excellence right to monitor the performance of Kosovar institutions, which it did not recognize. Furthermore, this is in contradiction with the role and purpose of EULEX, whose exclusive right to do such monitoring was also recognized by the Kosovar party, the EU and the UN itself! By taking such a position, EULEX turns into an instrument of the UN.

Based on paragraph 50, not only will EULEX be under the authority of the United Nations, but it will also report to it regularly. It is worth mentioning that the language used here makes reference to the UN and UNMIK. As to how this would function in practice, depends from future talks.

The most cynical part of the whole process remains reference to the SRSG, Zannier, whom Ban Ki Moon mentions often when speaking of dialogue. Zannier has said, on more than one occasion, and publicly, that his role is to facilitate and that his organization does not negotiate. How come it now turns out that Zannier has negotiated the whole time, with Belgrade, on behalf of Ban Ki Moon? This is a contradiction that Prishtina cannot ignore, although it was clearly not included in negotiations, most probably as a result of being advised to steer clear by some ally. Prishtina will now have to deal with the six points, which went from being a proposal that was obviously more positive when compared to what it contains now, into being an official report and document of the Security Council on Prishtina, without Prishtina!

All these paragraphs show that the report has many areas to be determined in the future. This means that we will not be in a position of a fait accompli again in the future if we are careful enough and deal with "small issues".

There is much that can be analyzed in greater detail and depth, but the thing that stands out during a first reading is undoubtedly linked to the implementation of the document. The complexity of the actors involved in this strange form of cohabitation cannot ignore Prishtina under any circumstance. If it was not considered to a certain point, there is no way in which it should not be considered from now on. If it is not already too late, Prishtina should now assume a role by trying to position itself clearly, especially vis-a-vis the Quint and ISG and the Supervisory Board for the Ahtisaari Plan. Prishtina should create, if possible with supporting countries, its own interpretation of the document and its role. Otherwise, it will only be a crisis consumer?

(The author, a member of the Negotiating Team during the Vienna process, is an independent political analyst)



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