December Launch for EU’s Kosovo Mission

Brussels – Talks between the UN officials in Kosovo and Serbia on the deployment of the EU’s new law-and-order mission to Kosovo, EULEX, is progress but the mission’s future can’t rest on them, the bloc’s foreign policy chief says.

“There are three or four fields of cooperation that should move in parallel mode,” Solana said but he vowed the mission’s deployment will begin in December regardless of the achievements in cooperation with Belgrade.

He was joined by NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer who also praised the talks.
“This is as relevant for NATO as it is for the European Union,” Scheffer said.

In June this year, the United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon instructed UN Mission in Kosovo chief Lamberto Zannier to start complicated talks with Belgrade on “several issues of mutual interest”, including Serbs involvement in Kosovo’s judiciary, police, customs, transportation and infrastructure, boundaries and Serbian patrimony.

Serbs argue that both EULEX and the United Nations mission’s ‘reconfiguration’ (the term used to describe the UN’s preparations to leave Kosovo and make way for EULEX) contravenes international law since under the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, passed in 1999 at the end of the conflict between Serb forces and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority, only the UN can administer Kosovo on Serbia’s behalf.

The UN has administered Kosovo since 1999.

NATO is presently the only international organisation that is present throughout the whole territory of Kosovo, including the Serb-dominated areas of northern Kosovo, where Serbs are defying Kosovo’s February 17 declaration of independence from Serbia.

The NATO chief on Monday promised that KFOR troops would continue to act according to the mandate based on Resolution 1244, and there will be no overlap in responsibilities with EULEX.

The 27 EU nations decided in February to deploy the mission to help chaperone Kosovo to independence, but it has been plagued by delays.

The mission has also been troubled by differences within the EU as not all member nations – Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece and Cyprus – have endorsed Kosovo’s decision to break away.

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