Kosovo’s Independence ‘Justified’ Say Allies

Pristina – The International Steering Group on Kosovo’s final status says Pristina’s independence is justified given the recognitions of its statehood by 52 countries, including neighbouring states.

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni and Minister for Economics and Finance, Ahmet Shala were given a warm welcome by the International Steering Group in Brussels on Friday.

A report drawn up by the International Steering Group said Kosovo’s current recognitions were significant enough to justify its independence.

“With more than fifty recognitions – including by four former Yugoslav republics, by a significant majority of European countries and by countries from all continents – Kosovo has made much progress in consolidating its statehood,” the report read.

At the special session in Brussels both ministers delievered a speech in which Foreign Minister Hyseni spoke in defence of Kosovo’s independence.

“Kosovo is independent, sovereign and integral. This process is irreversible,” insisted Hyseni.

An important point of his speech was the request and the need for the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, to continue wrapping up its mission in a process called ‘reconfiguration’ and make way for the incoming European Union law-and-order mission, EULEX.

According to Hyseni, this was not happening fast enough and he voiced Pristina’s ongoing opposition to the UN’s six-point plan on the deployment of EULEX, which the Foreign Minister declared as irrational and problematic.

“The protection of the Republic of Kosovo’s unity and territorial integrity is irreplaceable,” asking members of the International Steering Group to respect this.

Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February, objects to the six-point plan being based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244. This resolution, passed at the end of the 1998-1999 conflict between Serb forces and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority, refers to Kosovo as Serbia’s southern province, not as an independent state.

Serbia insists that the EU cannot deploy a new civilian mission in Kosovo to replace the UN administration unless the mission is neutral in status and does not put into action the plan of former UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari – which envisages internationally-supervised independence for Kosovo.

Belgrade also insists that the mission must be confirmed by the UN Security Council, in which it has a strong ally with veto power, Russia.

The proposal envisages the gradual replacement of the administrative UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, which has been in the province since 1999, with an EU civilian mission of police and court officials.

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