UN Security Council recommended 24 October that talks to determine Kosovo’s final status should begin “soon”, echoing conclusion of report submitted to SG Annan by Special Envoy Kai Eide 7 October. Report found high-levels of inter-ethnic and organised crime, unemployment and corruption in province. Former Finnish President (and Crisis Group Chairman) Ahtisaari likely to be UN envoy for status process. Kosovo Albanian negotiating team stalled by impasse over Assembly draft independence resolution proposed by opposition PDK party as precondition of participation; coordinator warned of “complete breakdown” in negotiation preparations after second meeting failed. Kosovo Serbs unclear over role in negotiations while Belgrade uncertain who will lead negotiating team. EU foreign policy chief Solana suggested possible EU police role. Hague tribunal relaxed conditions of former PM Haradinaj’s provisional release allowing for limited political activity. UNMIK confirmed new armed group, Kosovo Independence Army, present in west. Bombs planted under 2 UN cars early October. Police arrested dozens of young Albanian activists who sprayed graffiti on 20 UN cars in Pristina 19 October. Police (KPS) car carrying Serb border officers attacked near Strpce, 26 October.
“Kosovo moves toward a messy independence” , International Herald Tribune, 28 Oct. 2005.
Comment by John Norris (Crisis Group), “Kosovo: Get it right, now”, Le Monde Diplomatique, 12 Oct. 2005.
For background, see Crisis Group Europe Report N°165, Bridging Kosovo’s Mitrovica Divide, 13 Sept. 2005.