Expected Council Action
At the end of May, the Council will receive the periodic report from the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK). In June the Council will likely focus on the process of standards implementation, and perhaps discuss the ongoing decreases in the size of the mission and the future of the UN’s involvement in Kosovo. No formal Council action is expected.
In theory the Council has the option to formally comment on and seek to steer the process of standards implementation, and signal to the parties and the Secretariat some long-range thinking on the future of UNMIK. However, the differing positions in the Council on each of these issues seem likely to cancel out the possibility of a collective position on either issue.
The desire to keep separate the discussion of the report on UNMIK from the briefing on the political status talks, which is expected in July from the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Status Talks, Martti Ahtisaari, make it unlikely that the status issue will be discussed in June. But the status issue will figure prominently in some minds, especially given strong views held in the past on the related nature of the standards and status processes. (The outcome of the recent referendum in Montenegro may contribute to anxieties on that front.)
All members appear to agree on the need for the strong implementation of the standards. However, some European countries are concerned that the standards process is being rushed, with the risk that changes implemented in Kosovo will not be as durable in the long term. While the Council is divided on the desirable outcome of the political status talks, this division is unlikely to surface much during the discussion of the UNMIK report. Nevertheless, these differences will have an impact on discussions about the UN’s future role in Kosovo. Several Council members are concerned that premature action on this issue could predetermine a conclusion of the status talks themselves.
Established by resolution 1244 in June 1999, UNMIK was tasked with re-establishing and running a complete transitional civil administration in Kosovo. While UNMIK still has a staff of significant sized, its role has shifted from an administrative function to a largely advisory one.
For a full background, please see our February 2006 Monthly Forecast and Update Report.
The issue which will receive the most attention from the Security Council is how well the standards, first outlined in the “Standards Implementation Plan” in 2004, are being implemented, particularly as they relate to minorities and human rights issues. The last report in January (S/2006/45) indicated that the implementation of the standards was falling behind, which was of great concern to the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Søren Jessen-Petersen. However, by the time of his presentation to the Council on 14 February (S/PV. 5373), some improvements had been made. Despite sporadic low-level violence targeting minority populations, it appears that over the past months the pace of progress on the standards has picked up.
While the progress towards achievements of standards is closely linked to the future political status of Kosovo, this second issue is unlikely to get a great deal of attention in the Council discussion in June. The status talks are not under the close oversight of the Security Council, or indeed the Secretariat. Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari has an independent role. He is planning to brief the Council at the beginning of July.
The political landscape in Kosovo has been unsettled over the last three months. The death in January, on the eve of the start of the status talks, of Kosovo President Ibrahim Rugova, a political moderate known for his ability to achieve consensus, elicited concern regarding the success of the talks. He was succeeded by Fatmir Sejdiu. In March, Prime Minister Bajram Kosumi resigned and was replaced by Agim Ceku, former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). These changes also diverted attention away from the progress on the standards.
Progress on certain standards, particularly concerning minorities, remains difficult to achieve. Minorities continue to be targets of violence within Kosovo, and remain in isolated enclaves.
|Security Council Resolution|
|Selected Presidential Statements|
|Selected Secretary-General’s Reports / Letters|
|Special Representative of the Secretary-General|
|Søren Jessen-Petersen (Denmark)|
|As of April 2006: $ 252.55 million (not including OSCE, EU and NATO expenditures)|
|KFOR (NATO FORCE)|
|Lieutenant General Giuseppe Valotto (Italy)|
|Size and Composition of Mission|
|UNMIK Civilian Police|