July 2008 Monthly Forecast

Posted 27 June 2008
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Expected Council Action
The Council is expected to discuss a further UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) report in July. At the time of writing, it was expected on 30 June. Some members are hoping for details of operational aspects of the Secretary-General’s reconfiguration of UNMIK, but this appears unlikely given the short time period between this new report and his 12 June report.

An UNMIK report on the 17 March incident in northern Mitrovica, where the UN police retook the UN courthouse from Serbian protestors, may also be discussed in July.

Key Recent Developments
The Secretary-General’s report outlining his plans to reconfigure UNMIK was circulated to Council members on 12 June. It covered the situation on the ground in Kosovo and the impact of the new constitution in Kosovo for UNMIK’s transitional role as the interim administrative authority. The Secretary-General emphasised that the UN remains status-neutral following Kosovo’s 17 February unilateral declaration of independence. Nevertheless, the entry into force of the constitution created a new reality. He therefore concluded that UNMIK must adapt its role in Kosovo. He noted the agreement between Kosovo and the EU for an “enhanced operational role” for the EU in the field of rule of law but suggested that under resolution 1244 this should be under a UN “umbrella” headed by the Secretary-General’s special representative for Kosovo. (Under this bilateral EU/Kosovo agreement, the EU will perform various operational roles in areas dealing with rule of law, but according to the Secretary-General it should all come under the framework of resolution 1244 which remains the legal framework for the UN’s mandate until the Council decides otherwise.) The EU responsibilities cover international policing, justice and customs. The UN role will include monitoring and reporting, facilitating arrangements for Kosovo’s engagement in international agreements, and facilitating dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade on issues of practical concern. (Please see our Update Report of 13 June for more information.)

The Council held an open debate on 20 June to discuss the 12 June report. The Secretary-General acknowledged the delicate and divisive nature of this issue. While it may not meet the aspirations of any of the key stake-holders, he said, he felt that his proposal represented “the least objectionable” way forward and that the package was a “practical and workable” solution.

Both Serbian President Boris Tadic and Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu addressed the Council during the open debate. The Serbian representative attended under rule 37 of the Provisional Rules of Procedure of the Security Council (this provides for a member to participate in discussions where its interests are affected) and the Kosovo representative under rule 39 (this allows the Council to invite someone to provide it with information). Over the months, there has been greater Council acceptance procedurally of direct Kosovo participation. In June there was no opposition to a Kosovo representative participating in an open meeting, unlike in December 2007. At that time the US and Europeans had wanted the Kosovo representative to be able speak in an open debate but Russia was opposed. As a result, there were three closed meetings with both parties participating between December 2007 and April 2008.

Tadic opposed the Secretary-General’s proposed reconfiguration of UNMIK, claiming that as long as 1244 is in force, Kosovo is part of Serbia. He called for new negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo. By contrast, Sejdiu supported the Secretary-General’s proposal and said that over the years UNMIK had progressively adapted itself as needed to changing circumstances. Thirteen Council members spoke, 11 endorsed the Secretary-General’s reconfiguration and two (Russia and Vietnam) opposed. South Africa and Libya did not deliver statements.

On 16 June, in a written reply to a letter from the Secretary-General, Sejdiu said that Kosovo took note that UNMIK would perform residual functions as well as rule of law functions for a limited period until the EU is able to operate. He said that Kosovo will “work closely” with the Secretary-General as he moves forward. Tadic, in his reply to a similar letter from the Secretary-General, apparently said that reconfiguration of the international presence should be decided by the Council.

Kosovo’s constitution, adopted in the context of the unilateral declaration of status as an independent state, came into force on 15 June. Serbs in the north responded by deciding to convene a separate parliament in northern Mitrovica on 28 June to represent citizens that consider Serbia their state. The 43 states that have recognized Kosovo’s independence offered congratulations. Russia called Kosovo’s new constitution a breach of international law.

Under the new constitution, Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu signed a decree on 18 June for the establishment of nine diplomatic missions: in Albania, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Britain and the United States.

On 20 June, Lamberto Zannier of Italy became the new Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Kosovo. According to the Secretary-General’s reconfiguration plan the special representative will be tasked to negotiate practical arrangements in police, justice, customs, transportation and infrastructure areas.

The most likely option is for the Council to discuss the Secretary-General’s expected report but not take any action.

One option is for the Council to specifically decide whether the Secretary-General has the right to reconfigure UNMIK as proposed under resolution 1244. But this is unlikely given the differing views on this point within the Council.

Another option is to urge Kosovo and Serbia to resume negotiations. However, Kosovo has made it clear that it would not go along with this.

A possible option is to decide on a schedule for future regular reports from the Secretary-General on Kosovo. (The reporting cycle of the UNMIK report is not specified by a Council decision but they have tended to come out about every three months.)

Key Issues
The key issue for the Council is how to handle the divisions over the Secretary-General’s reconfiguration plan.

A related issue will be how to react if Russia insists that the changes to UNMIK are sufficiently substantial to constitute a contradiction to resolution 1244 and proposes a Council decision to block the Secretary-General from reconfiguring UNMIK and bringing the EU rule of operation under UNMIK.

There are several continuing key security issues:

  • How will the Serbian population in Kosovo react to the EU operating in Serb dominated areas, even under a UN umbrella?
  • Is a soft partition being entrenched as a result of the strengthening of parallel institutions in the Serb-dominated areas?
  • Will there be unrest if the pace of recognition of Kosovo’s independence does not pick up and the EU’s mission continues to be delayed?
  • How will the future role of NATO forces in Kosovo under resolution 1244 be affected?

Council Dynamics
The Council is clearly divided over the UNMIK reconfiguration. The majority accept that the Secretary-General has the right to make operational changes and support his proposed changes to the international presence in Kosovo. While some, like the US and UK, would have preferred a more definitive statement leading to UNMIK’s eventual extinction, there seems to be an understanding of the Secretary-General’s need to strike a delicate balance.

It appears that Russia and Vietnam are the only two members that find unacceptable the Secretary-General’s attempts to reorganise the international presence in Kosovo. Russia seems likely to continue to insist that if the Secretary-General does not secure Council approval for his plan, it would be a violation of both resolution 1244 and the UN Charter.

While continuing to advocate adherence to the UN Charter and respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, China appears to have tacitly accepted the Secretary-General’s proposal to reconfigure UNMIK as compatible with resolution 1244 as well as the EU’s enhanced contribution.

UN Documents

Security Council Resolution

  • S/RES/1244 (10 June 1999) authorised NATO to secure and enforce the withdrawal of Yugoslav (FRY) forces from Kosovo and established UNMIK.

Selected Presidential Statements

  • S/PRST/2005/51 (24 October 2005) declared it was time to begin the political process to determine the future status of Kosovo.

Selected Letters

  • S/2008/362 (3 June 2008) was the letter on the operations of KFOR from 1 – 31 March 2008.
  • S/2008/331 (16 May 2008) was the letter on the operations of KFOR from 1 – 29 February 2008.
  • A/62/700-S/2008/108 (17 February 2008) was the letter from Serbia on its position on Kosovo’s declaration of independence.
  • A/62/700-S/2008/108 (17 February 2008) was the letter from Russia transmitting its Foreign Ministry’s statement on Kosovo following the declaration of independence and calling for an immediate emergency meeting of the Council.
  • S/2008/104 (17 February 2008) was the letter from Russia supporting Serbia’s request for a meeting.
  • S/2007/168 and add. 1 (26 March 2007) was the letter transmitting UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari’s report on Kosovo’s future status and the Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement.

Selected Reports

  • S/2008/354 (12 June 2008) was the Secretary-General’s report on how he plans to reconfigure UNMIK.
  • S/2008/211 (28 March 2008) was the last report of the Secretary-General on UNMIK.
  • S/2007/723 (10 December 2007) was the report of the Troika.


  • S/PV.5871 (18 February 2008) was the open meeting following Kosovo’s independence declaration.
  • Statement issued on 17 February 2008 by the UK, France, Croatia, Belgium, Italy, Germany and the US.
  • Statement issued on 20 July 2007 by Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, UK and the US, co-sponsors of the draft resolution on Kosovo presented to the Council on 17 July.
  • Draft resolution on Kosovo (formally circulated on 17 July 2007 but withdrawn on 20 July 2007).

Other Relevant Facts

Special Representative of the Secretary-General

Lamberto Zannier


  • Size of UNMIK mission: 1426 police, 37 military observers as of May 2008
  • Size of OSCE mission: 999 staff (283 international and 716 local as (2007)
  • Size of EU mission: 99 international staff, 334 local staff (31 October 2007)


$210.6 million for fiscal year 2007-2008 (not including OSCE, EU and NATO expenditures)


General Xavier de Marnhac (France)

Size and Composition of Mission

  • ·Size: 15,900 troops
  • NATO countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, UK and the US
  • Non-NATO countries: Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Morocco, Sweden, Switzerland and Ukraine

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