United Nations special envoy, Martti Ahtisaari has the future of Kosovo in his hands. Later today he will present his long awaited proposals which, it has been reported, will set the Serbian province on the road to statehood. But there is no mention of “independence”.
Talks to determine Kosovo’s status have been going on for years but with no agreement. Serbia says it will not hear of an independent Kosovo while Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians want nothing less. Today’s plans are expected to amount to a first step towards a separation.
On the eve of the announcement it was an anxious Kosovan prime minister who urged people to stay calm. He said that he believed there would be some compromises but that he thought things would turn out well. Security has been stepped up – the province has been under international protection since Nato forces expelled Serbian troops back in 1999.
If reports are accurate and the plans do suggest a conditional, internationally supervised autonomy for the disputed province, nationalist Serbs say they will reject Ahtisaari’s conclusions.
Meanwhile Serbia’s President, Boris Tadic has intensified talks with political leaders following last month’s elections. Although the ultra nationalists made a strong showing, it is the reformist parties which are more likely to agree to form a coalition government.