Kosovo: the Ahtisaari plan

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Kosovo: the Ahtisaari plan

Kosovo: the Ahtisaari plan
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The Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo’s future foresees a multi-ethnic, democratic Kosovo respectful of the rule of law and with its own Constitution.

The plan, however, does not address the key question of sovereignty: there is no mention of Serbia, in contrast to a UN resolution governing Kosovo since the 1998-99 war.

And there is no mention of the word

Kosovo will, though, have the right to sign international agreements and become a member of such organisations as the UN, the World Bank and the IMF.

Kosovo will also have symbols of nationhood: a flag, an anthem, two official languages – Albanian and Serbian – and control of its borders.

The Ahtisaari plan, in terms of security, proposes a professional force – multi-ethnic and democratic – with unified police units and a small army of 2,500 soldiers and 800 reservists.

A key element is the protection of the rights of non-Albanian minorities. There will be quotas guaranteeing representation in all institutions.

Decentralisation will give Kosovan Serbs a high degree of autonomy. Municipalities, including those with Serb majorities, will be able to cooperate with Serbia and receive aid from Belgrade. The plan also recognises the right of return of all Serbs – whether refugees or internally-displaced.

There’s also a provision for the protection of Serbian religious and cultural heritage with the creation of more than 40 protection zones around scores of Serbian Orthodox religious sites.

The Orthodox Church will have special tax breaks.

The plan says that there is still a need for an international presence. An International Civilian Representative, mandated by the UN and the EU, will have supreme authority: with the right to veto legislation and to annul appointments.

This ICR will be supported by an EU-led police mission maintaining law and order alongside 16,500 NATO peacekeeping troops.

A transition period will last 120 days after the adoption of a new UN resolution.

The big unknown is whether the Ahtisaari plan will be enough to get Serbs and ethnic Albanians to move towards any kind of agreement.