At three-way talks in Vienna, Kosovo floats towards a deadline. The mediators are trying to coax the parties to an agreement. Negotiator Skender Hyseni summed up the Kosovo Albanians’ wishes: “We want to be independent, with a seat at the UN.” Serbia’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic gave his position: “We are seeking to maintain sovereignty and the territorial integrity of our country.”
EU, American and Russian diplomats have until December the tenth to bridge the chasm between Serbia’s offer of broad autonomy and Kosovo’s insistence on statehood. Serb negotiators said the province’s Albanian majority should run its internal affairs, but Belgrade should control its foreign policy and borders.
Kosovo has been run by the United Nations since 1999, after NATO bombed it for 11 weeks to stop Serb forces killing and expelling Albanian civilians in an attempt to crush a guerrilla insurgency. Serbs there shared in the upheaval.
A UN Security Council resolution giving Kosovo effective statehood has no chance unless
Serbia and veto-holder Russia drop their opposition.
Washington supports an independent Kosovo but the EU is split on how to act. The UN envoy’s proposal for independence under EU-supervision remains adrift.