In what was described as a tense debate, the UN Security Council has listened to the views of delegations from Pristina and Belgrade over the future status of Kosovo. But afterwards, the United States and the European Union said the pair were irreconcilable – and the possibility for further negotiations has now been exhausted.
With help from the EU, Pristina is preparing to declare independence, setting up a showdown with Serbia and its ally, Russia. And, while the politicians negotiate, Kosovar Albanians like Rexhep are becoming increasingly frustrated.
“I did not expect any decision from the UN because of Russia. We need help from the EU and US. We are waiting for the EU countries to decide what to do next, but in terms of help from the UN it was hopeless,” he said.
Serbia and Russia say any declaration of independence would flout international law and claim there is “ample” room for further talks.
As tensions continue in the province, NATO forces have increased their presence in a bid to reassure the ethnic Serb minority.
“I don’t think I will stay here after independence,” says Milorad, a Serb farmer. “I’m totally surrounded by Albanians here, its like being in a cage. There are Albanians living on all sides.”
Western diplomats expect Kosovo to declare independence early next year and say the EU is likely to take up the issue after elections in Serbia in February.