On the face of it, it is “mission impossible.” However if anyone can break the deadlock, it is United Nations special envoy and veteran mediator Martti Ahtisaari who is charged with securing a deal on the province’s future. His mission has taken him to Belgrade where his hosts’ message remains unchanged.
He has been told that independence for Kosovo – which is still legally part of Serbia and Montenegro – is a non-starter. Ahtisaari’s meetings with Serbian leaders follow talks in the province itself. There, however, the opposing view was presented to the former Finnish president turned problem-solver. Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians are insisting on independence. The province has been run by the UN since Serb forces were driven out by NATO in 1999.