The UN governor of Kosovo, Soren Jessen-Petersen, has reportedly drawn up a positive report on the region. He says the Albanian leadership in Serbia’s southern province has “revitalised efforts to improve the lives of Serbs and other ethnic minorities and create a functioning democracy”.
The UN has been running Kosovo since 1999, and observers say this positive assessment gives a boost to the Albanian majority’s bid for independence from Serbia this year. Direct talks between Serbia and the Kosovo Albanians began in February in Vienna, led by UN chief mediator Martti Ahtisaari. He is hoping that issues such as minority rights and decentralisation can be wrapped up by July, before talks on actual final status begin. Meanwhile, officials are still investigating whether ethnic tensions were behind the shooting of two Serbs during a service station robbery in the divided town of Kosovska Mitrovisa yesterday.