The future of Serbia’s breakaway province Kosovo has beaten international mediation attempts, and left the problem firmly back at the United Nations. So rigid are Kosovo’s independence demands, and so forceful is Serbia’s opposition, that mediators from the United States, Europe and Russia report complete failure. It’s now almost certain that Kosovo will press ahead and declare unilateral independence in the New Year.
However, Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin stressed that Belgrade and Pristina are still talking: “While it may be premature to talk about confidence between the two parties, certainly we think it was important for them to start overcoming their long-standing hostility.”
Kosovo has been administered by the UN since NATO action brought an end to Serbian attacks on ethnic Albanians in 1999. Independence is generally accepted by the West, but vigorously opposed by Serbia and its patron Russia, which holds a veto on the United Nations Security Council.