“A question of days” away is how new Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci has described the timeframe for his province’s planned declaration of independence from Serbia. After talks in Brussels, between the EU’s enlargement commissioner Olli Rehn and Thaci, the European Commission called it “a very sensitive issue, in a very sensitive political context”.
Thaci told the media what the choice of the date involved: “There are some procedure that we need to respect and some consultations that we need to respect too, but Kosovo is ready, is united and I think that date we will proclaim in Pristina very soon.”
The Kosovo leader also met EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. Diplomats said the US, Germany and other European powers want to recognise Kosovo’s independence after the Feb. 3 second round of Serbia’s presidential election.
Kosovo’s two million Albanians – under UN-administration since 1999 – reject a return to Serb rule, but Russia has blocked secession in the UN Security Council. Current EU president Slovenia said Kosovo’s status and the despatch of an EU police mission would be discussed next Monday.
Several EU countries, notably Spain, where regional independence bids are a volatile concern, want to delay a decision on recognition of Kosovo’s status until after an election in Spain on March 9.