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Following the March 2004 violence in Kosovo, the international powers that monitored the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1244 – the Contact Group of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States – began to leave about the question of what should be done further. The five Western states – Kuinti – came to the conclusion that the expectation that Kosovo would meet “standards before status” would not work. Kosovo Albanians were becoming impatient with the delay over the move towards independence, the result they expected from NATO intervention. He did not see Quint, the process had to move forward.
In November 2005, the Contact Group – in its last consensus – stated the guiding principles for status resolution. At the same time, UN Secretary General praised former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari to lead the process of reaching a status agreement. Ahtisaari faced a difficult task due to various positions on the final status of Kosovo’s case; positions that reflected the opposing stances of Belgrade and Pristina. In joint sessions and other meetings, he focused on trying to draw on both sides the elements of a possible compromise agreement. He managed to get out of the talks the elements for something that became known as the Ahtisaari Plan.
However, in 2007, it was clear that there would be no new UN Security Council resolution on Kosovo. There were substantial issues between Quint countries and Russia, with Moscow refusing to grant independence to Kosovo as a precedent for other controversial regions. There were also factors in bilateral relations between Russia and the US which influenced the dynamics. With guaranteed Quintile support, Kosovo declared independence in February 2008. The Ahtisaari plan served as the basis for this statement and for an ongoing international role; to be carried out by the International Civilian Office (ICO) of the Special Representative of the European Union and the EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX). During the duration of the events, the Ahtisaari Plan was implemented in southern Kosovo, including some non-Albanian majority municipalities.
The Ahtisaari plan remains a good framework for resolving the conflict around the north and maintaining Kosovo’s territorial and political integrity while status remains controversial. It provides minority rights and participation in government, local self-rule and links between local municipalities (with Serb majority) and Belgrade. Along with UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s six-point plan, the Ahtisaari Plan provides a number of pragmatic measures related to police, customs, courts and infrastructure, plus local autonomy in education and culture, and special features for Mitrovica (University and Hospital). The plan also provides mechanisms to ensure transparency in Belgrade’s support for Serbian municipalities in Kosovo and the linking of northern Serbs and their local institutions to Pristina. Northern Serbs should look further away from the simple rejection of the Ahtisaari Plan – as related to Kosovo’s independence – and to re-examine closely how they can address their problems
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