Political Affairs Committee
Developments as regards the future status of Kosovo
Rapporteur: Lord Russell-Johnston, United Kingdom, Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe
A. Draft resolution
1. The Assembly considers the solution of the Kosovo status process as a fundamental element for ensuring peace and long-term stability in Europe. Determining the future status of Kosovo is a highly sensitive political issue with serious regional and wider international implications and is a challenge for the international community.
2. More than two years have passed since the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) decided that conditions were in place for initiating the status process. In 2005, the UNSC supported the appointment of Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, as Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the future status process for Kosovo. After 15 rounds of talks, Mr Ahtisaari finalised a draft Comprehensive Proposal for a Kosovo Status Settlement, which was accepted by Pristina and rejected by Belgrade. In its subsequent submission to the UNSC, he added to the Final Comprehensive Proposal a Report, in which supervised independence was recommended as the future status of Kosovo.
3. In August 2007, the stand-still on a new UNSC resolution, due to the diverging views held by the states with veto rights over the Ahtisaari package, led the UN Secretary-General to invest a Troika emanating from the Contact Group with the task of facilitating a further period of negotiations of 120 days. After 6 rounds of direct talks, the Troika has concluded that the parties have been unable to reach a compromise.
4. The Assembly deeply regrets that, at this stage, no mutually-accepted solution has been found. The dialogue engaged over this period has been precious in clarifying to what extent there is room for an agreement, amongst others, on issues such as the protection of national minorities, the protection of cultural and religious heritage and decentralisation. However, the position of the two sides as regards status remains unchanged.
5. In its resolutions 1453 (2005) and 1533 (2007) on the Current situation in Kosovo, the Assembly affirmed the importance of reaching a mutually-accepted solution to the status issue. However, it has also been a constant preoccupation of the Assembly to stress that the undecided status of Kosovo casts uncertainty over the further political stabilisation of the entire region, including its perspective of European integration; it affects its economic recovery; it prevents displaced persons and refugees from Kosovo from reaching a decision whether to return to their homes; it has a negative impact on the consolidation of a fully-responsible and accountable political leadership and hampers the full attainment of the Standards for Kosovo.
6. As a consequence, the Assembly concludes that, as the potential for finding a compromise has now been exhausted, alternative ways should be envisaged to secure a solution, with a view to preventing Kosovo from becoming a power-keg and ultimately a frozen conflict in the Balkans. In this context, recalling that, in its resolution 1533 (2007), it took a favourable position to an ‘internationally-imposed solution’, should ‘a deadlock protract negotiations beyond a reasonable time frame’, the Assembly calls on UNSC members to overcome existing differences and impose a solution.
7. The failure to reach a compromise under the period of engagement of the Troika opens a period of great uncertainty: amongst the possible scenarios, it is not to be excluded that the Kosovo Assembly decides to resort to a Unilateral Declaration of Independence, should the UNSC be incapable of achieving a unanimous position and imposing a solution.
8. The Assembly urges the parties concerned to continue to act in a responsible manner, keep their pledge to preserve peace and dialogue in all circumstances and refrain from any incitement to violence.
9. Considering that Kosovo is, and should continue to be, a political priority for Europe and in the light of the challenges that it poses for the European Union (EU) Common Foreign and Security Policy, the Assembly calls on its member states who are also members of the EU to endeavour to achieve a single position on the issue of the future status of Kosovo, as well as on the attitude towards a possible Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Kosovo Assembly.
10. The Assembly reiterates its firm commitment to work together with Serbia in consolidating its democracy, reconciling the country with its own past, helping it to become a source of long-term stability in the region and assisting it in the path leading to EU membership.
B. Draft recommendation
1. Referring to its Resolution …… (2007) on Developments as regards the future status of Kosovo, the Assembly strongly affirms that in no way should the status process shift the attention of the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG) and the international community from the implementation of the Standards for Kosovo. In fact, keeping a focus on standards is even more necessary to foster trust and facilitate reconciliation in the current climate of political tension, determined by the failure to reach a compromise solution.
2. The Assembly reiterates its aspiration for Kosovo to be, irrespective of its status, a multi-ethnic area which is safe for all those who live in it, where Council of Europe standards of democracy, rule of law, protection of human rights and rights of national minorities, and good governance are fully enforced, where the recourse offered by the European Convention on Human Rights is available to everyone and where the values of democracy, tolerance and multiculturalism are shared by its people and institutions.
3. Being convinced that the Council of Europe should continue to play a major role to ensure that this aspiration becomes a reality, the Assembly asks the Committee of Ministers to provide its support and expertise to the relevant authorities in Kosovo in the following areas:
– protection of human rights and national minorities;
- protection of cultural and religious heritage;
– use of minority languages;
– intercultural dialogue;
– fight against corruption, organised crime, money laundering and trafficking in human beings;
– democratisation and financing of political parties; and
– independence and efficiency of the judiciary.