Thirteen years after the end of the war international supervision of Kosovo ends



Thirteen years after the end of the Kosovo war, international supervision of Kosovo will end later today, even though foreign involvement and supervision in the country is far from being over.

The International Steering Group (ISG), comprised of 25 countries including the UK and the US, has been supervising Kosovo’s independence since the former Serbian province unilaterally proclaimed it in 2008.

During a recent conference in Vienna, the ISG said it had determined that the UN Comprehensive Settlement Proposal - more commonly known as the Ahtisaari Plan and precondition to independence – was “substantially implemented.”

Serbia, however, doesn’t recognise Kosovo’s independence, and hasn’t accepted the Ahtisaari Plan and never cooperated with the International Civilian Office, set up to implement it.

“This is an important step for Kosovo and for its people,” ISG-appointed International Civilian Representative Pieter Feith told The Independent, calling the decision “appropriate and timely.”

Kosovo’s people “will now have to demonstrate themselves that they’re willing to use the institutions that we have helped to set up to move towards a truly multi-ethnic decentralised democracy in the Balkans,” he said.

But though Kosovo might become fully sovereign nation, the many international organisations present on the ground will not be going anywhere anytime soon. Overall, the total cost of the international presence in Kosovo is still about half a billion dollars a year, and some 5,000 Nato Kosovo Force (KFOR) peacekeepers are currently deployed on the territory.

The mandate of the EU mission in Kosovo EULEX has just been renewed for another two years, with an annual budget of 111 million Euros. Chief Spokesperson Nicholas Hawton admitted that although much progress had been made, EULEX was “still needed” in Kosovo in the area of rule of law.

He added that the fact EULEX was able to consequently downsize its staff and budget “and save European tax-payers’ money” was an indication of the progress Kosovo had made. 

“But we’re not out of the wood in any sense, there is still a lot of work to do.” He said organised crime and corruption especially remained “big challenges.”

The ISG announcement was unsurprisingly acclaimed in Kosovo. During a press conference after the meeting in Vienna, Prime Minister Hashim Thaci called it a “symbolical and historical date” for his country.

Outgoing Serbian Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic for his part told The Independent it was no more than a “political decision” that could “only bring new tensions on a territory where life is anything but normal.”

Serbs make up most of northern Kosovo and reject Pristina’s institutions. Recent troubles included clashes between Serbs and the KFOR and attacks on Serbian civilian buses during a Serbian holiday.

Mr Bogdanovic blamed Pristina for “doing nothing” to protect the Serbs of Kosovo but Mr Feith said there were sufficient guarantees that the rights of the Serb community would be respected. He praised the opening earlier this week of a Kosovo government administration office in the northern part of the country aimed to extend Pristina’s authority on the Serb-run area.

“Kosovo needs to move on and become a normal state in the region,” Mr Feith said, also believing it will help Kosovo access membership in the UN and the European Union. Russia and five European member states have not recognised Kosovo’s independence.

He hoped the end of supervised independence would lead to an increase of countries recognising Kosovo as a sovereign state. So far, 91 out of 193 UN member states have recognised Kosovo’s independence. 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA celebration of British elections
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power