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  Kosovo Report card

The International Crisis Group (ICG) releases today a fresh assessment of the international community’s performance in Kosovo since the end of the conflict in June 1999. Entitled Kosovo Report Card, the paper tallies the successes and failures of both the Nato-led Kosovo force (KFOR) and the UN civil presence (UNMIK), while highlighting the need to address the question of Kosovo’s final status if peace and stability are to take root.

Key achievements over the past fifteen months include disarming the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), heading off an incipient conflict between the KLA and the Democratic League of Kosovo, creating the framework of an administrative structure, and mobilising humanitarian assistance to feed and shelter more than one million refugees over the first post-war winter.

But neither NATO nor the UN were prepared to deal effectively with violence against Kosovo’s Serb population, over half of whom have fled the province while the rest now live in isolated enclaves or to the north of the divided city of Mitrovica, under Belgrade’s control. The underground activities of illegal Albanian armed groups have also defied the international mission’s policing capacity.

The basic structures of normal life are not in place in the province – fifteen months after the end of the war the judicial system is still getting started and Pristina suffers prolonged daily power outages. Kosovo’s economy remains at a standstill, in desperate need of a concerted kick-start.

Underlying virtually all of Kosovo’s problems, ICG argues, is the international community’s continued unwillingness to address the issue of Kosovo’s final status. With no-one in Kosovo having any idea of what Kosovo’s status will be in the future, it is unrealistic to expect either successful moves toward reconciliation or long-term investment. The international community appears more divided now on the issue of Kosovo’s final status than it was when the war ended – but failure to address this problem is likely to have growing consequences that at the end could cause the entire mission to unravel.

The report concludes with a set of practical policy recommendations designed to promote the search for a final status solution, re-energise the economy and improve security in the war-ravaged province.


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