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The Vienna negotiations on the final status for Kosovo

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The Vienna negotiations on the final status for Kosovo were an impossible project. It was clear at the outset that both parties would not be able to find common ground on the status issue. However, the talks focused on the practical issues of governance in Kosovo, such as decentralization, community rights and cultural heritage. It was thought that these could be addressed, initially at least, in a status-neutral way. While the parties did not manage to agree on all or most of these problems, the UN Special Envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, generated a comprehensive proposal offering compromise solutions that should have been acceptable to both sides. The recommendation of the Special Envoy in favour of supervised independence was deliberately separated from the comprehensive proposal. It was thought that the UN Security Council would at least endorse the proposal, even if it was ultimately unwilling to pronounce itself in favour of independence. The issue of status might then be settled outside the Council. However, when it appeared to some states on the Council that endorsement of the substantive Ahtisaari plan would in fact be tantamount to acceptance of independence, this avenue was closed.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 2008

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