Friday, March 09, 2007

USIP: Kosovo: What Can Go Wrong?

by Daniel Serwer, Yll Bajraktari, and Christina Parajon

Conclusion: Multilateral when we Can, Unilateral if we Must

There are many things that can go wrong in the days and months ahead for Kosovo. There are forces working for delay and ambiguity, which will incite violence. The time has come for clarity and alacrity.

Given Serbia’s effort to cause further delay and uncertainty, along with the EU penchant for slowness and Russia’s reluctance to allow a clear UNSC decision, the United States needs to consider its options if a negotiated, multilateral solution proves impossible within the next few months. In that event, the Ahtisaari proposal will be a dead letter—Serbia cannot expect its implementation if there is no Security Council resolution.

If Kosovo were to remain unrecognized, it would then have a status comparable to that of Gaza or the West Bank, with all that implies in terms of instability and prospects for violence. Only U.S. leadership in moving quickly to recognize Kosovo—along with as many other countries as possible—could prevent rapid deterioration of such a situation. While the NATO forces stationed in Kosovo can no doubt keep the lid on for a while, that is only a temporary solution—one that will not stand firm if 1.8 million Albanians decide to march.

The full briefing at the source

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