By James Ker-Lindsay

In February 2008, Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia. used to be this the ultimate bankruptcy within the break-up of Yugoslavia and the winning end to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s?  Or used to be it only one extra improper flip within the route to balance within the Balkans which has set a perilous precedent for local clash in the course of the international? while the UN safeguard Council permitted negotiations to figure out the ultimate prestige of Kosovo in October 2005, so much observers optimistically anticipated the Serbian province to turn into an autonomous kingdom by way of the tip of the subsequent year.  despite the fact that, the method didn't pass as deliberate. Kosovo: the trail to Contested Statehood within the Balkans charts the process the prestige technique from 2005 to the current and analyzes how and why it went so very wrong.  This transparent and perceptive account could be crucial studying for someone with an curiosity within the contemporary heritage of the Balkans or in foreign clash answer.

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First of all, if the two sides could reach some sort of agreement on an indirect issue, it might help to generate goodwill for the later, more difficult, talks on status. 34 However, while reports emerged that the atmosphere at the discussions was good, and some progress had been made, as expected no major breakthroughs occurred. Soon afterwards, Ahtisaari flew to Belgrade for further talks with Serbian leaders. At this stage the Serbian position was weak. Quite apart from the general concern about the consequences of trying to deny the Kosovo Albanians independence, the Serbian position was undermined by several other factors.

Unfazed by this, on 23 February, international mediators unveiled a finalised set of proposals. Once again, the plan was based on autonomy. ’27 This was enough to persuade the Kosovo Albanian delegation to accept the terms. On 18 March, at a ceremony in Paris, they signed the agreement. 28 Therefore, and against all initial expectations, the process collapsed on 19 March without a deal. In the days that followed, a last desperate attempt was made to broker a deal. Richard Holbrooke, President Bill Clinton’s special envoy to Kosovo, travelled to Belgrade to meet with Milošević.

Nevertheless, while the Kosovo Albanians read the 18 KOSOVO document as another step towards independence, UNMIK stuck firmly to the line that the document did not cede control over areas that might in any way be seen to take away the sovereign rights of Belgrade. 49 The impression that Kosovo’s path towards statehood was now on the back-burner only grew after 11 September 2001. As US attention became focused on the Middle East, in Europe there was a marked reluctance to deal with the status question as this could destabilise Serbia’s democratic transformation.

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