Ex-UN Kosovo Chief: EULEX ‘Not Neutral’

“The European Union is not neutral on Kosovo as 22 member states have made clear their position on Kosovo,” argues Soren Jessen Petersen, the former chief of UN Mission in Kosovo.

“It is clear that Kosovo is independent and this fact cannot be changed. Kosovo is in the phase of consolidating its independence and the EU is to help this process,” said Jessen-Petersen.

According to him, the international presence in Kosovo is there to support Kosovo’s independence.

Jessen–Petersen also declared that the deployment of the EU’s new law-and-order mission, EULEX, in Kosovo is positive and according to him Kosovo is now closer to the European Union.

“This reveals that if there are barriers for EULEX’s deployment in the (Serb-dominated) north, the obstructions come from Belgrade. This will lead to the EU looking at Serbia’s commitment in accomplishing its responsibilities,” said Jessen-Petersen.

Kosovo Serbs are reluctant to accept the deployment of the EU’s new law-and-order mission, EULEX, despite Belgrade’s willingness to give the mission the green light.

Earlier the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s report on wrapping up the world body’s mission in Kosovo and begin the handover to a EU mission.

The six-point plan for the deployment of EULEX, as Ban’s recommendations are called were initially opposed by Kosovo, which unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in February and has been recognised by most European Union member states, because the plan is based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

This resolution, passed at the end of the 1998-1999 conflict between Serb forces and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority, refers to Kosovo as Serbia’s southern province, not as an independent state.

Serbia insists that the EU cannot deploy a new civilian mission in Kosovo to replace the UN administration unless the mission is neutral in status and does not put into action the Ahtisaari plan.

The plan envisages the gradual replacement of the administrative UN mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, which has been in the province since 1999, with an EU civilian mission of police and court officials.

Pristina has urged the mission to take the responsibilities in accordance with Kosovo’s Constitution and the blueprint for Kosovo’s independence as drafted by former United Nations envoy, Martti Ahtisaari.
Soren Jessen-Petersen was appointed head of United Nations Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, in June 2004. He served in Kosovo until June 2006.

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