Ahtisaari Warns Holdouts on Kosovo


Nobel laureate Marti Ahtisaari has warned the EU that the failure of Balkan and EU states to recognise Kosovo stands as a bulwark against the bloc’s future expansion.

“Those countries that have been in conflict in the past have to be able to see the reality, and […] have to realise that there is an independent Kosovo,” Ahtisaari said.

The former Finnish president warned that those EU states that have not recognised Kosovo will be responsible for delays in the enlargement process for the western Balkans.

Ahtisaari said that the lack of unanimity within the UN Security Council on Kosovo was not based on principles but rather on the poor relations between Russia and Western states.

“Sometimes I think that if the financial crisis started two years earlier we would have had [far] more countries recognising Kosovo,” he said.

Ahtisaari was the chief negotiator in status talks between Pristina and Belgrade and proposed supervised independence for Kosovo. The Kosovo parliament declared independence on February 2008, on the basis of Ahtisaari’s proposal.

However, the EU remains divided on the issue, with five of the 27 member states still refusing to recognise the new state.

Ahtisaari said that the position of these five member states is “unfortunate”. He still insists that his proposal for Kosovo’s status is the best solution to the imbroglio.

“I would not like to be associated with any other solutions except the one I proposed,” Ahtisaari said.

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