The Blog

Kosovo: The Next Transatlantic Clash?

10:49 AM, Jun 29, 2007 • By ULF GARTZKE
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At their recent summit in Germany in early June, the leaders of the G8 failed to reach an agreement about the future status of Kosovo. Russia remains stubborn in its opposition to Kosovo independence, insisting that any final status solution must be acceptable to Belgrade. Moscow and, albeit to a lesser extent, Beijing, are also concerned about the consequences of the precedent set by Kosovo's potential independence for their own "renegade provinces" such as Chechnya or Taiwan. At the same time, however, the Kosovo Albanians are getting increasingly impatient with the status quo; a development that could trigger violent clashes with destabilizing consequences for the 17,000-strong NATO-led KFOR troops stationed in the troubled province. When I discussed this issue with an American diplomat friend of mine who has long experience in Kosovo, he also warned that not resolving Kosovo's status could also adversely impact neighboring countries such as Macedonia, Montenegro, and even Serbia's Preshevo Valley: "The Kosovars and other ethnic Albanians are ready to fight for Kosovo and they have the weapons to do so."

And, in the case of Germany, any attempt to create an independent Kosovo without a new UN Security council resolution would remove the legal mandate for the country's 2,200 KFOR Bundeswehr soldiers stationed there.