UN urges speedy formation of new Kosovo government
UNITED NATIONS (AP) — The U.N. envoy for Kosovo urged the parties to a power-sharing agreement to speedily form a new government, saying six months of political squabbling following elections in June has damaged the country.
Farid Zarif told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday that the political standoff has also led to increased public dissatisfaction with political leaders, further delays in achieving needed reforms, and the resumption of a European Union-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.
Kosovo came under U.N. and NATO administration after a 1999 NATO-led air war halted a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists. The Security Council resolution that established the interim U.N. administration left the final status of Kosovo, a province of Serbia, in question.
Kosovo’s predominantly ethnic Albanian leadership declared independence in 2008, and Kosovo has now been recognized by 108 countries. But Serbia rejects its secession and Russia, a close ally of Belgrade and a veto-wielding council member, has blocked Kosovo from becoming a member of the United Nations.
Kosovo’s political stalemate following the June elections threatened to send the Balkan country into bankruptcy because its lawmakers have been unable to vote on a budget.
Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hashim Thaci told the council that the new coalition between his Democratic Party and Isa Mustafa’s Democratic League “provides Kosovo with a fantastic opportunity to enter the next stage of development — from a state-building phase into an economic development stage.”
Thaci pledged to continue the dialogue with Serbia and implement “every letter and every obligation that we have taken in order to integrate the Serb minority” in Kosovo.
He said Kosovo also expects Serbia to stop blocking its efforts to join the international arena “which does not help either Serbia or Kosovo.” He also called on the Security Council to recognize “the new reality” and show courage by opening “a new relationship, a normal political relationship between the U.N. and Kosovo.”
Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic said Belgrade is committed to giving “momentum to the reconciliation among the people living in Kosovo and improving living conditions for all residents including Albanians, Serbs and other minorities.”
But Vucic reiterated that Serbia “is firm in its position not to recognize the secession of Kosovo ... and its self-proclamation into a state, carried out by force and contrary to international law.”