Yesterday’s Presidential Statement from the United Nations Security Council is the formal start of the process of trying to determine the future status of Kosovo. It followed an open debate at the Security Council after the presentation of the Eide report.
The statement is – as much too often is the case – somewhat naive.
It ”reaffirms its commitment to the objective of a multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo” after having endorsed the Eide report that states that in particular the situation in the former respect is ”grim” and holds out little prospect for improvement.
I guess it’s the triumph of hope over experience.
The international community has now changed course from its previous doctrine of ”standards before status” to the new ”status before standards.”
I certainly share the Eide assessment that the status issues must be on the table. Indeed, I have advocated this for years. But I certainly don’t share the belief that this will be easy or that everything will be better.
I see a substantial risk that standards will deterioate rather than improve as we accelerate the status issue. And if we neglect the risk of us setting up a failed state in a fragile region, and don’t take firm action to try to prevent this, we are almost certain of doing precisely that.
There will be convulsions ahead.
Let’s hope that President Ahtisaari has the stamina and patience to maneuver the process through the time it will take.