Kosovo’s future still uncertain

Sunday, December 16, 2007 | 10:00 a.m. CST; updated 8:30 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Loory: A deadline came and went for a settlement in Kosovo, leaving the former Yugoslavia still in a state of concern over whether ethnic violence can again come to the Balkans. Although that is always a possibility in a region that was the scene of ethnic cleansing in the 1990s, there seems to be a move on both sides for the almost 2-million-strong ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo and the Serbs to reach an agreement or at least avoid a return to bloodshed. There are sticking points however. The Serbs don’t want to give Kosovo complete independence, and they’re backed by Russia on that. They say the United Nations must make a decision, which the U.N. has been reluctant to do. The Kosovars say if they cannot negotiate an agreement with Serbia, they will make a unilateral declaration of independence. The United States and the European Union apparently will support the Kosovar declaration. What happens in Kosovo could have an impact on how separatist movements are treated in other countries of Europe. The U.N. Security Council is expected to discuss the Kosovo situation, but there isn’t much hope it will reach a binding decision. What are the chances of reaching a U.N.-backed settlement in time to prevent serious disruption in Kosovo?