CÆLESTIS ARCUS

1st Declaration of independence of Kosova

Inter-ethnic tensions continued to worsen in Kosova throughout the 1980s. The 1986 SANU Memorandum warned that Yugoslavia was suffering from ethnic strife and the disintegration of the Yugoslav economy into separate economic sectors and territories, which was transforming the federal state into a loose confederation. On June 28, 1989, Milošević delivered a speech in front of a large number of Serb citizens at the main celebration marking the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Kosova, held at Gazimestan. Many think that this speech helped Milošević consolidate his authority in Serbia. In 1989, Milošević, employing a mix of intimidation and political maneuvering, drastically reduced Kosova's special autonomous status within Serbia. Soon thereafter Kosova Albanians organized a non-violent separatist movement, employing widespread civil disobedience, with the ultimate goal of achieving the independence of Kosova. On July 2, 1990, an Kosova parliament declared Kosova an independent country, the Republic of Kosova. The Republic of Kosova was formally disbanded in 2000 when its institutions were replaced by the Joint Interim Administrative Structure established by the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosova (UNMIK). During its lifetime, the Republic of Kosova was only recognized by Albania.

The Kosova War

The Kosova War was initially a conflict between Serbian and Yugoslav security forces and the Kosova Liberation Army (KLA), an ethnic Albanian guerrilla group identified by some as terrorist, seeking secession from the former Yugoslavia. In 1998 Western interest had increased and the Serbian authorities were compelled to sign a unilateral cease-fire and partial retreat. Under an agreement devised by Richard Holbrooke, OSCE observers moved into Kosova to monitor the ceasefire, while Yugoslav military forces partly pulled out of Kosova. However, the ceasefire was systematically broken shortly thereafter by KLA forces, which again provoked harsh counterattacks by the Serbs.
The Serbs then began to escalate the conflict, using military and paramilitary forces in another ethnic cleansing campaign this time against against the Kosovar Albanians. An estimated 300.000 refugees were displaced during the winter of 1998, many left without adequate food or shelter, precipitating a humanitarian crisis and calls for intervention by the international community.
NATO intervention between March 24 and June 10, 1999, combined with continued skirmishes between Albanian guerrillas and Yugoslav forces resulted in a massive displacement of population in Kosova. During the conflict roughly a million ethnic Albanians fled or were forcefully driven from Kosova. Altogether, more than 11.000 deaths have been reported to Carla Del Ponte by her prosecutors. Up to 20.000 Kosova Albanian women were raped by Serbs during the Kosova carnage. Some 3.000 people are still missing, of which 2.500 are Albanian, 400 Serbs and 100 Roma.

The UN administration period

After the war ended, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1244 that placed Kosova under transitional UN administration (UNMIK) and authorized KFOR, a NATO-led peacekeeping force. Resolution 1244 also delivered that Kosova will have autonomy within Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (today legal successor of Federal Republic of Yugoslavia is Republic of Serbia).
Some 200.000-280.000, representing the majority of the Serb population, left when the Serbian forces left. There was also some looting of Serb properties and even violence against some of those Serbs and Roma who remained. The current number of internally displaced persons is disputed, with estimates ranging from 65.000 to 250.000. Many displaced Serbs are afraid to return to their homes, even with UNMIK protection. Around 120.000-150.000 Serbs remain in Kosova, but are subject to ongoing harassment and discrimination. According to Amnesty International, the aftermarth of the war resulted in an increase in the trafficking of women for sexual exploitation.
In 2001, UNMIK promulgated a Constitutional Framework for Kosova that established the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government (PISG), including an elected Kosova Assembly, Presidency and office of Prime Minister. Kosova held its first free, Kosova-wide elections in late 2001 (municipal elections had been held the previous year).
In March 2004, Kosova experienced its worst inter-ethnic violence since the Kosova War. The unrest in 2004 was sparked by a series of minor events that soon cascaded into large-scale riots.
International negotiations began in 2006 to determine the final status of Kosova, as envisaged under UN Security Council Resolution 1244.. The UN-backed talks, lead by UN Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari, began in February 2006. Whilst progress was made on technical matters, both parties remained diametrically opposed on the question of status itself.
In February 2007, Ahtisaari delivered a draft status settlement proposal to leaders in Belgrade and Pristina, the basis for a draft UN Security Council Resolution which proposes 'supervised independence' for the province. A draft resolution, backed by the United States, the United Kingdom and other European members of the Security Council, was presented and rewritten four times to try to accommodate Russian concerns that such a resolution would undermine the principle of state sovereignty. Russia, which holds a veto in the Security Council as one of five permanent members, had stated that it would not support any resolution which was not acceptable to both Belgrade and Kosova Albanians. Whilst most observers had, at the beginning of the talks, anticipated independence as the most likely outcome, others have suggested that a rapid resolution might not be preferable.
After many weeks of discussions at the UN, the United States, United Kingdom and other European members of the Security Council formally 'discarded' a draft resolution backing Ahtisaari's proposal on 20 July 2007, having failed to secure Russian backing. Beginning in August, a "Troika" consisting of negotiators from the European Union (Wolfgang Ischinger), the United States (Frank Wisner) and Russia (Alexander Botsan-Kharchenko) launched a new effort to reach a status outcome acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina. Despite Russian disapproval, the U.S., the United Kingdom, and France appeared likely to recognize Kosovar independence. A declaration of independence by Kosovar Albanian leaders was postponed until the end of the Serbian presidential elections 4 February 2008). Most EU members and the US had feared that a premature declaration could boost support in Serbia for the ultra-nationalist candidate, Tomislav Nikolić.

Kosova / 2nd Declaration of Independence

The Kosovar Assembly approved a declaration of independence on 17 February 2008. Over the following days, several countries (the United States, Turkey, Albania, Austria, Germany, Italy, France, the United Kingdom, Republic of China (Taiwan), Australia and others announced their recognition, despite protests by Serbia in the UN Security Council.
The UN Security Council remains divided on the question (as of 25 February 2008). Of the five members with veto power, three (USA, UK, France) recognize the declaration of independence, and two (Russia and People's Republic of China) consider it illegal. As of 28th March 2008, no member-country of CIS, CSTO and SCO have recognized Kosova as independent.
The European Union has no official position towards Kosova's status, but has decided to deploy the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosova to ensure a continuation of international civil presence in Kosova. As of today, most of member-countries of NATO, EU, WEU and OECD have recognized Kosova as independent.Of Kosova's immediate neighbour states (other than Serbia), Albania recognizes the declaration of independence, Macedonia announced they will likely recognize it within "a few weeks" and Montenegro stated they will wait for a decision of the European Union. Croatia, Bulgaria and Hungary, all neighbours of Serbia, announced in a joint statement that they would also recognise the declaration.

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