Although Pristina is loudly announcing the soon end of the so-called supervised independence, judging by the unfolding of the situation in Kosmet that process will be neither quick not easy. Before that, the status of northern Kosmet will have to be negotiated. The commentary of Ivana Subasic.
At the government session on Wednesday, Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci stated that on July 2 the International Steering Group, comprised of representatives from the countries that hah recognized Kosovo, would pass the decision on ending the supervision of the independence. However, it is not the first time that Pristina sends a message like that. Ever since the International Steering Group recommended the cancelation of the International Civil Office, during the February session in Vienna, the authorities in Pristina have been announcing the finalization of the implementation of the so-called Ahtisaari Plan. As part of the recommendations to end the supervised independence, the Kosovo Parliament has passed the resolution on closing the International Civil Mission. But it was, nevertheless, suggested to Pristina that it had to exert additional effort in adopting not only the specific legal acts, but also on the changes and amendments to their Constitution. Thaci’s opponents are fiercely opposing that, accusing his of trying to establish, through the back door, the special status for northern Kosmet, as the price for the end to the supervision. Evidently, there is no political consensus in Pristina on the issue of the North, and having in mind the mood of the opposition, there will never be one. Without doubt, Thaci’s government is currently on the lags of glass.
Some analysts in Pristina believe that the end of the supervised independence is more rhetorical and declarative in nature. According to them, the EULEX and the “international five” will keep the competencies in certain fields. However, the Kosmet Serbs are openly opposing any presence of Pristina in the north and have less and less trust in the good intentions of the international community, because they believe it is working for Pristina. Their suspicion has been reinforced by the requests to abolish the UNMIK administration that has been operating in the northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica since 2002. The situation is made additionally more difficult by the unilateral interpretations of the agreements reached in the Belgrade-Pristina dialog. After the latest incidents in the north, when KFOR troops attempted to remove the barricades, the local Serbs are growing increasingly suspicious of the international forces, too. Their distrust was shown, albeit implicitly, during the referendum in February, clearly saying they do not accept the Pristina institutions, although both Belgrade and the international factors have assessed those results as void. Therefore, in the current context of desperate attempts of Kosovo authorities, backed up by part of the international community, to establish control in that area of the Province, it is becoming clear that the situation in northern Kosmet must be discussed, with the involvement of local Serbs’ representatives.