posted on Wed 14 Sep 2011 3:55 PM
Consultations on Kosovo

This afternoon (14 September) Council members will have consultations at permanent representative level to discuss a letter sent from Serbia requesting a meeting of the Council tomorrow “in order to prevent the realisation of Pristina’s threat to unilaterally impose, on 16 September, customs and border police control over the administrative border crossings between north Kosovo and Serbia. “ The letter also indicates that this will be done with the facilitation of KFOR and EULEX. It appears that Serbia has asked that a representative from Serbia be allowed to participate in the meeting.

Kosovo attempted in July to install a police and customs presence at two crossings on its border with Serbia, leading to a violent standoff between the two sides. Following the incident, NATO-led peacekeepers took over the crossings but their mandate to control the posts expires tomorrow. Kosovo has signaled its intent to send police and customs officials to regain control of the two posts. Serbia has warned the move would reignite tensions and there are media reports that minority Serbs have started erecting barricades in the city of Mitrovica.

It seems that Council members will decide this afternoon whether or not to hold the requested meeting. While Russia strongly supports the Serbian request and sees the holding of a meeting as an important preventive measure, some other members do not see a need to meet over this issue. If Russia feels strongly enough about having the meeting, it could choose to put the issue to a procedural vote. This would require a vote in a meeting of the Council to adopt the provisional agenda for the Council’s meeting on Kosovo. In a vote on a procedural issue, there must be at least nine votes in favour and permanent members cannot use their veto.

Serbia had previously requested an urgent meeting of the Council on 26 July, following the initial border incident. The Council was briefed by DPKO on the incident on 28 July after deciding that a formal meeting was not necessary.