posted on Mon 28 Nov 2011 5:12 PM
Kosovo Debate in the Council on Tuesday

Council members are scheduled to hold a debate on Kosovo tomorrow morning (29 November). Special Representative and head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), Farid Zarif, will brief the Council. (Zarif, from Afghanistan, was appointed to the position on 11 October.) It appears that Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić will also participate in the meeting. It is likely that Enver Hoxhaj will represent Kosovo as he did at the Council’s last meeting on UNMIK on 30 August.

Tomorrow’s debate follows the publication of the Secretary-General’s 31 October report on UNMIK. The report, which covers the period from 16 July until 15 October, focuses on the heightened tensions in northern Kosovo and notes that they “overshadowed all other political developments” during the reporting period. (Incidents since Zarif last briefed the Council, as Acting Special Representative, include clashes on 26 and 27 September concerning contested border posts at Brnjak and Jarinje and on 20 October between the NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) and Serb protesters, again at border crossings with Serbia in northern Kosovo.)

Earlier today (28 November), two NATO soldiers were reported to have been shot and wounded and eight further were injured as they sought to seize control of roadblocks in northern Kosovo. The roadblocks had been erected in July by Kosovo Serbs after the Kosovo government had sent police to seize border posts to enforce a newly instituted trade embargo against Serbian products. The incident follows similar clashes last week in northern Kosovo when 21 NATO peacekeepers and a number of Kosovo Serbs suffered injuries.

Following tomorrow’s debate in the Council, on Wednesday (30 November) officials from Serbia and Kosovo are due to meet in Brussels for a new round of talks. It appears that the two disputed border crossings in northern Kosovo will be an issue in the conversations.