Kosovo's independence does not end its problems
Kosovo officially gained all the rights of sovereignty on Monday, marking the end of monitored controls by the international community. Problems and uncertainty linger, however - especially in the North.
Dutchman Pieter Feith's office is now closing. Having been responsible for monitoring the independence of Kosovo over the last four and a half years, his main task of implementing the Kosovo Status Plan of UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari is essentially completed.
The Status Plan of 2008 gave Kosovo the right to its own constitution, its own flag and a national anthem. The country was also allowed to set up its own "multiethnic and professional" army, institute border controls, and form an intelligence service and a police force. In addition, Kosovo was granted the right to negotiate and sign international agreements and "pursue membership in international organizations." The rights of the Serbian minority were to be ensured, and Albanian and Serbian were to be the official languages.
Feith's office, which was given the right to veto Kosovo laws, was more powerful than any other institution in the newly independent state. The Dutchman could block any law or proposal that did not meet the conditions of the Ahtisaari plan. Early this July, Feith certified that Kosovo had become a "modern, multi-ethnic" democracy. The conditions for terminating the monitoring mission had been fulfilled, said the International Steering Committee for Kosovo in Vienna, whose members include most European Union countries, the United States and Turkey. (...)