Will Kosovo Independence Hurt Stability?

The UN's plan for the territory's gradual independence will trouble Serbia and other Balkan states, but fears of war or political strife are much exaggerated

Now that the UN Kosovo envoy, Martti Ahtisaari, has presented his proposal for the territory's future status to the "contact group" of international overseers, there is little doubt that Kosovo is going to become independent. Not immediately, though. Ahtisaari's report will not be published before he presents it to Belgrade and Pristina on 2 February. Most leaks accompanying his 26 January meeting with the group (the U.S., Russia, France, the U.K, Italy, and Germany), however, spoke of a mechanism enabling Kosovo to gradually take control of its own affairs and seek membership of international institutions.

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