Bildt Believes Kosovo’s Status will be Resolved

Sweden’s foreign minister believes Kosovo’s status will be resolved this year, he said Wednesday, just two days before a U.N. envoy presents a proposal on the disputed province’s future.

Carl Bildt, who has been involved in the Balkans since the early 1990s at the start of Yugoslavia’s demise, said that Friday’s visit of chief U.N. envoy Martti Ahtisaari to present his plan to both sides will mark ”the beginning of the process.”

According to Bildt ”That process is going to take some time between Belgrade and Pristina, and then eventually in the (U.N.) Security Council and then the European Union.”

The Swedish Foreign Minister added however that he thinks it will be sorted out during this year saying he hopes ”it will be a solution that takes into account all of the interests as much as possible.”

Kosovo has been a U.N. protectorate since a 1999 NATO intervention that stopped a Serbian crackdown against separatist ethnic Albanian rebels.

The ethnic Albanians, who account for 90 percent of Kosovo’s 2 million population, have rejected Serbia’s offer of broad autonomy within Serb borders and want nothing less than independence.