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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

The Case for Kosovo

The United States formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state on February 18, 2008. The United States considers Kosovo to be a special case that should not be seen as a precedent for other situations. The sequence and nature of events that led to Kosovo’s independence were themselves unprecedented. The measures taken by many countries to recognize and support Kosovo since February 17, 2008 further demonstrate the viability of Kosovo as a stable, multi-ethnic democracy.

  • Until Kosovo’s constitution entered into force on June 15, 2008, Kosovo was administered by the United Nations under U.N. Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244. UNSCR 1244 was unanimously adopted (with China abstaining) on June 10, 1999, to address the situation in Kosovo that had resulted from Milosevic's actions.
  • Elements of UNSCR 1244 include: denying Serbia a role in governing Kosovo; authorizing the establishment of an interim UN administration; providing for local self-government; and envisioning a UN-led political process to determine Kosovo's future status.
  • An extended period of international administration aimed at building Kosovo's capacities for self-government was followed by a UN-led process of negotiation including development of a plan, carefully crafted by Special Envoy of the Secretary General Maarti Ahtisaari, to ensure Kosovo’s commitment to protection of minority communities and religious and cultural heritage, culminated in Kosovo’s independence in 2008. In February 2008, a group of twenty-five states that recognized Kosovo formed the International Steering Group and the International Civilian Office to supervise implementation of the Ahtisaari Plan (officially known as the Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement). Recognizing Kosovo's progress in implementing the Ahtisaari Plan, both the ICO and the ISG formally ended their supervision of the country on September 10, 2012, rendering Kosovo responsible for its own governance.
  • In 1999, NATO’s 19 allies reached the consensus decision to take collective action to remove Milosevic’s police and military forces from Kosovo.
  • As of November 2015, 108 countries had recognized Kosovo, including all G-7 states, 23 of 28 EU member states, and an increasing number of states from the Americas, Africa, and Asia. A number of international organizations have admitted Kosovo as a member, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and the International Olympic Committee.
  • UN Secretary General Ban reported to the UNSC in June 2008 that, in view of changed realities on the ground, he was ordering the reconfiguration of the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and welcomed the European Union’s enhanced operational role in the field of the rule of law under the framework of UNSCR 1244.
  • The EU Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) began operations on December 9, 2008 by deploying police throughout Kosovo. UNMIK police have ceased law enforcement activity in the country. The United States is proud to be contributing personnel to EULEX and is committed to its mission to strengthen rule of law institutions throughout Kosovo for the benefit of all communities and to promote Kosovo's territorial integrity and stability in the region.
  • On July 11, 2008 representatives from 37 countries and 16 international organizations met in Brussels for a Donors Conference, pledging approximately $1.9 billion (including $400 million from the United States), in support of the socio-economic reform priorities Kosovo has expressed through its Medium-Term Expenditure Framework for 2008-11.


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