Kosovo and U.S. Policy: Background and Current Issues [Updated July 3, 2007]   [open pdf - 169KB]

"In 1998 and 1999, the United States and its NATO allies attempted to put an end to escalating violence between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Yugoslav/Serb forces in Yugoslavia's Kosovo province in southern Serbia. These efforts culminated in a 78-day NATO bombing campaign (Operation Allied Force) against Serbia from March until June 1999, when then-Yugoslav leader Slobodan Milosevic agreed to withdraw his forces from the province. Since then, Kosovo has been governed by a combination of U.N. and local Kosovar interim governing structures. Under the terms of U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244, the U.N. Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) retained ultimate political authority in the province. A NATO-led peacekeeping force, KFOR, was charged with providing a secure environment. UNSC Resolution 1244 did not settle Kosovo's disputed status, but called for status to be considered at an undetermined time after an autonomous government was in place. Almost all ethnic Albanians want independence for Kosovo; Serbs say Kosovo remains an integral part of Serbia. In mid-2005, the U.N. began a lengthy process to address Kosovo's status. After some delays, U.N. envoy and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari released in early 2007 a status proposal calling for Kosovo's independence with extensive minority rights and some limits to its sovereignty. Ahtisaari formally presented his proposal to the U.N. Security Council on March 26 with the explicit recommendation that Kosovo achieve supervised independence."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL31053
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