In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia. Was this the final chapter in the break-up of Yugoslavia and the successful conclusion to the Balkan Wars of the 1990s? Or was it just one more wrong turn in the path to stability in the Balkans which has set a dangerous precedent for regional conflict throughout the world? When the UN Security Council authorised negotiations to determine the final status of Kosovo in October 2005, most observers confidently expected the Serbian province to become an independent state by the end of the following year. However, the process did not go as planned. After two years of discussions, conducted by two different sets of mediators, the two sides had still not reached an agreement. With the risk of violence in Kosovo increasing, Western leaders appeared to be left with no choice but to accept a unilateral declaration of independence - despite the destabilising effects that this might have on regional and international security. James Ker-Lindsay here charts the course of Kosovo's path to independence. He points out the serious flaws in the way the talks were conducted and shows how the discussions became caught up in renewed East-West tensions. This clear and perceptive account will be essential reading for anyone with an interest in the recent history of the Balkans or in international conflict resolution.
The Path to Contested Statehood in the Balkans