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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

'Supervised Independence' for Kosovo?

PRISTINA, Serbia -- A UN proposal due within weeks on the fate of Serbia's Kosovo province will amount to "supervised independence" but it remains unclear how Russia will respond at the UN Security Council, diplomats say.

Senior Western officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the package to be presented by United Nations envoy Martti Ahtisaari after Sunday's general election in Serbia would recommend Kosovo be granted access to international bodies reserved for sovereign states. Its provisions will clearly imply creation of an independent state under European Union supervision, they say, granting the wishes of Kosovo's 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority over the objections of Serbia, which says the land is sacred.

Individual states would be free to recognize Europe's newest country, eight years since NATO went to war to halt the ethnic cleansing of Kosovo's Albanian majority.

Ten thousand Albanians died and 800,000 fled during Serbia's 1998-99 counterinsurgency war. NATO conducted airstrikes to drive out Serb forces, and the UN took control.

"We would like to see the word independence in there," said one senior Western diplomat in the Kosovo capital, Pristina.

"But there are other ways of doing it: You have a package of arrangements that quite clearly amount to independence, or supervised independence, as the outcome."