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Regional Security - Kosovo
The Helsinki discussions on the future of Kosovo appear to be nearing an end. This will mark the first successful negotiation attempt between the member states of NATO and the Serbs. The Russians have agreed to participate in the peacekeeping process of the region under the auspices of NATO. Although full details of the accords remain unavailable at the present time, the Russian-NATO rift appears to have ended. Officials in Helsinki have yet to outline definitively the role of Russian troops in the region- and especially the dispute over the Pristina airport, which has recently been under the control of the Russian army. Officials have agreed upon a three part plan for Kosovo; the first stage consists of a short-term relief effort for Kosovo, the second involves democratic reforms, and the third is a wide-reaching economic reconstruction of the region to secure stability.
In the meantime, the withdraw of Serb forces from the region is expected to be completed today. Another contentious issue that remains is how and when to disarm the KLA. The Kosovo Liberation Army is still heavily armed and is currently posing a security threat to the region, as Kosovo Serbs are fleeing their homes in numbers to escape KLA reprisals for Serb atrocities in the region. According to Reuters, the recent discovery of a KLA-operated torture prison has heightened the urgency of dealing with the issue of disarmament.
Compiled by: Thalia Lidakis
~ Objectives by Issue (Evaluative Criteria): 1999 Köln Summit ~
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