Origins of UNOSEK

On 10 June 1999, at the conclusion of the NATO air campaign against the  Milosevic regime in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), the United Nations Security Council passed Resolution 1244 in response to  the post-conflict situation in Kosovo. This resolution demanded that the FRY put an end to violence and repression in Kosovo and conduct a phased withdrawal of its military, police, and paramilitary forces from Kosovo.

While legally still part of Serbia, Kosovo has been administered by the United Nations (UN) since the passage of UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 1244, which established an international civil presence led by a Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) as well as an international security presence. Resolution 1244 mandates the international civil presence, known as the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK), to create substantial autonomy and, eventually, to facilitate a political process designed to determine Kosovo’s future status. The SRSG is the senior international official in Kosovo and has broad legal authority to govern Kosovo.

In May 2005 the Secretary-General appointed Ambassador Kai Eide, Permanent Representative of Norway to NATO, as his Special Envoy to carry out a comprehensive review of Kosovo. In a letter addressed to the Security Council on 7 October 2005, conveying Ambassador Eide’s report, the Secretary-General concluded that the time had come to move into the next phase of the political process in Kosovo.  On 24 October 2005, in a Presidential Statement, the members of the Security Council endorsed the Secretary-General’s intention to initiate the political process and welcomed his intention to appoint a Special Envoy to lead it. On 31 October 2005, the Secretary-General informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Mr. Martti Ahtisaari, former President of Finland, as his Special Envoy (SE) for the future status process for Kosovo, and Mr. Albert Rohan (Austria) as Deputy to the Special Envoy (DSE). The Security Council supported their appointment in a letter dated 10 November 2005. 

In addition, in November 2005, the members of the Contact Group (France, Germany, Italy, Russian Federation, United Kingdom and United States) issued ten “Guiding Principles” for a settlement of the Status of Kosovo”  to support the Special Envoy in his efforts. In particular, these principles state that any settlement should ensure Kosovo’s multi-ethnicity, the protection of the cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo, strengthen regional security and stability, and should ensure that Kosovo can cooperate effectively with international organizations and international financial institutions.  In a following statement, the Contact Group also emphasized that any settlement needs to be acceptable to the people of Kosovo.