Kosovo’s constitution went into force on Sunday, but unsurprisingly, this has not ended disputes over the country’s status. The UN has been running Kosovo since 1999, and the new constitution envisions handing power over to the ethnic Albanian government, with assistance in key areas from the European Union.
Russia and Serbia, however, say that an E.U. presence violates international law unless it is approved by the UN Security Council. Russia, a long time opponent of Kosovo independence and a veto holding permanent member of the Security Council, would most likely stand in the way of any move toward autonomy in the province. This means they are not likely to allow the UN to fully hand responsibility over to the E.U., and it looks like the UN Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) is in for the long haul.
But even though UNMIK is not allowed to leave, the head of the mission, Joachim Ruecker is. He announced his departure today during a meeting with Kosovo’s President. He has been the head of the mission since 2006.