Waiting for the Shoe to Drop in Kosovo

The New York Times runs a fascinating interview with Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku, who lets us know that in no uncertain term Kosovo will declare independence in the very near future.

Negotiations on Kosovo’s “final status” — semi-autonomy with Serbia, or as most Kosovar’s desire, full independence — are seemingly terminally stalled. And in August, the Kosovo government declared that if an agreement is not reached by December 10, Kosovo will declare independence unilaterally. Talks resumed today in Vienna, but according to Reuters, “there is no deal in sight.” So in all likelihood Kosovo will declare independence next month.

Says Ceku:

“We have no more moral right to say we need more time. If Washington asks us to delay for a short time, we will wait. But if the date is much after December 10, we will say, ‘let us go.’ It is better to ask for an apology than for permission. The time for a decision has come.”

The big question, of course, is how the United States, which in principle backs Kosovo’s independence, and Russia, which has close ties to Serbia, will handle the diplomatic crisis that will ensue.