At the time of its establishment in 1999, the UN interim administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) had no coherent exit strategy. Despite efforts in subsequent years to develop such a strategy, UNMIK was in fact always held hostage by the contested sovereign status of Kosovo. Only once the status review process, under Martti Ahtisaari, had begun did UNMIK developed its exit strategy in full. However, the ambiguous outcome of the status process means that UNMIK has been left in existence, unable to exit but unable to act effectively either. Since Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008, UNMIK has shed its interim administrative functions, but its mandate remains unchanged, and the mission will remain in existence until all interested parties can agree on a final status for Kosovo.
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