This concluding chapter notes that the provisional outcome of independence for Kosovo warrants general conclusions in a number of key areas, notably with regard to the changing perceptions of sovereignty, issues of governance, human rights, forcible humanitarian action, self-determination and secession, hierarchies among international actors, and conference diplomacy and consent. In general terms, it is argued that while the Kosovo episode may have strengthened the self-determination claims of territorial units, the extension of this principle to ethnic groups would herald the beginning of a post-modern fragmentation of the state system. However, the fact that self-determination conflicts are no longer regarded in absolute terms is viewed as a cause for hope. The challenge remains to bring innovative settlement options to bear in a timely way, before unilateral action on the ground is rendered irreversible.
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