The FINANCIAL -- The International
Steering Group overseeing Kosovo's independence decided Monday that the
territory will acquire full sovereignty in September, Austrian Foreign
Minister Michael Spindelegger said.
"The international supervision ends as of today," Spindelegger said following a meeting in Vienna of the 25-nation ISG, which includes several EU states besides Austria as well as Turkey and the United States.
According to EUbusiness, in January, the ISG had announced that Kosovo had made such progress that the "supervised independence" could be lifted by the end of the year.
This would include the closure of the International Civilian Office (ICO) led by Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith, although the NATO -led KFOR peacekeeping force or European rule of law mission EULEX will likely remain in place.
Kosovo, a two-million-strong majority ethnic Albanian republic, has been under some form of international administration since a NATO bombing campaign ousted Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic's forces in 1999.
On February 17, 2008, it unilaterally declared independence from Serbia and has been recognised by 86 countries, including most EU nations.
However, it continues to face opposition from Belgrade, Kosovo's ethnic Serbs and Russia.