NATO, UN chiefs to talk Kosovo, Afghanistan in New York
The leaders of NATO and the UN are due to meet in New York on May 22 to discuss the situations in Kosovo and Afghanistan, a NATO spokesman confirmed Wednesday, dpa reported.
NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer is scheduled to hold talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, "and you can expect certainly Kosovo and Afghanistan to be on the agenda," NATO spokesman James Appathurai told journalists in Brussels.
NATO currently maintains some 16,000 troops in the KFOR peace- keeping force in Kosovo, and 47,000 troops in the ISAF stabilization mission in Afghanistan. Both missions are carried out under the UN mandate.
On June 15, Kosovo's UN administrators are scheduled to hand over control of the province to the Kosovo authorities and to a policing mission sent by the European Union.
But the handover is dogged with controversy, as Russia - a UN veto holder - refuses to recognize Kosovo's independence and approve the handover of power from the UN administration.
NATO officials insist that KFOR's mandate will not change if the handover of authority takes place, and that military planners are satisfied with the force's current strength and its reserve plans.
However, the force could take on "possible new tasks" in Kosovo once the handover is completed, Appathurai said.
A plan for the post-independence rule of the former Serbian province drawn up by UN negotiator Martti Ahtisaari had foreseen that NATO could help to train a Kosovo security force, but the plan was rejected by Serbia and Russia, leaving its fate unclear.
On Afghanistan, Scheffer and Ban are likely to discuss the cooperation between military and civilian missions in the country, and the impact on the conflict of the political turmoil in Pakistan.