United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK)

31 August 1999 - 7 August 2000
Military personnel

On 10 June 1999, the UN Security Council launched a civil operation (UNMIK) and a military operation (KFOR) in Kosovo. The United Nations Interim Administration in Kosovo (UNMIK) focused on 4 areas: interim administration, humanitarian affairs, reconstruction and the development of the government apparatus.

Kosovo was therefore administered by the UN from 10 June 1999. From 2001, UNMIK gradually transferred its administrative responsibilities to local administrative authorities. Negotiations to determine Kosovo’s final status started in 2006. These negotiations were led by United Nations Special Envoy for Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari, a Finnish politician.

Slow progress

Because the Russians refused to agree to a proposal that was only supported by the Kosovo Albanians, progress towards determining Kosovo’s final status was initially slow. The Russian Federation could always block an agreement by using its veto in the UN Security Council.

Independence after elections

Elections were held in Kosovo in November 2007. The new government, composed mainly of Kosovo Albanians, declared independence on 17 February 2008. The move angered the Kremlin. Several countries recognised Kosovo’s independence in the following days.


UNMIK did not focus as much on supporting and advising the Kosovar authorities in developing a state under the rule of law. The European Union (EU) provided assistance in this regard by launching the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX Kosovo) on 16 February 2008.