The Ahtisaari plan - or something like it - will have to be part of any practical arrangement for the north of Kosovo, with the international community possibly taking the place of Pristina in the Plan's implementation.
The International Court of Justice's ruling has found Kosovo's declaration of independence to be neither legal nor illegal, but that international law contains no applicable prohibition of such declarations.
An interview with Gerard Gallucci, the former UN Regional Representative in Mitrovica, in which he discusses the impending International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on the legality of Kosovo's declaration of independence and its implications for the future of the disputed territory, particularly the north of Kosovo.
Tacit and explicit US support for Pristina's unilateral approach to the north of Kosovo has fueled an already volatile situation, contributing to an increase in tensions and acts of provocation that threaten further violent confrontations similar to that of July 2nd.
Side-stepping the sovereignty issue and avoiding partition requires increased autonomy for the Serbs north of the Ibar and some form of role for Serbia vis-à-vis the southern Serbs and the Serbian Orthodox Church.
The international community will need to find a more comprehensive approach to the north of Kosovo, acceptable to the majority Serbs, that can serve in the interim to help normalize daily life there whilst the status issue remains unresolved.
With 2009 having ended much as it began, the international community must continue to pursue a peacekeeping approach to the north in order to keep alive the possibility of a negotiated outcome.
Though partition is far from the best way to resolve the Kosovo question, it is a political option for Kosovo as part of a final status resolution and has been used by one side already.