The European Union is mulling over the timing of dispatching a police and civilian mission to Kosovo, with a majority of EU states preferring to wait after Serbia's presidential election on Feb. 3, reports quoted diplomats here said Friday.
"Most people think January would be bad timing. They would take a lot of convincing at this stage to make them change their mind," a diplomat well-informed with the discussion of the matter said.
"There is no decision yet, but there are concerns about doing it in January because of the elections," said another diplomat.
The EU decided at its Dec. 14 summit to send a 1,800-strong police and civilian mission to Kosovo, a breakaway province of Serbia, to help take over rule from the U.N. special mission deployed since the end of Kosovo war in 1999.
The launch of the mission were set to be on Jan. 28, but some EU states fear that timing would jeopardize the re-election of the pro-EU incumbent President Boris Tadic in the Feb. 3 Serb election run-off, diplomats said.
The delay of the deployment would also ensure it would not impede a signing of a key agreement between the EU and Serbia marking the first formal step for Serbia to embark on the way to join the 27-nation bloc.
The EU plans to sign the agreement at a meeting of foreign ministers on Jan. 28 on the precondition that Serbia has fully cooperated with the U.N. war crimes tribunal in the Hague, the Netherlands.
Diplomats said that ministers from the United States, Russia, Britain, France, Germany and Italy will meet to discuss Kosovo in the Slovenian city of Brdo on Jan. 19.