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Kosovo interim authorities sign transfer of power agreement

[JURIST] The United Nations Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) signed an agreement on Monday detailing the upcoming power transfer in Kosovo [JURIST news archive], which will mean new responsibilities for the European Union Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) [official websites]. The memorandum covers EULEX's duties regarding judicial, policing and other operations. Serbia, which has vehemently opposed independence for Kosovo, denounced the deal as a violation of international law [press release]. Russian officials said the nation would lodge a complaint [Balkan Insight report] with the UN to challenge EULEX's legality. EULEX is expected to assume a limited executive role in implementing the rule of law as UNMIK nears the end of its 120-day timetable for reducing operations. The International Civilian Office [official website] will oversee progress under Kosovo's status settlement. Kosovo's new constitution [text] went into effect [JURIST report] in June. The Sofia Echo has more.

Both Serbia and Russia have previously condemned the EULEX mission as illegal. In February, Russia condemned [press statement; JURIST report] a decision [press release, PDF] by the European Union [official website] to send the EULEX task force of police, prosecutors and judges into Kosovo, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov [official profile] calling it "in breach of the highest international law." Russia earlier rejected Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia [JURIST report], warning that such unilateral action without the approval of the United Nations sets a dangerous precedent for "frozen conflicts" around the world.

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