Skip to comments.Analysis: Kosovo independence divides U.N.
Posted on 06/01/2007 5:12:28 PM PDT by Decombobulator
UNITED NATIONS June 1 (UPI) -- Sponsors of a draft U.N. Security Council resolution granting supervised independence to Serbia's southern province of Kosovo have softened wording in the measure due to strong opposition. Yet the bottom line remains independence for the province that has been under U.N. administration since 1999.
Russia, one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the panel of 15, does not agree with taking control of the autonomous province of about 2 million people away from Belgrade. China also is opposed.
Moscow has hinted it would veto the measure when it comes up for a vote, as early as next week.
Serbia inherited what is left of the former Yugoslavia, Montenegro having opted to go its own way in 2006, leaving Serbia the last vestige of Yugoslavia. Now, Serbia is threatened with losing what it calls its cultural and spiritual heartland, Kosovo and its capital Pristina.
Over the years, ethnic Albanians, mainly Muslims, moved from their adjacent homeland into Kosovo to the point where native Serbs, mainly Orthodox Christians, felt threatened and took up arms, attempting to rid the region of Albanians -- ethnic cleansing. Several massacres of ethnic Albanians were reported and rape was employed as a weapon of war against Albanian women. Albanians retaliated.
NATO forces intervened in 1999 and up to 1 million Serbs were reported to have fled. Few have returned, and the United Nations has administered Kosovo since.
Now, the Security Council is considering independence, following a report by former Finnish President Marti Ahtisaari, recommending the province go it alone, after an initial period of supervision. The latest draft resolution fine-tuned language from the earlier draft, such as changing the body "endorses" to "supports" the report.
"The draft does include some minor changes but it does not affect the main concerns and fundamental positions which the Russian Federation has expressed," said Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, adding it was if nothing were changed.
"We are not discussing the draft in a situation where the fundamental concerns we have expressed have not been taken care of," he added. "We are not participating in any kind of a drafting effort."
Asked what needed to be changed to invite Russia's return to the discussions, the Moscow envoy replied, "The approach is to be changed. Instead of endorsing the proposal of the package of Ahtisaari, which has not been agreed on by the two sides, we should encourage the two parties to continue negotiations."
"We should show more patience and perseverance. I just want to remind that also the Russian approach does allow for considerable flexibility. We are not calling for things to be stagnated in Kosovo, for example. We can envisage the transfer of responsibilities from the United Nations to the European Union, but within the framework of the current political status of Kosovo," Churkin said.
In other words, Kosovo remains a province of Kosovo, albeit under international supervision. The reason for Moscow standing behind Belgrade many believe is not just that it is supporting a fellow Slavic state, but it fears setting a precedent of granting independence to breakaway regions. Beijing also traditionally fears such a precedent. For Russia it's Chechnya and China it's Tibet.
The draft measures attempted to work around that aspect by recognizing the "specific circumstances" that make Kosovo "a special case," or "sui generis" as in the latest version, and recognizing "the historical context of Yugoslavia's violent breakup, as well as the massive violence and repression that took place in Kosovo in the period up to and including 1999."
The drafts have reaffirmed commitment to a "multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo" to reinforce regional stability and seek "more progress on the return of internally displaced persons and refugees."
But that is not good enough for Russia.
"Unfortunately the philosophy of this draft is ... opening the possibility of Kosovo independence now and the thing is that this is not right," Churkin said, adding Serbia -- in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon -- recently asked for "a new stage of negotiations" on the future of Kosovo.
"This is another reason we believe why we should think in terms of continued effort to find a mutually acceptable solution to the future of Kosovo," Churkin said.
Asked what would happen now if a vote were to be taken, he said, "Under those circumstances unfortunately the outcome would be obvious."
"You mean you would veto?" a reporter asked.
"I don't like this word until I receive final instructions but you are guessing well what is on my mind," the Moscow envoy replied.
[”Russia, one of the five veto-wielding permanent members of the panel of 15, does not agree with taking control of the autonomous province of about 2 million people away from Belgrade. China also is opposed.”]
Gosh, I wonder why Russia and China would be opposed?
Do you think Chechnya and Taiwan would have anything to do with their opposition?
Exactly. But I believe China is worried more about Tibet than Taiwan.
Also it’s not just Russia and China. The Hungarians in Slovakia and Romania have expressed some agitation recently, which is why Slovakia and Romania are both opposed to Kosovo independence. Spain is also opposed, due to its large Basque minority. And Italy is also opposed, although I’m not sure why (probably don’t want to ruin traditionally good relation with Serbs).
Apart from recent immigrants, Italy has some Albanians too, but they are descended from Christian Albanians who fled there at the time of the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans...and I don't think they are very numerous.
[”Also its not just Russia and China.”....]
Agreed. In short, it’s a real can of worms.
Well, let me extrapolate out on MacKenzie (and in fact I'll paraphrase what he said) in the context of Srebenica.
That is, if Gen. Mladic was engaged in genocide, then why would he order out women and children from the area?
The accusation of genocide against Mladic is contradictory by its very nature if you follow what MacKenzie said.
I love that book. It's a must read for anybody trying to understand the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia.
In other words, they don't demand the end of the occupation of Kosovo, they just want the USA out! They prefer occupation by the unified EU armed forces. The Fourth Reich rears its ugly head.
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