The Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic spoke at the United Nations yesterday asking nations which have recognised Kosovan independence to reconsider their position. Britain and America had attempted to prevent Jeremic from being allowed to speak.
Serbia and Kosovo are not of great srategic significance, but with China and Russia taking sides with Serbia, and Britain and America taking sides with Kosovo, the issue has the ability to unsettle not only the Balkans but also the international relations of the world’s key powers at the UN.
From Kosovo News
Opponents (of Kosovan independence) say the unilateral declaration violates United Nations principles. The University of Pittsburg’s Hayden argues that it violates the fundamental idea that “national borders cannot be changed by force and without the consent of all the parties involved.” Hayden says that was the principle under which President George H.W. Bush went to war in 1991 to oppose the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait.
Wisner, the American representative to the Kosovo status talks, acknowledges that U.N. Resolution 1244, which ended the violence in 1999, said the future of Kosovo was to be settled by the United Nations. But he says the Russian veto threat made any such settlement impossible.
America and Britain are starting to look ridiculous. We go to war in Iraq to impose democracy on the Arabs, and then sow the causes of anther one in Europe by circumventing democracy. The EU is now adding to the inflammatory nature of its dealings with Serbia and Russia, by yesterday announcing (or leaking) the creation of a Balkan Army. If backing the Kosovan secession in such haste was unwise, the Balkan Army idea is completely batty. Someone should tell the EU to stop digging.
Report on UN Debate from Associated Press –
Serbia asked to address the Security Council Tuesday to discuss what its foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, called “the dangerous consequences of the unilateral, illegal and illegitimate declaration of independence.”
He reiterated that Serbia “will employ all legal, diplomatic and political means at our disposal to continue asserting our core sovereign rights.” But he again ruled out military action and an economic embargo, which he said would hurt Serbia’s goal of a peaceful and prosperous Kosovo.
“Let me be clear: It is not that the EU is unwelcome in our southern province. For we do welcome, as a matter of principle, any demonstration of Europe’s deepening commitment to our country, including Kosovo,” he said. “But there has to be a clear legal mandate for any such commitment — and this can only be achieved by getting the approval of the Security Council.”
But the Security Council remains hopelessly divided over Kosovo.
A draft statement circulated Tuesday by Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin was almost immediately rejected by the U.S. and British envoys. It calls for the preservation of Serbia’s territorial integrity and for a settlement acceptable to both parties.
“It’s based on a premise which is now overtaken,” Britain’s U.N. Ambassador John Sawers said of the Russian statement.
Sawers said the EU’s role in Kosovo is not illegal. The 27-member bloc has always been part of the U.N. Mission in Kosovo and it is now a larger part than it was before, he said.
U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Serbia and Kosovo must talk to each other and “come to an understanding based on the new reality — they are new neighbors with a lot of common interests.”
“Anything that focuses on how to help Kosovo consolidate its independence … and work toward cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo … we are certainly going to look at,” Khalilzad said.
As of Wednesday morning 9 a.m. London Time 12th March 2008, there has been not a whisper on the BBC about these two very different Balkan ‘realities’ and the discussions at the UN.
UPDATE – also not reported elsewhere – The EU is taking a very hard line with Serbia and wants to crush any attempts by Serbia to split the Serbian areas away from Kosovo.
Following the EU foreign ministers meeting, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier said that Kosovo Serbs in the North should not be allowed to participate in the elections of Serbia.
Steinmeier said that Kosovo Serbs belong to the state of Kosovo. Steinmeier’s statement came right after Belgrade’s statements that “elections should be held in the whole territory of Kosovo because this is a Serbian territory.”
Citing international news agencies, Steinmeier said that in the election campaign nationalist tones will be expressed and this could lead to tensions.
New Kosova Report