From a report in today’s International Herald Tribune, it is clear that the EU’s rushing to declare Kosovan ‘independence’ from Serbia, has had the rather predictable effect of undermining the current coalition which runs Serbia. If the EU had gradually worked towards a negotiated settlement for Kosovo, while bringing Serbia forwards towards EU membership, and ensuring Serbia was granted things like visa privileges, and other benefits, the momentum to resolving the tensions might have worked.
Now the situation is running backwards, and can only become an embarrassment, if not a strategic blunder. Russia has put the status of Kosovo on to the agenda for the UN’s April meeting, which Putin will be attending in person.
The western world needs some leadership with some kind of ability. The US rushed into Iraq despite advice from experts that the risks were high, and without any proper planning. The EU seems to be doing the same thing in Kosovo, rushing in and creating long-term strategic problems for little gain. What is the advantage of falling out with Russia, one wonders, and the pushing of a Central European nation back into the Russian sphere of influence?
Serbia’s nationalist Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Friday he no longer trusts his pro-European Union coalition government partners, heralding the likely collapse of his Cabinet.
“The government is in a major crisis,” Kostunica said in a statement.
“I no longer trust the current coalition partners that they are sincerely fighting for the preservation of Kosovo” within Serbia’s borders, Kostunica said.
On Thursday, pro-Western government ministers in Kostunica’s Cabinet rejected demands by his nationalists that Serbia abandon its bid for EU membership because nations in the bloc have recognized Kosovo.
In the statement, Kostunica denounced the ministers belonging to the Democratic and G17-Plus parties for failing “to insist that only Serbia as a whole with Kosovo as its part can become an EU member.”
“In the next few days, parties in the Parliament must come to an agreement on how to come out of this crisis,” Kostunica said.
Kostunica’s statement indicates that he will try to kick the pro-Western groups out of his Cabinet, and then try to form a new government with ultranationalists loyal to the late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
Later on Saturday (posted yesterday), the government collapsed. By chance (?), Angela Merkel was in Russia the same day.
UPDATE From Xinhua (China View) on Merkel’s visit to Russia –
NATO’s continued enlargement is harmful to the status of the United Nations, Putin told reporters after meeting Merkel.
“You get the impression that attempts are being made to set up an organization that would be a substitute for the UN. Humankind is unlikely to agree with such architecture of future international relations, and I believe the potential for conflict would only increase,” Putin told a joint press conference with Merkel.
It seems that Putin will not be easily accepting the authority of the EU or NATO to operate in what he sees as the Russian sphere of influence.
PICTURE – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is presented with flowers by Russian President Vladimir Putin on arrival at his residence for talks in Moscow March 8, 2008. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
UPDATE 10th Match – Serbia calls a meeting at the UN.
New York – The UN Security Council scheduled a meeting on Tuesday at the request of Serbia to discuss Kosovo’s nearly month-old declaration of independence, which Belgrade said has aggravated the situation in the Balkans. Council president, Russian UN Ambassador Vitaly Churkin, said Monday the body had agreed to the request for the meeting by Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who was to attend the session.
Jeremic called for an urgent meeting “to consider the aggravation of the situation concerning the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohija due to the illegal recognition of this illegal act by some member states of the UN.”
Many countries, including the United States and major European countries like France, Britain, Germany and Switzerland, have recognized Kosovo’s independence from Serbia since its unilateral declaration on February 18.
The United Nations cannot approve or disapprove of a nation declaring independence and recognition of that act is left to individual countries. Kosovo may one day seeks UN membership, but will likely face the veto power of Russia in the Security Council. Russia, an ally of Serbia, strongly opposes Kosovo’s secession from Serbia. Earth Times.
Only 40 countries have recognised Kosovo to date, leaving 200 others which have not done so, including the biggest countries on earth like Russia and Canada and those with the largest populations, China and India. Only a majority of EU countries and the USA have backed Kosovan independence. It is not only Russia as Kosovan and EU propaganda keeps trying to put across. There is now a mess to sort out.