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Russia Will Delay and Dilute Western Plan for Kosovo — Diplomats

posted by zaina19 on March, 2007 as Imperialism

From: MSN NicknameEagle_wng  (Original Message)    Sent: 3/15/2007 9:26 AM
Russia Will Delay and Dilute Western Plan for Kosovo — Diplomats


According to Western diplomats Russia is determined to delay and dilute, but not necessarily block, a proposal backed by the West for the independence of Serbia’s breakaway Kosovo province, the Reuters news agency reported Thursday.
The plan to give the Albanian majority province independence supervised by the European Union should reach the U.N. Security Council in April, eight years since NATO bombed to drive out forces under late Serb leader Slobodan Milosevic.
Russia says the solution must be acceptable to its Balkan ally Serbia as well as the 90-percent Albanian majority. But U.N. mediator Martti Ahtisaari on Saturday declared dead the search for Serb-Albanian agreement after 13 months of dialogue.
The United States and European Union have set an unofficial deadline of June, when Germany’s EU presidency ends, to adopt a new resolution endorsing Ahtisaari’s plan and mandating the EU to take over from the U.N. mission. NATO allies heading 16,500 troops in Kosovo fear waiting much longer would spark unrest.
Moscow said the decision to end talks was “premature” but has avoided threatening the use of its Security Council veto.
“Part of the Russian proposal is to start implementing the so-called technical parts of the package starting with decentralization, protection of minorities in the framework of current U.N. resolution 1244,” said a senior Western diplomat.
Alex Anderson of the International Crisis Group think tank said Russia’s tactics were about “both delay and trying to change the terms of the package”.
Moscow’s stance is in line with an increasingly assertive foreign policy. It appears determined to buy time for Serbia which is bogged down in talks on forming a new coalition government and serve notice to Washington and Brussels that it cannot be expected to roll over so easily.
U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244 has governed Kosovo since June 1999, after 11 weeks of NATO bombing drove out Serb forces. Ten thousand Albanians died and almost one million fled Serbia’s 1998-99 war with Albanian separatist guerrillas.
Kosovo became a U.N. protectorate, but 1244 reaffirmed Serb sovereignty over the territory.
The West now wants to replace it with a new resolution endorsing the Ahtisaari plan unveiled in February. It would free Kosovo to declare independence within the year, becoming the last state to be carved from the former Yugoslavia.
Serbia says the idea of amputating the heart of its medieval kingdom represents a “brutal violation of the U.N. charter”.
But the Russian proposal could allow Belgrade to save face, selling the solution to Serbs as a lifeline for Kosovo’s frightened Serb minority while postponing the fight against independence for another day.
Russia’s proposal amounts to “a prolongation of the status quo”, the diplomat said. “We would immediately face major security problems.”
A second diplomat close to Ahtisaari said he was aware of the idea but that the Russians “haven’t made a formal proposal”.
A senior Russian diplomat declined to comment on Russia’s possible strategy at the U.N. Security Council. But he said Moscow was against setting artificial deadlines. “Moscow will not be party to any attempt to impose a solution,” he said.

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