Serbia’s Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica has again beaten his chest and attempted to roar. Instead, all that’s come out of his mouth is a pretty weak meow.
Not surprisingly, Kostunica told DPA that it will “reject and annul” any declaration of Kosovo’s independence. Of course, since Serbia’s henchman, Russia, will without question block any Security Council Resolution, Serbia’s “rejection” and “annulment” really don’t mean anything, in light of the fact that the core countries will recognize Kosovo’s independence. Nothing that Serbia or Russia have said have deterred the core countries from recognizing Kosovo’s independence. Nothing will now.
To top off his public relations campaign, Kostunica accused NATO of plans to prop up a “puppet state” on “Serbian soil.” Of course, according to Kostunica, any group that rejects the party line of Serbia and Russia is a “puppet state” of the Americans and the western world. Unfortunately for Mr. Kostunica, it appears then that the majority of countries are “puppet states,” as most have flatly rejected the party line that Serbia and Russia have drawn in the sand. Interestingly, when it comes to “puppet states,” I ask Kostunica how many strings does Russia have attached to his back?
One other Kostunica comment that seals the deal. Russia and Serbia have forged ahead with the position that talks should resume and any decision for a declaration of independence should be delayed. To support that position, Kostunica said, “We can continue negotiating, we are ready for a compromise, but Serbia must be and remain whole.”
Mr. Kostunica: you just answered why there will be no further negotiations. As U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently noted, there really is no point to negotiate further when its clear that any form of Kosovar independence is a nonstarter for the Serbs. Serbia can repeat ad naseaum the “autonomous province” idea or the “joint independence” idea . . . but it’s all the same argument. In the end, Belgrade insists on sovereignty over Kosovo. And it’s that very reason why further negotiations are fruitless. Kosovo was an “autonomous province.” And then we all know what happened. Why would Kosovo enter into such an agreement again, when its clear from both the rhetoric and official policy of Serbia that Kosovar Albanians will always be second-class citizens in the eyes of Belgrade?
Serbia will reject and annul any declaration of Kosovo’s independence, Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said Monday, ahead of his departure for New York and a UN Security Council debate on the breakaway Serbian province. Kostunica again accused NATO of plans to set up a “puppet state” on Serbian soil and added that in New York he would seek to secure a continuation of negotiations on Kosovo’s status. Belgrade insists on sovereignty over Kosovo, where the majority Albanians want independence quickly.
“We can continue negotiating, we are ready for a compromise, but Serbia must be and remain whole,” Kostunica said in a statement. The nationalist premier has fully turned away from the West and toward Russia, which backs Serbia in the Kosovo issue. He said any solution in line with international laws protecting sovereign borders was acceptable, while “we will never give up our right to guard Serbia’s integrity.”
Belgrade and Kosovo Albanians negotiated without any result over most of 2006 and again during the past four months. Serbia offers autonomy as a compromise, but the Albanians, supported by the West, want nothing less than independence. The Security Council is to debate the situation behind closed doors on Wednesday. The body remains divided as Russia supports Serbia, which excludes a solution passing through the UN. Kostunica was set to address the Security Council, but also set to speak was Kosovo’s President Fatmir Sejdiu, though only as an individual, as Russia has blocked his appearance in the name of Kosovo.
Departing Pristina for New York on Sunday, Sejdiu expressed confidence that the status process was nearing a conclusion and said his appearance at the Security Council was “another opportunity to present the vision of an independent Kosovo.” Since NATO ousted Serbia’s security forces from Kosovo in a 1999 bombing campaign aimed at ending ethnic bloodshed, the province has only nominally remained a part of Serbia, occupying 15 per cent of its southernmost soil. The Albanians, making up 90 per cent of the 2.2 million inhabitants, are hostile to Serbia and have threatened to take up arms if they do not win independence. The United States and most of the European Union want to allow independence for Kosovo, supervised and helped along by an EU mission comprising police, justice and customs officials.
Serbia has refused to agree with the mission and said the status quo may not be changed without a UN resolution. The stalemate is expected to produce a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo, followed by a volley of bilateral recognitions of the world’s newest country. (Source: DPA).