Russia, in a return to true iron fist form, not only used its veto power to thwart Kosovo independence through the Security Council, but promised to do all it can to shut Kosovo out of all international groups, such as the United Nations. Put another way, Russia said to Kosovo, “No U.N. for you!” When the foam from the mouth of Russia’s ambassador to the U.N. Vitaly Churkin cleared, Boris Tadic took his turn at the podium at the U.N., vowing that Serbia will never ever ever ever recognize Kosovo’s independence.
A lot of table thumping. A lot of beating chests. A lot of fighting words. But this was certainly no Adlai Stevenson moment. It was something a lot more anti-climactic.
To put it simply, it was just noise. Or more precisely, it was just a competition between Russia and Serbia of who could become the most irrelevant in the future status of Kosovo. I think Russia won that battle. Serbia is not too far behind.
Those thoughts, too, must have passed through Kosovo’s Prime Minister Hasim Thaci’s mind when he was at the U.N. podium. With both a smile and a tempered tone, Thaci was not baited by either Tadic or the earlier statement by Churkin. He had the confidence of someone who has all the right chess pieces in place and, like a professor to a student, knew that the tirades came from those whose King was in a near mate position.
After all, Kosovo has the backing of both the European Union and the U.S. Thaci knew he had two Queens on his board to Russia and Serbia’s zero queens. To Thaci, he needs neither Russia nor Serbia in his pocket for Kosovo to gain independence. Surely, no matter what Kosovo did, Russia and Seriba would never be on Kosovo’s side . . . so why bother? Why continue negotiating? Enough is enough.
If you could visualize it, that was the expression on Thaci’s face.
Russia, which has used its UN Security Council veto powers to stall Kosovo independence, promised to go one step further. If the rebel province declares independence from Serbia, Russia will see to it that the country is shut out of international groups.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said on Wednesday, Jan. 16, Kosovo “would not become members of the United Nations, they would not become members of international political institutions if they go down the road of unilateral declarations.”
Serbian President Boris Tadic confirmed those sentiments the same day in a speech to the UN Security Council vowing that his country would never recognize the country’s sovereignty. Talks between Serbian and Kosovar leaders held in 2006 and 2007 failed to bring the hostile sides any closer to a mutually acceptable outcome of the province. The US and Britain reaffirmed their support for Kosovo’s independence at a UN Security Council meeting Wednesday. The meeting replayed a December debate about Kosovo’s future.
The UN and NATO have administered the province since 1999.
Russian and Serbian threats have failed to dissuade Kosovo from pushing for independence. The newly-elected government has indicated the country will declare independence after the first round of elections in Serbia’s presidential race on Jan. 20.
“I am sure that the decision will be taken very soon,” Kosovo’s newly elected Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said in addressing the UN body Wednesday. Kosovo is counting on backing from the US and Europe, which have both said they would support a plan for European Union-supervised independence.
Any resolution on Kosovo’s status requires both Belgrade and Pristina’s support, Russian President Vladimir Putin was quoted by the Kremlin as saying on Thursday. “Our position is extremely clear. Any resolution on Kosovo should be approved by both sides,” Putin said. “It is also clear that any resolution on Kosovo will set a precedent in international practice.” (This article was published by DW-World.De and can be found here,