In a recent article, Reuters reported that "Serbia is convinced Russia will knock down a plan giving supervised independence to the breakaway Kosovo province with a "historic veto" at the U.N. Security Council, Serbia's prime minister said..." In fact Vojislav Kostunica went on to say that once the veto is exercised, a new "mediator" will be appointed to negotiate Kosova's future, one that will keep it part of rump Serbia.
So what will the Sercurity Council decide in the coming weeks? Here are some excerpts from international media sources commenting on Russia's decision whether to veto or not-to-veto.
The Economist: "The Russians know that the Serbs and Kosovo Albanians will never agree...if Russia blocks a new resolution, Kosovo will declare independence anyway—and the Americans will “probably” recognise it...Many Muslim countries will follow..."
International Herald Tribune: Russian Ambassador Churkin said "the UN should reject Ahtisaari's conclusion and turn to someone with the capacity to keep negotiations open." Asked if Russia was threatening to use its veto against the plan, Churkin said, "Veto is a very big word so I don't want, of course, to use it before the day comes to take a vote."
Balkan Investigative Reporting Network: "Russia is more interested in power games with the West than with Kosovo - and note that the Kremlin is being cautious about committing itself to using the veto ... Russia has particular concerns about separatism in the Caucasus, where it has been fighting an independence movement in Chechnya for years ... “If we see that one of the parties is not happy with the solution, we will not support it,” Putin told a forum of the world’s top security officials in Munich."
Washington Post: "Putin says Russia will not support anything that the Serbs oppose. If this means a Russian veto in the Security Council, or an effort to water down or delay Ahtisaari's plan, the fragile peace in Kosovo will evaporate within days, and a new wave of violence -- possibly even another war -- will erupt."
Radio Free Europe: "Russia's ambassador to Serbia, Aleksandr Alekseyev, told the private B92 television channel Lon December 4 that if a proposed status solution is not acceptable for both sides, the Russian side will use its right of veto."
The Guardian: There is disagreement on Belgrade's role and how to handle Russia's potential for blocking Kosovo's independence. (It was the threat of a Russian veto that prevented Nato seeking UN authorisation before the 1999 war.) ... Russia is a bigger problem. If Putin cannot be persuaded that Kosovo needs independence, the rest of the world should recognise the new state anyway. Kosovo can go without a UN seat - the only major consequence of a Kremlin veto.
Worldpress: "Russia has already stated that it will not recognize the independence of Kosovo and it will veto such a resolution in the Security Council ... Russia supports independence for the provinces of North Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia. Therefore, Moscow aims to win either way. Should Kosovo become independent it would claim a precedent for its claims in Georgia. It would always be able to exert its influence in Belgrade and possibly seek a more energetic role in southeastern Europe."
United Press International: "U.S. Undersecretary Nicholas Burns was commenting on Russian Ambassador Alexander Alexiev's statement in Belgrade Monday claiming Moscow will veto a decision on Kosovo unless it is acceptable to both the Serbian government and the leaders of Kosovo ethnic-Albanians in Pristina."
CNN: "Ahtissari's plan faces an uncertain future in the Security Council, which is split on the issue. Russia supports Serbia and has implied it could use its veto power if Belgrade's interests are not addressed."
The Washington Times: A Russian diplomat to the European Union said last month that Moscow would oppose any "imposed solution," and the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday that an independent Kosovo would "impose severe and serious complications on the stability of Europe."