Thursday, May 03, 2007

US diplomat says majority of Security Council members back Kosovo independence


LONDON, United Kingdom -- A clear majority of UN Security Council members back a plan that grants independence to Kosovo, US Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said in an interview published on Wednesday (May 2nd). He went on to add that he plans to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov in an attempt to find common ground on the adoption of a UN resolution within the next 30 days. Officials from Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States -- representing the so-called Kosovo Contact Group -- are discussing the matter at the British Foreign Office late Thursday.

(AFP - 03/05/07; RFE, Telegrafi, Balkanweb, RTK, Tanjug, RTS - 02/05/07)


Conference Organizer said...

Kosovo to declare independence by end of May

Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku said he expected his disputed province to declare independence from Serbia by the end of May.

Ceku said there was strong international support for the move even though Kosovo's final status has yet to be agreed by the UN Security Council and Russia has threatened to veto a current plan.

"I expect Kosovo to be able to declare its independence by the end of May," Ceku told a New York Times interview published Monday.

"There is a very strong US commitment to do this," he said, adding that, "It wants to finish the job. Britain's (prime minister) Tony Blair is on board, too."

The European Union's German presidency was also likely to push for a quick resolution of Kosovo's status, Ceku said.

"With the G-8 meeting due to take place in June, I don't think Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany will want G-8 countries to attend the summit without resolving Kosovo's status."

Former US envoy to the Balkans and the UN, Richard Holbrooke, said at the weekend that Washington could unilaterally recognise Kosovo's independence even if Russia vetoes such a move at the United Nations.

"If Russia decides to use its veto (in the UN Security Council), there will be a declaration of independence in Kosovo, and the United States will recognise Kosovo the same day," Richard Holbrooke predicted during a conference in Brussels, adding that he believed several EU states would follow suit.

The ethnic Albanian dominated province in southern Serbia has been under UN administration since mid-1999, after NATO bombing helped to drive out Serbian forces who were waging a brutal crackdown against Albanians.

Its future status is expected finally to be determined in coming weeks as the UN Security Council begins a debate on UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari's plan to hand increasingly impatient ethnic Albanians their wish for statehood.

The Ahtisaari proposals, drafted after he led a year of mostly fruitless talks between Belgrade and Pristina, would grant Kosovo internationally supervised independence, including its own constitution, flag and anthem.

The proposals have the backing of the United States, the European Union, and leaders of ethnic Albanians, who comprise around 90 percent of Kosovo's two million inhabitants.

However Serbia, which sees the province as its historic heartland and has won support from Russia, has rejected Ahtisaari's proposals as a violation of its territorial integrity.

"Russia is using Kosovo to prove it is a player," Ceku claimed in the New York Times interview, adding that he expected to achieve independence for the province even if Moscow tries to block the resolution.

"Our friends who are realistic and countries that have invested soldiers, money and eight years of engagement here, and who are planning to be present, want an end to this unresolved status," he said.

"Why should those countries which have not invested time, money and people here block a UN resolution? Saying no to the Ahtisaari proposal would be a big decision."

Ceku insisted that Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and others countering independence for Kosovo were not working in Serbia's best interest.

"There are Serbian leaders, radicals and politicians who are using Kosovo as a propaganda hit for them," Ceku said.

"On the other side, you have moderate young people who are tired of all these old stories about Kosovo. They want to look forward and join Europe. Serbia is being blocked by the old past," he added.

After the Serbian military left, some 220,000 Serb civilians in the province fled in the face of reprisal attacks by ethnic Albanian extremists that killed dozens. Around 100,000 Serbs remain there.

"The biggest service Kostunica could do for the Kosovo Serbs is to let them go," Ceku said. "As soon as he understands it then he will be a great patriot."

Anonymous said...

Oh please, enough already with Russia!! They are just trying to have their day in the spotlight by threatening a veto.


Too much is at stake in their own country and in other former-Soviet republics for them to get too involved in this volitile issue.

Russia is too weak, even with their vote in the SC.


Conference Organizer said...

UN fact-finding mission chief: Kosovo's ethnic communities remain far apart

NEW YORK, United States -- The head of the UN Security Council fact-finding mission, Belgian UN Ambassador Johan Verbeke, briefed the Council Wednesday (May 2nd) on the results of the recent visit to Pristina, Belgrade, Brussels and Vienna. He told them the Kosovo ethnic Albanian and Serb communities remain split in their views of the future, adding that building a multiethnic society would require a "substantial effort".

Also on Wednesday, some 3,000 Kosovar Albanians rallied in Pristina on behalf of former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who is currently standing a trial before the UN war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army is charged with crimes against fellow Albanians and non-Albanians during the 1998-1999 conflict. (UN website, Tanjug, RFE, RTK, Telegrafi, KosovaLive - 02/05/07)

Anonymous said...

Sejdiu says Kosovo will be independent regardless of Russia's actions at UN


PRISTINA, Kosovo, Serbia -- Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu predicted on Thursday (May 3rd) that Kosovo will be independent despite Russia's opposition at the UN Security Council (UNSC). "Even if a member of the UNSC uses the veto against Martti Ahtisaari's plan, Kosovo will still gain independence, which will be supported by the international community," Sejdiu said during a visit to the western town of Istok. The Security Council is expected to discuss a resolution on the future of Kosovo this month or next.

Also Thursday, German Defence Minister Franz Josef Jung arrived in Kosovo to inspect German peacekeepers deployed with KFOR. He said the peacekeepers are committed to maintaining security in the province as it awaits the decision on final status.

(RFE, RTK, Balkanweb, Kosovalive, Reuters, AP - 03/05/07)

Conference Organizer said...

Janusz Bugajski, ekspert për Ballkanin shprehet se Kina mund të abstenojë, ndërsa Rusia është kundër

Në fund të majit rezoluta e re për Kosovën

Tash kemi një situatë ku Shtetet e Bashkuara mbështesin fuqishëm planin e Ahtisaarit, pjesa më e madhe e vendeve të BE-së poashtu e mbështesin këtë plan, por Rusia kërcënon me veto në Këshillin e Sigurimit. Si e shihni ju gjithë këtë situatë?

Ekziston ndarje brenda Këshillit të Sigurimit. Ju i keni të gjitha vendet evropiane dhe Shtetet e Bashkuara në njërën anë, Kina parashihet të abstenoj, ndërsa Rusia e kundërshton planin. Kjo do të thotë se do të jetë shumë vështirë për ta miratuar Rezolutën e re në Këshillin e Sigurimit. Uashingtoni shpreson që së paku të arrihet minimumi për rezolutë, e cila do ta zëvendësonte rezolutën 12- 44 dhe do të lejonte hapësirë që çon në mundësi që Kosova të lëvizë drejt pavarësisë. Duket se Rusia po kërkon një betejë të gjatë me Shtetet e Bashkuara lidhur me këtë çështje. Mendoj se çështja kryesore është që Uashingtoni dhe Brukseli të ruanjë unitetin absolut për çështjen e statusit. Në këtë situatë Rusia do të ishte në pozitën e pakicës.

Rusia është kërcënuar me veto që ta parandaloj rezolutën e Këshillit të Sigurimit të Kombeve të Bashkluara për statusin e Kosovës. Nëse kjo ndodhë, nga këndëvështrimi juaj, cilët janë skenarët e mundshëm për zhvillimet lidhur me statusin e Kosovës?

Janë dy skenarë të mundshëm. Rusia, pas përpjekjeve për shtyrje të procesit, do ta kuptoj se është e mbivotuar dhe nuk u shërben qëllimeve të saj që të vazhdoj të rezistoj dhe atëherë do të abstenoj nga votimi për rezolutën. Ky është skenari më optimist. Skenari tjetër është që Rusia të vazhdoj të kundërshtoj dhe Shtetet e Bashkuara dhe BE-ja thjeshtë të paraqesin një afat, qoftë ky fundi i muajit maj ose qershori në samitin e G-8-tës, se vendimi duhet të merret. Nëse kjo nuk ndodhë, atëherë procesi do të sillet jashtë Këshillit të Sigurimit dhe Kosova, në esencë, do të lëvizte drejt pavarësisë dhe do të njihej nga Shtetet e Bashkuara, nga shumica e vendeve të BE-së dhe nga shumë vende në mbarë botën. Pra, ky është skenari i mundshëm gjatë dy ose tre muajve të ardhshëm.

Në këtë rast, pra në rast të vetos së Rusisë, sipas jush, cili do të tjetë fati i planit të Ahtisaarit?

Nuk mendoj se do të paraqitet plan për votim nëse dihet se Rusia do të vërë veto. Prandaj, Këshilli i Sigurimit nuk do të marrë vendim, pasi procesi nuk do të shkoj atje. Ajo që mund të ndodhë, edhe me kundërshtimin rus, është se Shtetet e Bashkuara dhe BE-ja do ta mbështesin planin, duke argumentuar fundamentalisht se ky është plan për Evropën, ky është plan që është miratuar nga vendet kryesore të BE-së së bashku me Shtetet e Bashkuara dhe ky është plani më i mirë i mundshëm, në situatë ku çdo shtyrje mund të shkaktoj rritje të jostabilitetit në rajon. Me fjalë të tjera, nuk nevojitet mbështeja ruse për ta pranuar planin.

Pra, sa po kuptoj, me ose pa rezolutë të Këshillit të Sigurimit, ky plan do të implementohet?

Shtetet e Bashkuara janë të vendosura që së bashku me BE-në, ta implementojnë këtë plan. Shumë herë Këshilli i Sigurimit është dashur të anashkalohet, pasi thjeshtë, nuk mund të marë vendime. Pra kemi situatë ku secili vend mund ta bllokoj këtë unitet. Pra, në disa situata Këshilli i Sigurimit thjeshtë është i paralizuar.

Aktualisht ka shumë diskutime për Veriun e Kosovës. Disa thonë se situata është e paqartë, por sipas parimeve të Grupit të Kontaktit, ndarja nuk është opsion. Si i shihni ju zhvillimet në situatat me rezolutë apo pa të?

Mendoj se është shumë me rëndësi për Kosovën, që të jetë një vend, administrata e të cilit e kontrollon gjithë territorin. Mendoj se është shumë e mirë që NATO-ja dhe BE-ja, janë të përkushtuar për ta mbajtur praninë dhe ta mbikëqyrin situatën. Mendoj se është përgjegjësi e NATO-s që të jetë e sigurtë se nuk ka elemente ekstremiste në mesin e komunitetit serb në veri të Kosovës, që përpiqen t'i bllokojnë autoritetet qeveritare. Mendoj se është shumë e rëndësishme që të kontrollohen kufijtë me Serbinë dhe në gjithë këto çështje, misioni i vazhdueshëm i NATO-s me pjesmarjen e Shteteve të Bashkuara do të jetë shumë i rëndësishëm.

Zoti Bugajski, në fund të kësaj interviste dëshiroj t'ju pyes për një orar të mundshëm kohor për statusin e Kosovës. Ambasadori amerikan në Kombet e Bashkuara tha se kjo është çështje javësh....

Mendoj se në fund të majit, Shtetet e Bashkuara do të dëshirojnë që të formojnë vendimin nga Këshilli i Sigurimit, nëse do ta miratoj ose jo paketën e Ahtisaarit. Nëse Këshilli i Sigurimit nuk është në gjendje për ta miratuar, atëherë, Shtetet e Bashkuara së bashku me partnerët në BE, do të veprojnë jashtë këtij organi të Kombeve të Bashkuara. Vërtetë, mendoj se shumica e anëtarëve të OKB-së, shumica e vendeve në Asamblenë e Përgjithshme, përfundimisht do ta njohin Kosovën. Pra, në këtë rast, rusët do të jenë pakicë.

Conference Organizer said...

Diplomatic activity is on the rise as we get closer to the new UN Ahtisaari vote. Veton Surroi has been to Panama and returned with their vote for the Ahtisaari plan. Another member of his party and Kosovo delegation member went to Qatar. He also has secured its support for the Ahtisaari plan. Indonesia is still undecided. There is talk that Indonesia might come on board through an Islamic Conference joint support for the plan.
On the other hand, Kosovo Serb Orthodox Bishop visited South Africa, which is still undecided. Several weeks ago Serbia foreign minister Draskovic assured his public decisively that he had secured the South Africa vote against independence, but apparently he didn't since there was need to do it again. SA UN ambassador stated after the visit to Kosovo that one visit is not enough and they are still thinking about it.

So there it is, a likely Indonesia pro vote, and South Africa is still undecided.

Anonymous said...

Prime Minister of Kosovo Agim Çeku announced yesterday that only “a few weeks separate Kosovo from independence”, Serbian radio B92 said. Mr. Çeku estimated that Russia has no interest to oppose that. In his words, the eventual union in future of Kosovo and Albania is not among the aims of the Kosovo Government. The future of Kosovo is EU and the future capital of Kosovo would be Brussels and not Tirana, Mr. Çeku said.

Anonymous said...

UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari will kick off a tour of Sweden, Germany and the UN headquarters this week to clarify his proposals for the future status of Kosovo.

According to announcements of Ahtisaari's Cabinet, during the visit to Stockholm, he will take part in today's meeting of the Swedish Agency for International Development, due to discuss the future cooperation with Kosovo. Ahtisaari will hold a press conference after the meeting.

Ahtisaari will visit Berlin on Tuesday for talks with German Foreign Ministry's officials, with a main focus on the future status of Kosovo.

He will be heading to New York on Wednesday and is expected to stay there until mid-May.

"During the visit to New York, Ahtisaari will meet with representatives of the United Nations and some ambassadors of the UN Security Council members, Ahtisaari's spokesperson Remiz Durlo said.

The May agenda of the UN Security Council doe snot include a debate on the Kosovo status although the United States announced a Kosovo status debate later this month.

The US and the Western diplomats expect that Kosovo issue be solved by June despite Russia's opposition to Ahtisaari's plan.

Anonymous said...

Serbs protest Kosovo independence

07.05.2007 14:04 GMT+04:00

Serbian police have arrested 27 nationalist demonstrators who said they were recruiting volunteer guards to fight in Kosovo if the breakaway province tries to separate from Serbia.

Several hundred people, including military veterans and former paramilitaries, gathered at a rally Saturday in the central Serbian city of Krusevac to swear allegiance to the "Tsar Lazar Guard". The group, which claims to have enlisted 5,000 volunteers, is named after a medieval Serbian leader who died fighting the Ottoman Turks in the 1389 battle for Kosovo.

The detainees were wearing black T-shirts with the letters JSO, a symbol of a banned paramilitary group from the 1990s. Authorities said they will start legal procedures against them.

Kosovo is part of Serbia, but has been under United Nations administration since 1999 when NATO air raids halted Belgrade’s deadly crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

A UN-mediated plan for Kosovo envisions supervised independence for the region, something many Serbs refuse to accept, because they consider the region Serbia’s historical heartland. More than 90 percent of Kosovo’s population today is ethnic-Albanian, the Voice of America reports.

Anonymous said...

Kosovo Optimistic on Independence Despite Russian Opposition
16 05 2007 Pristina__Despite largely fruitless talks between Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State and Russia’s top officials, Kosovo officials said Wednesday they remain optimistic that Russia will not stop a United Nations’ resolution on the territory’s future status.

“We hope that Russia will see there’s no reason to veto the resolution, and that the process of Kosovo’s status will be finished in a timely fashion,” said Xhavit Beqiri, spokesperson to the Kosovo’s president Fatmir Sejdiu.

Following the meeting on Tuesday, Rice and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin said disagreements over issues such as Kosovo’s future remained.

Russian officials maintain that any plan about the disputed territory must also be acceptable to Serbia.

But at a meeting with local businesspeople on Wednesday, Hashim Thaci, the head of Kosovo Democratic Party, said he believes Kosovo’s independence is a done deal.

“There is no power that can stop the decision made by the US and the European Union, and the strong will of the Albanians to get Kosovo’s independence,” Thaci said in an apparent reference to Russia’s threat to use its veto power in the Security Council.

The resolution on Kosovo’s future, drafted by US and EU countries, which was submitted to the Security Council late last week, is based on the proposal drafted by UN’s special envoy, Martii Ahtisaari, which envisages internationally-monitored independence for the province, something Serbia adamantly opposes.

Anonymous said...

Kosovo Independence Team Squabbles Ahead of Key UN Vote

17 05 2007

Pristina -- Kosovo’s failure to attend a meeting of the world’s Islamic countries has raised tensions between officials negotiating for independence just weeks before a key United Nations decision on the region’s status.

Veton Surroi, head of the ORA opposition party, and a member of the five-member team tasked with negotiating for independence with world powers, accused Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu of acting frivolously and without the consensus of the group by changing his mind over whether to attend.

In the end, Kosovo sent no one to the 34th Islamic Conference of foreign ministers, which featured 57 countries including two Security Council members. It was held on Tuesday in Islamabad.

The Negotiating Team had decided not to attend the Conference, but Sejdiu than changed his mind and told Surroi and Lutfi Haziri, Kosovo deputy Prime Minister, to be Kosovo’s representatives.

"I am glad to confirm that the participating countries in the Conference have unanimously endorsed the resolution, based on the proposal drafted by Martii Ahtisaari, UN’s special envoy", Haziri said at a press conference on Thursday.

But neither Surroi, who was at the time visiting Malaysia as a part of the team's lobbying campaign to gain votes in the Security Council, nor Haziri managed to attend.

The Security Council is expected within weeks to vote on a resolution that endorses monitored independence for Kosovo, as proposed by UN envoy Martii Ahtisaari. Kosovo's mainly Albanian population wants independence, but Serbia backed by Russia is categorically against it.

On his return from Malaysia, Surroi said Sejdiu had acted frivolously by going against the decision of the group.

"The existence of the Negotiating Team creates a new consensus in Kosovo regarding foreign affairs', said Surroi. 'The Negotiating Team has its own mechanisms now which deal specifically with those issues".

Sejdiu countered by saying that the president has the exclusive right to make decisions on foreign policy.

"I know that in the meeting with the team we decided not to attend the conference, but after reconsideration I changed my stand and decided Surroi and Haziri should represent Kosovo there", said Sejdiu.

The Unity Team consists of Sejdiu and Surroi alongside Prime Minister Agim Ceku, Parliament Speaker Kole Berisha and opposition leader Hashim Thaci and is in charge of resolving Kosovo’s final status.

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since 1999 when NATO troops drove out Serb forces, following a conflict between Serbia and Albanian guerrillas.