Moscow reviews new Kosovo plan
The third attempt by the UN to reach a compromise with Russia on Kosovo has already come under fire – Russia’s foreign minister says behind the diplomatic rhetoric lurk the original stumbling blocks.
“The ornate maze of diplomatic parlance barely conceals the conclusion that after 120 days the Ahtisaari plan should take effect in practical terms, regardless of whether or not the sides agree. Russia will be only able to support a version of the resolution on Kosovo that takes account of both sides' interests – Pristina and Belgrade,” reiterated Mr Lavrov.
Unlike its predecessors, the resolution claimed to hold no promise of automatic independence, even if the 120 days allotted for talks do not end in an agreement.
Russia maintains Kosovo should not be split from Serbia without Belgrade’s consent. It threatened to veto UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari’s plan drafted at the end of March – which set a roadmap for internationally supervised independence for Kosovo.
Serbia also rejected this plan – while it was widely accepted by Kosovo Albanians.
Martti Ahtisaari’s resolution would also allow Kosovo to join international institutions – a clause absent from the latest draft.
But eight years down the line there is a clear feeling of urgency. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon has warned further delay is dangerous.
Kosovo’s leader Agim Ceku has even suggested sidestepping the UN – saying time was running out.
But EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana believes the UN can reach a solution, and expressed hope for an agreement with Russia – something experts see as crucial to the future of the region.
“I think American and Western European politicians understand that Russia’s use of its power to veto would be highly destructive and they specifically want to reach a mutual decision,” believes Sergey Romanenko from the Russian Academy of Sciences.
Meanwhile Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has given a firm response to a statement from the UN envoy for Kosovo, Marti Ahtisaary. Mr Lavrov took issue with quotes in the Finnish media saying that if Russia blocks negotiations over the status of Kosovo it would weaken its international status.
“I have not heard that statement. But if it was actually made, I consider it to be inappropriate. I think that if such a statement is hurting some country’s international image – it’s definitely not Russia’s,” the Russian minister stated.