New resolution to delay Kosovo independence plan

An international plan to give Kosovo independence could be postponed for four months in an effort to gain Russia's approval. The United States and European nations have prepared a UN Security Council resolution pushing for the delay, which they plan to ci

Should the document be approved by the 15-nation Council, it would give Kosovo and Serbia another chance to reach an agreement. If they fail to agree, the independence plan drawn up in March by a special UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari will automatically come into effect.

It recommended a supervised independence to the Serbian province, which has been administered by the United Nations since 1999.

According to the plan, the European Union would replace the UN mission, with power to veto laws and dismiss local officials.

Kosovo would have the right to enter into international agreements and seek membership of international organisations, which could include the United Nations.

The envoy's blueprint divided world politics into two camps.

Serbia is clearly against the plan.

Russia, with its strong historical links with the country, is backing Belgrade insisting it would not approve the proposal while Serbia remains opposed. And even now Russia is unlikely to accept the delayed resolution saying it puts no pressure on Kosovars to accept any Serbian proposals.

“Our view of this problem still differs from that of our colleagues abroad. Nevertheless, I have an impression that our arguments are being taken into consideration by my G8 partners,” stressed Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The U.S. administration has been backing Martti Ahtisaari's plan for a long time. Earlier this month, President George W. Bush promised freedom for Kosovo.

“We spent some time talking about Kosovo. The time is now to move the Ahtisaari plan. America believes that Kosovo is to be independent,” said American President George Bush.

The author of the long-debated plan, Martti Ahtisaari, sees the end of the year as an ‘absolute deadline’ for the breakaway Serbian province to become independent.

“I do not think anything could happen without Kosovo starting to implement in any case the plan I have presented. This is almost a prerequisite for them to gain support, should they not get it via the UN,” noted Martti Ahtisaari, the UN envoy to Kosovo.

Experts now say a deal will depend on talks between President Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin at their meeting in July.