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25 Jul, 2008 21:42

Russian ambassador: UN chief exceeding his authority

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is exceeding his authority and making decisions beyond the UN mandate, said Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin. Ban Ki-moon said the organisation is no longer able to control Kosovo effectively and wants a 2,000

Moon issued a report detailing how the UN Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, will cooperate with the EU, as the latter takes a stronger “rule-of-law” role in Kosovo. This includes deploying a police and justice mission of 2,200, known as EULEX, as the UN cedes most of its responsibilities.

Churkin said that by reconfiguring the UNMIK without the authorisation of the UN Security Council, Ban Ki-moon “exceeded his authority, encroaching into the charter prerogatives of the UN Security Council.”
“We view these attempts as a wish to legalise a structure that would implement the Ahtisaari Plan, which was not approved by the UN Security Council,” Churkin said.

Meanwhile, the Security Council remains deadlocked after two hours of talks about transferring administrative responsibilities from the UN to the European Union.

UNMIK chief Lamberto Zannier addressed the Council saying new circumstances in Kosovo call for the change.

“Since the entry into force of the Kosovo constitution, exercising my legal powers under UNSCR 1244 has become increasingly difficult in practice,” he said.

The U.S. and most European countries have welcomed the UN chief's proposal, while Russia and Serbia have resisted the plans.

Russia, a veto-wielding member, says that according to UN resolution 1244, operational changes in Kosovo must come with Security Council approval.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said his country is willing to negotiate the issue but only with the Security Council approval.

“This process was started without Serbia, this process must not end without Serbia, and this process must not end without the explicit decision of the Security Council,” Vuk Jeremic said.

The UN Secretary General says the UN remains neutral on Kosovo.

However, a Kosovar delegation had a guest seat at the Security Council table on Friday.

“We also made use of this opportunity to express our readiness to engage in direct talks with Belgrade – as two independent and sovereign states – on a number of issues of mutual interest. We are not ready and we will never engage in any talks or dialogue whatsoever on the political status of Kosovo,” said Kosovar Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni.

Serbia's ethnic Albanian-dominated province proclaimed its independence on February 17. Since then it has been formally recognised by 43 UN member states, including the U.S. and most EU members, and is now being dubbed a ‘new reality’.

But Russia has rejected the February proclamation as a violation of international law, calling the so-called new reality ‘a smoke screen’.

“This is a disguised semi-recognition of a unilateral declaration of independence and we do not accept that. For us in the Security Council, the reality is resolution 1244,” said Churkin.