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19 Feb, 2008 16:16

Several Kosovo-Serbian border posts destroyed

In Kosovo NATO peacekeepers have been sent to the frontier with Serbia. There have been several security incidents at border posts. A number of border posts have been damaged or destroyed. There have also been some explosions.

Reports say Serbs who oppose the independence of the region were responsible for the incidents. After centuries of conflict, Serbs and Albanians living in Kosovo see its future differently. While Albanians celebrate the province's declaration, the Serbian minority living in Kosovo fear that an uncertain future lies ahead of them.

Russia’s position

Russia has warned the U.S. that Kosovo’s declaration of independence endangers international stability.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made his comments during a telephone conversation with his U.S. counterpart Condoleezza Rice, during which he stressed Moscow’s position on Kosovo.  

He says Pristina's unilateral declaration of independence is unacceptable and will have serious consequences, as it destroys the principles of peace and order.

Political analyst Artyom Ulunyan says the recognition of Kosovo sets a dangerous precedent.

“I suppose they are afraid of the domino effect, particularly in international relations and particularly in the Balkan region, since many Balkan countries have the same problem with national minorities. It will be used a precedent for those who would like to proclaim independence and the second step, of course, they would demand so-called equality in the rights. On their side that means only one thing: they will appeal to the international community, first of all, and to Russia. Everything will depend on the Russian side. What steps will be taken on the Russian side?” said Ulunyan.

Countries split on Kosovo

Meanwhile, Serbia has called on the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe to condemn Kosovo's declaration of independence. The OSCE Council has convened at Serbia's request.

The U.S. and the leading European countries have already recognised Kosovo as an independent state.

The EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana called Kosovo a friend of European Union during his surprise visit to the region, when he met Kosovo's leaders. He says the EU peacekeeping mission is about to start operating in the region. UN forces will also stay in Kosovo.

In New York, The United Nations Security Council has failed to reach an agreement on how to treat the self-proclaimed republic. Six of the Security Council members, including Russia and China, refused to recognise Kosovo's move as legal.

Serbia is recalling its ambassadors from the countries which have already recognised the independence of Kosovo.