Interview with Elena Guskova

On Friday, the European Union and the United States launched a draft UN Security Council resolution, providing for the effective independence of Kosovo. This comes despite Russia's strong opposition to the plan. The resolution, drawn up by U.N. Envo

Russia Today: We know that Russia is in opposition to this plan and has come up with its own resolution. Could you tell us what’s the difference between these two resolutions.

Elena Guskova: The case is that the draft resolution proposed by the Unites States and most of Security Council members is based on Martti Ahtisaari’s plan and the result of UN commission’s trip that visited Kosovo recently. By the way, the commission’s report is 14 pages long, but the conclusions are very short and they leave room for interpretations. Nevertheless, the proposed draft resolution provides prompt recognition of Kosovo’s independence under the EU’s supervision. It also recognises that most of the standards are observed but still need improvement. Russia’s draft resolution says the standards are not observed and it will take considerable effort to implement the requirements of the Resolution 1244 of year 1994 in corpore – the only reference document for everyone now. Then Martti Ahtisaari’s plan needs to be upgraded and the commission’s conclusions clarified. And last but not the least, Russia suggests going on with the negotiation process, widening its framework so that the results of the process are satisfactory to both sides, not just one, as it happens to be now.

RT: What resolution, do you think, will be adopted?

E.G.: When there is some disagreement in the Security Council over a document being discussed – a document, which everybody knows is going to be blocked – it is never put to a meeting. Then, Russia strongly objects to the U.S.-backed draft resolution and comes out with its own one. And now the process of co-ordinating viewpoints begins. Various diplomatic and non-diplomatic methods will be used here, and most likely this process is going to continue. It is planned that it will last for two weeks, but some analysts suppose that the discussion could last for several months. Anyway, it should be an absolutely new draft resolution.

RT: So we are not likely to see the solution of this problem any time soon. And what about Albanians and Serbs, is their patience wearing thin?

E.G.: Today the position is very open. Everybody speaks about it as everybody eagerly awaits the decision of the Security Council. Today, the Serbs in Parliament examine all the developments of this discussion in the Security Council minute-by-minute. The Albanians are very impatient, they say they are loosing patience, and repeat once more that there are several forces in Albania which are ready to act very aggressively and even start military action, and acts of terrorism, if the draft resolution isn't adopted. They are ready to celebrate their independence already in June – as they were promised.

Earlier Elena Guskova talked to Russia Today on the current state of negotiations on the status of Kosovo.

Russia Today: Considering the firm position both sides are taking how can a solution for Kosovo please both the ethnic Albanians and the Serbs?

Elena Guskova: The peculiarity of this situation is that the Albanians have been promised independence and they are going towards independence since 1999. International organizations have done everything to create in Kosovo a political and administrative system independentl from Belgrade. There have been talks and everything was going fine and smoothly and should have ended with voting in the UN Security Council. But the situation has changed radically in connection with the stand of Russia. We must evaluate this as positive phenomenon, because today we see a beginning of a new stage when decisions are being adopted without haste, as it was in 1992 with the Dayton Peace Accords and Raboillet Agreements, but after profound expert evaluation, and serious discussions, on which Russia firmly insists. I think that for the UN Security Council, this is a breakthrough moment. As for the negotiations, the fruitless result does not mean that there are no solutions to the problem. First of all, this indicates that the talks were poorly organized and we must expand the format at the negotiations at the expense of those questions which have not been discussed and were not examined. We must keep in mind that in late 2006, the contact group simply discarded a number of questions and did not allow them to be considered – namely the division of Kosovo, or resumption of the pre-1999 status, or division between the ethnic groups, which is very effective. Take a look at Cyprus or Croatia in 1991. There are solutions, of course and we must think about that. Everything depends on the objective whether you want to give independence to Kosovo, or you want to solve the problem of stability in the region.

RT: How important is an independent Kosovo for the stability and peace in the region?

E.G.: Those who think that not granting independence to Kosovo would result in a new war are greatly mistaken. The situation is quite the opposite. Granting Kosovo independence would provoke immediate armed riots of Albanians in Macedonia, as there were already in 2001 and Albanians from South Serbia who had also taken up arms. Potentially dangerous is the situation with Albanians in Montenegro and North of Greece. If we think about this unstable region it would be more effective to examine the situation and not to give independence to Kosovo and Metohija.

RT: Marti Ahtisaari proposes this resolution ought to be passed by the UN Security Council. Can it set a dangerous precedent to breakaway republics closer to us like Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transdniester?

E.G.: I know that these self-proclaimed republics put high hopes that if Kosovo receives independence then it would be a green light, so to speak, for them gaining independence, but international organizations and the EU have warned that Kosovo and Metohija are a particular case and nowhere else such a situation will be repeated. Obviously, for each of these regions a separate decision is to be passed. Precisely because of this, we cannot make haste with the decision on Kosovo and Metohija.