Parallels between Kosovo and South Ossetia “inappropriate” – Medvedev

Dmitry Medvedev has warned against inappropriate parallels between the Kosovo events and last summer's Georgian attack on South Ossetia. He said, however, both events proved the failure of the European security system.

The Russian President, who is on his first official visit to Serbia, made his remarks in a speech to the Serb parliament.

“We are categorically against drawing parallels between the Balkan events and the events in the Caucasus,” he said. “As concerns South Ossetia – it’s our unambiguous, absolutely clear position – it about repelling direct military aggression. And what was done by Russia after that, was done in full accordance with the UN Charter.”

Medvedev said that Russia would give “all forms of support to the two young Caucasian states” – Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Moscow recognized the independence of the republics shortly after the Georgian attack.

Meanwhile, Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in February 2008 and the events that followed "have confirmed the inadequacy of attempts to adjust the solution of complex international problems to considerations of notorious political expediency".

"We consider it unacceptable to do what was done in the Kosovo precedent – to use the lack of progress at negotiations as the reason for unilateral actions, including recognition of new international legal entities," Medvedev said.

The Russian leader said the solution to the Kosovo problem should be based upon “the international law, decisions of the UN, resolutions of the UN Security Council and, primarily, Resolution 1244”.

"Russia is ready to continue giving to Serbia all necessary assistance in defending its national interests," he said.

Watch Dmitry Medvedev's speech at the Serbian parliament


President Boris Tadic, for his part, said Serbia is not going to change its stance on Kosovo.

Talking to journalists after a meeting with Medvedev, he said "We will calmly wait for the verdict of the International Court [on the Kosovo status] and will then be ready to start the talks with Albanians on the future of the autonomy”.

”But Serbia will never – directly or indirectly – recognize Kosovo independence," the Serbian president said.

Medvedev calls for drafting rules on conflict settlement

Medvedev suggested that a new European security treaty should lay down clear rules for the prevention and peaceful settlement of conflicts.

"Lessons of the past warn us against repeating former mistakes and seeking far-fetched pretexts for altercations. Instead, we should unite in the face of new threats,” he said.

“That is the reason for the Russian initiative for a new, efficient system of European security and a related treaty,” he went on.

“In fact, we suggest legalization of the political agreements reached at the OSCE and the Russia-NATO Council. These agreements imply that security of one country cannot be ensured at the expense of others," Medvedev said.

The Russian president said that the Balkan crisis and last August's events in the South
Caucasus, “which resulted from the aggression of the Saakashvili Regime”, showed that the existing security system was inefficient and needed modernization.

“The drafting of the European security treaty would start the formation of equal security on the Euro-Atlantic space and provide equal and reliable guarantees for all countries, regardless of their affiliation to particular military units," he said.

Rewriting WW2 history is “disgusting”

Medvedev’s visit to the Serbian capital coincides with the 65th anniversary of the liberation of Belgrade from Nazi Germany. Addressing the Serbian parliament, the Russian leader said attempts to equally blame Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union for the beginning of WW2 are “disgusting”.

"Europe failed to deter the Third Reich. A number of states supported and even fought for the Hitler regime. Some countries chose collaboration and helped the Hitler military machinery with supplies,” Medvedev said.

He went on to say, “The responsibility of those political administrations is also obvious: the number of victims of the Nazis might have been much smaller if not for their support."

"Everyone, especially those who are trying to rewrite history for their advantage, must remember that,” Medvedev stated.

The Russian leader said “Distorting history is an unpleasant or even disgusting business”. He added that Russia considers such attempts “as disregarding the Nuremberg Trials and a blasphemy as regards victims of the most terrible war of the 20th century."