Bolton on Kosovo

Published on November 13, 2007, The Wasington Realist

Category: Growing International Opposition to Imposed Solution

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton tells Voice of America:

While Serbia is trying to establish an effective and functional democracy regarding human rights and other issues, the anti-Serbian policy has continued, especially with regard to Kosovo, where a decision in favor of its independence could only create other concerns, and such a decision could impact on the democracy in progress in Serbia, and the possibility that the Security Council would step beyond its authority, which would be very unfortunate. This is one of the numerous examples of behavior by the State Department, which is a problem the next President has to solve.

VOA: In your opinion, what is the most important reason for US support for Kosovo independence?

Bolton: It is an attitude inherited from the 1990s from the policy of the former administration, when some parts of former Yugoslavia, according to legitimate and historic reasons, wanted their independence and their own road to democracy. This trend has continued, so now you have smaller and smaller entities asking for independence, but such a policy is the opposite of democracy. I think that now this has been spotted much better in Europe than it has been here in the United States.

VOA: If the US recognizes a unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence, how could that affect Washington’s relationship with Russia or relations with some countries of the European Union and on the international level in general?

Bolton: I hope that the United States will not recognize a unilateral declaration of Kosovo independence, although I think that things are currently moving in that direction, and I am afraid that it could cause more damage than it can bring good in the Balkans. Such a decision, which would be taken under threat of violence, would actually represent a way to reward bad behavior. The issue of Kosovo should be solved by two parties at the negotiation table. I understand that strong positions are taken regarding the issue by both sides - Albanian and Serbian. These are and will be tough negotiations in order to reach a solution which would satisfy both parties, but this is much better than to impose a solution on one side or the other, based on a wrong understanding of the situation.

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