BY Pyotr ISKENDEROV
The statement French president Nicola Sarkozy made at the G8 summit in Germany to the effect that the world community should take a 6-month entr’acte in the solving of the status of Kosovo problem to avoid provoking Russia’s veto to the granting independence to that part of Serbia has made quite a ripple. And what a ripple! The French leader as good as disavowed the draft resolution on the score his country tabled at the UN Security Council. The document, approved by both the European Union and the United States had it that the plan of Marti Ahtisaari, the UN General Secretary’s special envoy with its provision of supervised independence for Kosovo, be endorsed as soon as possible.
However, the daring “step” by Monsieur Sarkozy is that only at first sight. The draft resolution hammered on the basis of his propositions contains all the previous attributes, only slightly camouflaged by a 120-day pause he would want for the determination of Kosovo’s status. The compilers of this document (the United States again) needed that delay so that they have time to “pacify” and pull Russia onto their side. Right from the start of the discussions in the UN Security Council Moscow has been insisting that a mutually acceptable decision be made by the Serbian authorities and the leaders of the Kosovo autonomy. As it may seem, the long-awaited provision on holding such negotiations has been included in the resolution of the UN Security Council.
But to call what has been suggested “negotiations” can only be done by the authors of the draft resolution. The thing is that right from the start the document makes such negotiations meaningless. It states that should the negotiations fail to result in a decision on Kosovo’s status within the 120-day period, the Ahtisaaari plan is to be automatically enforced, and the province would be independent. In other words, a new Western plan of “solving” the Kosovo problem has given the Albanian separatists a clear signal: use any pretext to block negotiations with Belgrade, or at least reduce them to mere routine. In line with the current pattern, Serbs would be blamed for stalling the negotiations, and 4 months later - without any further delay - they would declare Kosovo independent as if blessed by the UN Security Council, or ignoring this organisation completely (there is a back-up version of that eventuality).
That the West has already solved the Kosovo issue for itself is evidenced by the open letter published June 15, 2007 by The International Herald Tribune. The letter was signed by a group of former foreign ministers of the leading Western nations, including Canada, Sweden, Australia, Germany, Poland, Denmark, Luxembourg, Holland, France, and of course, the United States. There ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright signed it. The name of the article reads like a challenge: “Kosovo Must Be Independent”. The name “Russia “ is almost more frequent in this letter than Kosovo and Serbia. Mrs.Albright and her company are concerned about the way to talk Russia into agreeing not to oppose the “Ahtisaari plan” rather than finding a just and solid solution of the Kosovo problem. According to the signees, what is needed is only to find a formula that would “allow Russia to give in, avoiding an open break-up with Serbia.” As the former ministers try to reassure, “Russia can persuade the Serbs, stressing that the Kosovo situation is unique, posing no threat of a precedent in other regions.” And indeed, what else do they need Russia for ? Definitely not for making obstacles to the West to act the way it chooses in the Balkans. The new draft resolution was knocked together exactly for the purpose of “making Moscow give in” in this most significant geopolitical issue. Many in the West tend to view Moscow’s adamant position as a bargaining chip.”
Opening a new round of negotiations and simultaneously planning their results is nothing but discrediting the very negotiations process. Right from the start the West and Russia as formally equal sides are to agree to different terms, which is very close to blackmail. And the authors of the resolution do not even bother to disguise this. In the mind of Alejandro Wolff, US Representative at the United Nations, the 4-month term is needed to “allow continuing negotiations that according to a number of members of the UN Security Council can prove fruitful.” In other words, what it is needed is to observe a formal procedure with the result that is known well in advance.
Do the Russian leaders realise what a booby trap is there for them on the hands of the Western supporters of Albanian separatists, who are now resorting to such an attractive idea of holding negotiations? I would hope they do. At least the Russian envoy to the UN Security Council Vitaly Churkin has stated that the “new draft Resolution on Kosovo has not brought us all closer to a platform upon which agreement can be found.” And speaking at the Balkan energy summit Vladimir Putin confirmed that Russia was trying “to create in the region new conditions that would bring about stability, based on the international law that would take into account the interests of all the sides involved.”
This is not the first time that Russia is being forced to give up its Balkans stance. Over the last 150 years Russia has seen many attempts to make it stop supporting our historic allies in the Slav world. The borders of Bulgaria for whose liberation Russian soldiers shed their blood were at stake at the 1878 Berlin Congress. At the 1912-1913 London conference of the ambassadors of great powers Russian diplomats had to fight for every Serbian city and town the western powers were so eager to turn to Albania they created under their aegis. And in the 1990s the Yeltsin Russia became so pliant that it refrained from opposing either anti-Yugoslav sanctions or NATO spellings of Bosnian Serbs in Yugoslavia.
At present the Russian diplomacy is openly invited to take part in a farce with a predestined result. One of these days the clock would start counting the 120 days, after which the terrorist Albanian Kosovo state would be proclaimed with the aftermath of anti-Serbian ethnic cleansings legalised, complete with public humiliation of Serbs, who are still hopeful that “Mother Russia” would lend them a hand. Will Moscow stop the murderous metronome? It is strong enough to do that