Thursday, January 17, 2008

Putin urges consensus on Kosovo

Vladimir Putin has weighed in on the Kosovo situation, saying that any decisions should be negotiated between Kosovo and Serbia, not imposed by outside organizations.

He is referring to stalled negotiations that were being moderated by the United Nations. The European Union and NATO though have decided that the UN negotiations were a failure and have pushed for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia.

Yes, Putin’s position is self-serving – Russia has veto power in the UN and could torpedo any UN-proposed plan for Kosovo’s independence, thus making Russia an important player in any negotiations. But just because his position is self-serving doesn’t mean its also not the correct one.

Recently Mikhail Gorbachev, the last leader of the Soviet Union and a much-respected voice in the West, weighed in on the situation, asking what right the European Union or NATO had in supporting Kosovo’s independence since neither Serbia nor Kosovo are members of either body. He raises a good point. It would be like the European Union telling the United States that it acquired Texas unfairly and should now give it back to Mexico.

Since countries like the US and Germany have already promised to recognize Kosovo once it declares its independence, what motivation is there for them to negotiate a settlement where they remain part of Serbia? Putin and Gorbachev are right when they say that the UN, not the EU or NATO is the proper place to decide what happens between Kosovo and Serbia since Serbia is at least a member of the UN. They’re also right when they say that a rash recognition of Kosovo is likely to spark separatist moves in a host of other nations.
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: