EYELESS IN PRISTINA: A RESPONSE TO MORTON AMBRAMOWITZ
“The west must ignore Belgrade’s siren song. Serbian politics will be chaotic and unstable for the foreseeable future, and Serbian politicians will attempt to present this as an excuse to avoid facing the loss of Kosovo. Likewise, there will be problems establishing ties between Serbia and Kosovo under any circumstances..
But failure to proceed definitely now on Kosovo’s final status will produce a worse Balkan situation, one that blocks Serbia’s move toward the west and ultimate membership in the EU, condemns Kosovo’s ethnic minorities to dangerous ambiguity, and imperils fragile states like Bosnia and Macedonia.
No realistic solution exists for Kosovo but independence. If Serbia wants to join the west, it must not forsake that opportunity by trapping itself in its nationalist past.”
“Another Balkan High Noon” by Abramowitz & James Lyon, in www.crisisgroup.org
As per the week-end edition of the Financial Times, the USA, has sent a ‘special envoy', Frank Wisner, a highly experienced and esteemed State and Defense Department official, who was appointed in December 2005, to be Washington’s man overseeing the Kosovo Final status talks, to Pristina (on sending Wisner to Pristina see: www.ft.com; on the announcement of the appointment, see: www.state.gov). As per the Financial Times, the thinking is that the USA, and the other members of the ‘contact group’(Germany, France, the UK) with the vital exception of Russia, will seek some type of ‘managed’ or ‘conditional’ independence’ for Kosovo, in which the former Serbian province, will remain under ‘international protection and guidance possibly for three additional years’. As the Financial Times, like almost every other commentator, for quite awhile now, goes on to say: ‘the US and Europe are wondering what price President Putin will exact at the UN Security Council in exchange for consenting to Kosovo’s Independence or whether he will block the process completely.” Indeed, as per Putin himself, in a meeting back in September of this year, noted:
“He said he did not rule out using a veto in the Security Council if the question of Kosovo's independence came up without taking Serbia into account. “It is an extreme measure, of course, but it does not exist to simply lie about in a chest,” Putin said. He suggested that recognizing Kosovo's independence may lead to a further fracturing of the region. "In the case of Kosovo we need to think about what will happen in the region in the future if the independence of the state is legally fixed. In the case of Iraq, we were also told that everything would be fine and today we see in northern Kurdistan that only Kurdish flags are being raised. Did we think about this? We should have."
See: 10 September 2006, “A Dinner with Putin” in www.russianprofile.org .
Wise and intelligent words indeed! Certainly much more so than those emanating from Messers. Abramowitz and Lyon, from the Brussels based, International Crisis Group. Or it would appear from the America State department, which as per the Financial Times, may “be encouraged by the US to consider making a unilateral declaration of independence”. A very dangerous suggestion indeed. Hopefully, not one given, much less acted upon. Any such ‘declaration,’ would by definition result in, most likely several consequences all from bad to worse. First, a possible counter declaration by the Serbs living in the northern section on Kosovo, as well as more likely, the Serbs living in the Serb dominated, sector of Bosnia. With the potential of restarting the again, the Bosnian war. Other consequences would be similar declarations by Russian supported statelets in South Ossetia, Abkhazia & Transdnestr (on the latter possibility see: www.eurasianet.org).
Such consequences, make it all the more necessary, contra to the thinking of both some inWashington and to our friends in Brussels, at the ICG, to follow the wise words of Grazdanin Putin. To wit, that the wishes of Belgrade must be taken into account, in coming to any decision about the future status of Kosovo. The idea that the West, aka the Contact Group, sans Russia, can just impose some type of diktat, or force majeure on Serbia is utterly foolish and dangerous. The last thing that Europe or even the USA, needs at this point, with crises going on in Iraq, North Korea and Persia, is for one to erupt in Kosovo. What is needed above all else, is for some type of modus vivendi to be negotiated, between the two concerned parties. Taking into account both sides concerns and interests. Talking down to Belgrade, de haute en bas, is absolutely out of the question. Any more, I might add, that one could imagine doing so, vis-`a-vis Pristina. Otherwise, I am afraid, that there might indeed, be the possibility of the Western Balkans again reclaiming our attentions, in the most negative way possible.