Western Governments Ignore Russian Opposition to Kosovo Independence

Western Governments Ignore Russian Opposition to Kosovo Independence

On Dec. 10, the mediators responsible for managing the U.N.-supervised negotiations over Kosovo's final status reported to the U.N. Security Council that they had failed to overcome the differences separating the Serbian government and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian majority. "Neither party was willing to cede its position on the fundamental question of sovereignty over Kosovo," the mediators reported. Kosovo's political leaders then announced they would declare independence in early 2008 even without the approval of the United Nations or the Serbian government, which is prepared to offer its nominal province substantial autonomy but not independence.

At the end of the Dec. 19 Security Council session that discussed the troika report, U.S. and EU representatives issued a joint statement declaring that, "The potential for a negotiated solution is now exhausted." The governments of the United States and most members of the European Union have indicated they will recognize Kosovo's independence, probably after Serbia's presidential elections in January and February 2008, provided the Kosovo Albanians protect the rights of the ethnic Serb minority and permit considerable international supervision of their transition process." The Russian government, the Serbs' closest ally, has accused Western countries of preparing to violate international law by acting without a U.N. Security Council mandate.

Earlier this year, Russian opposition effectively blocked implementation of the recommendations on Kosovo's future offered by U.N. Special Envoy Martti Ahtisaari. His Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement did not explicitly advocate granting Kosovo independence, but it would have given the territory its own flag, anthem, constitution, armed forces, and representation in international organizations -- all features characteristic of sovereign states. Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called the Ahtisaari plan "absolutely unacceptable," describing it as an attempt to impose a one-sided solution to the Kosovo issue.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.