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“Unique Case” of Kosovo

12.12.2007 15:06

Roman Shilov

On the Christmas Eve Europe found itself in the focus of the global political life. Question No.1: to recognize or not to recognize Kosovo?

The Kosovo problem that is in general similar to analogous conflicts, has a distinguishing feature: stubborn hastiness of certain heads of state and first of all the United States to unilaterally recognize independence of the Kosovo Region and subsequently make it a full-pledge member of the European Union.

We have to accept that failures at negotiations and persistent British and American efforts to impose an option of immediate “unique” Kosovo problem solution in favor of Albanians on the international society are paid off. Today, the number of those who are confident of the near “victory” of the Albanian party, supported by Bush et al, is growing.

However, an absolute majority of experts is sure that this victory may become the Pyrrhic one (it is predicted even by American political analysts). These concerns are well-justified.

Firstly, the Serbian Government claimed that it will receive such outcome as a direct menace to the national security, and will make all international-legal and diplomatic efforts to return Kosovo.

Meanwhile, neighboring Bosnia is facing not less grave situation. 12 years after signing the Dayton Agreement to end the war in Bosnia there is a high probability that Serbian politicians will proclaim independence of the Serbian part of Bosnia should Kosovars proclaim independence of Kosovo. In case of such unilateral severance about 150,000 Moslems who returned to their homes will become in danger. By the American criteria, the situation is “unique”.

It seems that the NATO leadership still fails to understand the need to enhance the alliance peacekeepers’ presence in Kosovo. At the same time, there are still no serious transatlantic discussions on the Bosnia issue in spite of the fact that both US Ambassador in Sarayevo Charles English and Deputy High Representative for Bosnia Raffi Gregorian warned on this danger. “Bosnia may face a challenge to survival in the nearest months if not weeks”, Gregorian said addressing to the US Congress in November 2007. But nobody cared of his warning.

It is hardly believable that the Old World for its own peace again “will have to pacify” disobedient Serb Republic with American Tomahawks.

Secondly, besides Albanians themselves “Albanian” Kosovo will be beneficial only to the United States that will not directly suffer from a conflict in other continent. Certain analysts believe that the main US benefit is occurrence of another puppet-state in Europe, which vote or veto may be used by the USA at its own discretion. For instance, a step of this kind was taken by Poland that vetoed membership of Russia in the WTO this year. After his meeting with Condoleezza Rice President of Kosovo Fatmir Seidiu also confirmed readiness of Prishtina “to coordinate” its activities with the European Union and USA.

And the last but not least, the future reaction of parties involved in similar conflicts worldwide is “not clear”. Today, everybody notes that recognition of independence is a kind of evasion from actual settlement of the Kosovo problem.

At the current stage the essence of the conflict is that Albanians expelled Serbs by force to make Kosovo population almost monoethnic, and are going to proclaim independence also by force. Regardless of the consequences for the particular case, this precedent will become the most dangerous event for the world after the A-bomb invention.

Experts explained many times that the principle of inviolability of frontiers will be null and void in this case. It is not difficult to imagine the consequences – just see the world list of territories with separatist sentiments, starting with Quebec and Scotland and ending with rather unstable areas where the civilized divorce as it was in Czechoslovakia is impossible. There is no need to list them all (starting from Ossetia, Abkhazia, Karabakh, Kurdistan, Uygurs) it is enough to understand that the most famous conflicts will not be the last ones.

Therefore all current proposals on Kosovo should be dealt seriously. Not only Kosovars and Serbs need a compromise – the world community also has no other option. Today, the world is at a deadlock: the nations striving for the freedom should get it – the right to self-determination; but they are not allowed to get it – the separatism. Nevertheless, the sands are running out, and the number of self-declared secessionists is growing.

Perhaps, it is worth listening for the opinion of Russia and certain other European countries that being in a hurry to support independence of Kosovo the world community may make a lot of blunders that could be hardly rectified. Meanwhile the civilized and, let’s agree, difficult negotiations between Albanians and Serbs mediated by the world powers may become an option that is needed to the world, a difficult but the only possible compromise on the way to determination of a final status for Kosovo.