Split within the EU around Kosovo

Foreign ministers of the 27-member European Union failed on Friday to reach consensus on a United Nations proposal for Kosovo’s supervised independence.

Slovakia, Spain and Greece, who feared that independence of Kosovo will trigger demands for similar treatment by other minority groups in Europe, are opposed to the proposal raised by former Finnish president Martti Ahtisaari
Serbia rejected the proposed independence of Kosovo sought by Albanian majority in the Serbian republic. Foreign ministers from several EU members told the meeting that they also worried Ahtisaari’s plan will further strain relations with Serbia.

However, the ministers agreed to press for a rapid adoption of a UN Security Council resolution on the proposal, which is also opposed by Russia and China.

The EU foreign ministers welcomed the opening of talks on a new resolution in New York. In the Security Council, the EU will present its joint position on Kosovo in an “active and united manner,” said a press release following their meeting on Friday.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon submitted early this week to the Security Council the proposal for a Kosovo status settlement. Ahtisaari recommended that Kosovo’s independence be supervised for “an initial period” by the European Union with NATO military forces and the European police.

Ban Ki-moon, submitting the proposal to the UN Security Council,said the recommendations had his full support.

Germany, which holds the EU presidency, supports the plan. The EU “strongly supports” the proposal, a statement issued Monday by the German EU presidency said.

“His proposal for a Kosovo status settlement is designed to foster the building of a multi-ethnic, democratic society in Kosovo based on the rule of law,” the statement said.

After 11 hours of heated discussion on Friday, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said the UN resolution should “respect the legitimate interests” of both Serbia and Kosovo.

“The Kosovo status settlement marks the final act in the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia,” he said during the press conference late Friday.

“Not until this outstanding issue in the Balkans is resolved can we achieve lasting political stability and economic development in the region,” he said.
Source-Editor: Luan Shanglin-Xinhua-

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