Indonesia proposes solution to Kosovo row

Rather than directly supporting or rejecting independence for Kosovo, Indonesia has suggested the province be treated the same way as other ex-Yugoslavian territories in terms of independence and European Union membership (EU).

Speaking in front of lawmakers Monday, Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan Wirayuda said that both the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should not rush into making a decision on Kosovo’s independence.

Instead, a time line for independence should be set to reduce sovereignty complications, in accordance with plans to grant EU membership to ex-Yugoslavian countries, including Serbia.

“Therefore, Serbia, Kosovo and other ex-Yugoslavian countries would all be under the EU umbrella.

“Instead of punishing Serbia for rejecting Kosovo’s independence by prolonging the time it takes for the nation to be granted EU membership, the grouping could provide an incentive to Serbia by promising a membership,” he said.

Hassan said he agreed in part with the EU’s argument Kosovo should be viewed as a special case. The EU has argued Kosovo’s independence would be a continuation of independence granted to other ex-Yugoslavian states and therefore could not be used as a precedent by other separatist movements demanding independence.

However, he said it was difficult for Indonesia to accept the disintegration of a sovereign state, with state sovereignty protected under the UN Charter.

“If the UN Security Council declares a part of a sovereign state an independent entity, it will set a dangerous precedent for developing countries facing separatism threats,” he said.

Many experts have argued that a UN Security Council decision to grant Kosovo independence would set a legal precedent that parts of sovereign states could become independent.

Indonesia is currently grappling with separatist movements in Aceh and Papua. It granted independence to Timor Leste in 1999.

The EU and the United States, based on a proposal from Finland’s former president Martti Ahttisaari, have openly supported a plan for the internationally supervised independence of Kosovo, a southern province of Serbia that has been UN-ran since the end of the 1998-1999 conflict.

Belgrade has won backing from traditional ally Moscow in its opposition to calls for Kosovo’s independence. Most Serbs consider the province the cradle of their nation’s history, culture and religion.

Russia, a veto-wielding permanent UN Security Council member, has rejected three Council resolutions based on an independence proposal presented by UN special envoy Ahtisaari in March.

Belgrade broke off diplomatic ties with Washington in 1999, at the start of a U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia to halt a crackdown by Serb forces against Kosovo Albanians.

Diplomatic relations were re-established between the two sides in late 2000 after the ouster of late Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic and his autocratic regime.
Source: Abdul Khalik, The Jakarta PostJakarta Post

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