Kosovo is spiraling out of control

By Mikhail Logvinov

The European Union has openly promised to recognize Kosovo’s independence.

Christina Gallach, a spokeswoman for European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, said that if Russia rejects the Kosovo independence plan, Brussels will assume responsibility and make an appropriate decision.

She made this statement to the Serbian media late last week, adding that the region’s future lay with the EU, not Russia, and that it was a European problem. Therefore, Gallach said, the EU will make a decision if need be, but only with the UN Security Council’s consent. Kosovo should not become a hostage to Moscow.

Trying to prevent the partition of its long-time Slavic ally – a dubious decision from the viewpoint of international law – Russia has found itself in the minority. Both Washington and Germany, current president of the EU, have supported Kosovo’s independence for several years now. Last Tuesday, Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik also promised to back Kosovo’s desire to secede.

At the same time, this step may escalate ethnic tensions in Europe. With overt support from advocates of Kosovo’s independence, the West has been discussing crisis scenarios that should give a legal seal to tough actions against Belgrade. A UN representative from Germany in the Serbian province said in one of his appeals for aid that the situation might go out of control.

Kosovo’s potential independence is part of the second wave of ethnic self-determination in Europe, which started with the separation of Montenegro and threatens to spill over to other areas with a fragile ethnic balance. Hungarians living in Romania, Slovakia and Serbia are also striving for autonomy. Slovakia, for one, is resisting the Hungarian separatist plans. Those countries whose territorial integrity is threatened are against the current European trend.

A recent statement by the former wartime chief of staff of the Kosovo Liberation Army, Agim Ceku, has given a renewed sense of urgency to EU foreign policy in the Balkans. He declared that in the event of further delays, “the government of the Serbian province will be compelled to declare independence unilaterally.” No doubt, this decision would destabilize the region. Ceku believes that the Kosovo government would rather not take this step for fear of losing its legitimacy in the eyes of the international community, but the situation in Kosovo may dictate otherwise.

March 2004 saw massive unrest and clashes between Serbs and Albanians. Very few people are aware that these disturbances were provoked and staged by Kosovo’s organized criminal groups with a view to speeding up its independence. Reports from the German federal intelligence service confirm that representatives of Kosovar and Serbian organized crime planned these clashes.

The Kosovo government’s declared intention to undertake some action is therefore acquiring a sinister tinge, all the more so because it is closely linked with criminal organizations in the Balkans, as the same reports bear out. If the attempts to influence European public opinion and the political elite follow the 2004 scenario, the EU will demonstrate its inability to influence the situation in the former Yugoslavia. The international community should view this as a sign that the Kosovo issue is spiraling out of control.

Source: RIA Novosti

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