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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Serbia Wins World's Sympathy

The International Herald Tribune explains that the task of getting Kosovo recognised by the world is crucial if the EU is to make Kosovo's declaration of independence stick. While some countries like Australia have quickly fallen into line and declared recognition, others are delaying their decision, and are expressing strong sympathy for Serbia.

The initial optimism and celebratory mood about Kosovo inside the EU is already gone, as violence is now a daily occurrence in Kosovo with EU and UN property natural targets. It is only luck so far which has prevented any human casualties.

Reports from around the world also show that the EU's attempts to achieve Kosovan recognition are likely to be met with firm diplomatic resistance. Russia and China have taken against Kosovo's independence imediately as reported in the BBC. But what is not being reported in the West so far is the growing and significant opposition to what they have done in many other countries.

The EU is saying that they expect that in 4 to 5 months time, things will look very different, and that countries that have expressed doubts will begin to fall into line. In fact the opposite is happening. As the reality of what the EU has done hits home around the globe, opposition to the EU and sympathy to Serbia is growing.

Take India. The Hindu 19th February

NEW DELHI: With battle lines drawn over Kosovo declaring full independence from Serbia, India is actively considering its stand and appears tilted towards the view taken by Russia, China and some European countries.

“We have taken note of the unilateral declaration of Independence by Kosovo. There are several legal issues involved in this declaration. We are studying the evolving situation,” said the Foreign Office. India pointed out that recognition was given to a country with a defined territory (which is in dispute with respect to Kosovo), a duly accepted government (the Kosovo administration is interim) which has control over an area of governance (not so on Kosovo’s case).

“It has been India’s consistent position that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be fully respected by all states. We have believed that the Kosovo issue should have been resolved through peaceful means and through consultation and dialogue between the concerned parties,” added the Foreign Office, leaving little doubt about India’s sympathies.


JAPAN too is sounding most cautious despite its desire not to offend its key ally, the United States:

The Japanese government is planning to recognize Kosovo which declared independence from Serbia on Sunday, but wants to show "consideration" to Serbia which has been against such moves, Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura said Monday.

"Basically, we will carefully determine whether Kosovo will meet Japan's criteria for recognizing states," the top government spokesman told a press conference. But he also stressed that Japan has traditionally maintained "good relations" with Serbia and "a certain level of consideration is required there." Government sources have said prior to Kosovo's declaration of independence that Japan intends not to immediately recognize Kosovo because Tokyo wants to maintain good relations with Serbia and does not want to anger Russia, Serbia's ally.


This South African news site '24 hours' gives its summary of the situation as follows -

A significant minority in the 27-nation EU - Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain - oppose recognising Kosovo.

Others like Malta and Portugal would prefer Kosovo's future be decided at the UN Security Council.

Czech President Vaclav Klaus warned that Kosovo's independence could unleash a domino affect in Europe.

"Some parties in other states could realise that they do not feel completely at ease within a big state in which they are now," he said in a television interview.

As if on cue, the breakaway Georgian regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia immediately seized on Kosovo's break, saying they would ask Russia and the UN to recognise their independence, Russia's Interfax news agency reported.

"In the near future Abkhazia will appeal to the Russian parliament and the UN Security Council with a request to recognise its independence," self-declared Abkhaz President Sergei Bagapsh was quoted as saying by Interfax.

Some states see Kosovo as setting a dangerous precedent for other separatist movements.

The Sri Lankan government, which is battling separatist Tamil Tiger rebels, warned Kosovo's declaration could set an "unmanageable precedent" and was a violation of the UN charter.

The foreign ministry said it "could set an unmanageable precedent in the conduct of international relations, the established global order of sovereign states and could thus pose a grave threat to international peace and security."

Others are reluctant to recognise Kosovo because of their close ties to Serbia.

Government spokesperson Ivica Bocevski told AFP: "Whatever decision we are going to take, we will take care of the interests of our citizens, as well as the state and national interests of Macedonia."


Many others around the globe, seeing the international splits developing are preferring not to take up any position on Kosovo, like Korea for example. The Korea Times -

Seoul officials said that it would be better for Korea to remain neutral over such a sensitive world issue in terms of national interest.

They added the Kosovo issue will take time to get settled in the international community.


The Philippines and Indonesia also are expressing concern that then EU's Kosovo decision will energise their own separatist movements.

If Serbia can keep the majority of countries from recognising Kosovo, either by persuading them to leave the matter well alone as Korea is doing, or with them openly backing Serbia's position, it will defeat the EU. It has to be said that defeat for the EU's first post-Constitution foreign policy initiative, Kosovan independence, is looking likely to end as a total fiasco. Unfortunately it also looks likely to be the cause of many unnecessary human casualties.

Canada has failed to recognise Kosovo as it is concerned that the move is creating the possibility of a major east-west split.

On such a crucial question, and with worldwide concerns growing by the day, surely a discussion in the British Parliament is called for. The Conservatives should, by now be expressing an opinion about this. This is not a subject where sitting on the fence is advisable. It will show up pretty quickly who knows what they are doing and who doesn't.

UPDATE - even in Germany there is unease at the EU's support of Kosovan independence...

A leading lawmaker of the co-governing Social Democratic Party (SPD) warned of the global implications of the anticipated independence declaration of the Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo, the daily Frankfurter Rundschau reported Saturday .
"I have doubts about the legitimacy of such a step, in terms of the international law. It is difficult to justify such a secession," said the deputy chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the German Parliament, Hans-Ulrich Klose.
If this was the basis for the self-determination right of an ethnic group, we would "open the pandora's box," he added.

Other ethnic groups may feel encouraged to follow the model of Kosovo, the MP pointed out.

8 comments:

The Purple Scorpion said...

Didn't British diplomacy use to demand that any state should be economically sustainable before we would recognise it? That doesn't seem to be the case here.

But it's also interesting how many objections come from governments more interested in their own power over their subjects than they are in their people's rights.

Not a clear-cut case!

P.S. Can anyone make this form display properly in Firefox? I've asked in the Blogger help group, to no avail.

tapestry said...

The Netherlands? Canada? India?

Do we really want the world of nation states to disintegrate so that the EU can extend its bureaucratic empire?

If strategic arguments don't weigh with people, then sadly the resulting violence might do.

The Purple Scorpion said...

I said "it's ... interesting how many objections come from governments more interested in their own power over their subjects than they are in their people's rights" - I didn't say all of them.

But there is a definite constituency here ... Russia, China, Spain, South Africa mindful of its fellow African governments ....

All I'm saying is, this isn't a clearcut case. Except in one respect.

It does show what a lot of hot air the idea of a common EU foreign policy is.

tapestry said...

I see your point, but that is the line being put out by the EU - that those who are resisting the Kosovo independence declaration, are in some ways inadequate as countries themselves.

If nation states are worthless, as the EU believes, then by definition any country that resists dismemberment is inadequate.

The EU hopes to pressure resisters into line through its economic power. It is not a 50/50 case intellectually (in my opinion) - but the EU empire might find it can enforce its wishes through economic pressure on all parties.

It says it needs 4 to 5 months to get its way. I wonder. Thanks for the comments, Scorpion.

Anonymous said...

The Illyrian used to be a great nation. The borders were from Italy to Greece and from Danube River to the Adriatic Sea. Since 6th Century (AD), Slavic took as much as they could from Illyria, because they were backed up from Romans, Turks, Russians, British and France. This happen because they were stronger. Now Dardanian are taking back Kosova . This is what remains from Dardania. What was Dardania. It was a small part of Illyrian bigger than Serbia.
Why it happens? It happens because kosovars now are stronger than Serbians.
When Alexander the Great was dying, one of his close friends asked him. Alexander to whom are you going to leave the Empire? The answer was. TO THE STRONGEST.

tapestry said...

The Romans stationed four legions in Illyria, as it always caused the most trouble of any province.

The latest European empire is the EU. It doesn't have an Army. Will its economic power be enough to face down Russian growing military power? I don't think Alexander The Great can help with that one.

The language of Albanian Kosovans is strongly anti-Serb, and not conducive to peaceful coexistence. Is that wise given the feelings being churned up?

It looks like becoming a long-term confrontation. If it's down to the strongest, then surely the Russians will win.

Anonymous said...

All enemies of Illyria are hoping to get support first from Russia and after from others.
Unfortunately things are evolving and changing fast. With an empty Siberia and over populated China and India the future of Russia looks grim. The extreme situation for them is to give up Siberia to Yellow Dragon and join the united Europe, with what will Remain from what used to be Russia. Anything my happen. If someone would tell Brezhniev on 70 ties to give up Ukraine and other Russian territories, he might die from a hart attack. Ironically on 1974 he had a hart attack but survived. Now it is the time for Serbian to learn how to behave.

tapestry said...

Many have made the mistake of underestimating Russian military capability. Napoleon. Hitler. Hirohito - and now maybe NATO.

Russia's a tempting target but the Bear is well named with its ability to maul.

Rule number 1 of warfare is 'don't underestimate your enemies'.

If Alabania and Serbia had found their own settlement, it would work. But imposing one from outside in terms which disadvantage one side versus another, is a recipe for trouble.