Friday, June 22, 2007

Russia, Europe Face Off Over Kosovo (Germany Rising)

Confrontation is looming between Russia and Germany over the future of Kosovo. Not only is this another demonstration of strained relations between Berlin and Moscow, but it reveals the depth of Germany’s ambitions in the Balkans.

Tension is running high between Russia and Western leaders following talks last week on the future of Kosovo—talks to which Moscow was not invited. Russia is furious that representatives from Germany, Italy, the UK, the U.S. and the UN had “secret talks” to knock out a common position on the predicament that is Kosovo.

After a year of negotiations, little progress has been made on the final status of the province of Kosovo, which has been administered by the United Nations since 1999. Kosovo’s 90 percent Albanian majority seeks independence; Belgrade, after having been already gutted of almost all its provinces, wants to maintain sovereignty over Kosovo. The European Union and the United States are backing a UN plan that would give Kosovo internationally supervised independence—with the EU playing a key role. Russia has threatened to veto the plan in the Security Council. Yesterday, the EU and the U.S. circulated a revised UN resolution that would allow for a 120-day delay in implementing the plan for Kosovo’s independence.
Russia has already rejected the new draft. Neither side is about to back down.

Much is at stake.

Though the general media might put the confrontation in terms of Russia against the West, or the U.S., this is really a contest between Russia and Germany. What we are seeing is a jockeying for power in Europe by both nations. For Moscow, to have the West impose its will on Serbia (a historic ally to Russia) would signal the loss of Russian influence in Europe. For Berlin, the stakes are even higher....Excerpt, Read the Rest at The Trumpet

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