Wednesday, July 18, 2007

New Kosovo draft introduced ahead of UN vote

by Gerard Aziakou Wed Jul 18, 3:02 AM ET

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) - Western nations late Tuesday introduced their latest draft resolution on Kosovo's future ahead of what could be an imminent vote in the UN Security Council despite opposition from veto-wielding Russia.

The latest text, co-sponsored by Belgium, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the United States, was "put in blue", meaning readied for a vote.

But a Western diplomat cautioned that the text, a copy of which was obtained by AFP, did not necessarily mean a vote in the ensuing 24 hours as is usually the rule, saying the goal was "to test the strength of Russian opposition."

The draft is a slightly amended version of the text rejected by Russia Monday, even though the sponsors had dropped an earlier reference to an automatic path to the "supervised independence" advocated by UN Kosovo mediator Martti Ahtisaari.

Moscow has threatened to veto any solution that is not acceptable to its ally Serbia, which adamantly opposes independence for the UN-run, Albanian-majority province it views as the cradle of its culture and religion.

The latest draft welcomes the willingness of members of the Contact Group on Kosovo -- Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the United States -- and the European Union (EU) to facilitate new talks between Belgrade and Kosovo's Albanian separatists during a 120-day period "to determine whether common ground can be found".

It also affirms the Council's "readiness to review the situation further in light of those negotiations"..... AFP

SerbBlog: Great line in this article from Britain's deputy UN ambassador Karen Pierce: "What is interesting in this is the extent to which the Russians have outsourced their foreign policy to Belgrade".

No, Karen! What's really interesting is "the extent to which the US has outsourced our Balkan foreign policy to Pristina".

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