Friday, November 16, 2007

"UNMIK must nullify unilateral (Kosovo) independence"

15 November 2007 | 16:53 | Source: Tanjug

UNMIK should react in the event of a unilateral declaration of Kosovo's independence, Serbia's OSCE ambassador says.

Such a move must be made null and void, Ambassador Miroslava Beham told the OSCE Permanent Council this Thursday in Vienna.

"A unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo would constitute a violation of the fundamentals of international law," Beham cautioned following the speech of UNMIK chief Joachim Ruecker, who, in response to speeches by OSCE member state representatives reiterated that the Ahtisaari plan, even though not adopted, "was still on the table."

Serbia's ambassador pointed out that UNMIK had not fulfilled its tasks under UN Resolution 1244, and that the task of the UN administration was to make possible the autonomy of Kosovo inside the then FRY, and now Serbia, rather than "make a state within a state."

According to her, UNMIK should cooperate with institutions in Belgrade in the process of privatization of state and social ownership, as well as in other sectors.

"What happened was the opposite and that deepened the gap between Serbs and ethnic Albanians which is the reason why their positions are so far apart," Beham assessed, and added that the situation could be changed, as well as that "there was a need for a democratic process to resolve the issue of Kosovo with a democratically agreed solution."

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the extension of the OSCE mission in Kosovo, which expires late this year, might pose a problem.

The United States and the European Union urge for an extension of its mandate for another year.

But, Russia and Serbia are opposed, because they believe that an outcome of the talks on the future status of Kosovo under the mediation of the Troika should come first.

Russia has proposed the mission's mandate to be extended each month for the next 30 days, for as long as the future of Kosovo is unclear, Tanjug learned from its diplomatic sources.

Serbia supports this stand in principle and believes that Security Council Resolution 1244, on which the mandate of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo is based, will cease to be in effect if the Kosovo Albanians unilaterally declare independence and if at least one state recognizes it.

The fate of the OSCE Mission in Kosovo is a particularly sensitive issue also since it is the OSCE's biggest and most expensive mission. If it is terminated, many employees will lose their jobs.

At the recently held meeting of the Preparatory Committee, Western countries that support an extension of the mandate for another 12 months have tried to adopt such a proposal but it was rejected by Russia and Serbia.

The issue will certainly be included in the agenda of the forthcoming OSCE summit in Madrid later this month, but the Vienna-based OSCE Permanent Council will make the final decision.

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