Moscow: UN SC approval needed

Russia's ambassador to the EU says that Moscow has no intention of recognizing Kosovo independence.

In an interview with daily Politika, Vladimir Chizhov said he had nothing in principle against the EU’s civil presence in the province, but only if this was agreed with the authorities in Belgrade and approved by the Security Council.

“We haven’t changed our position on Kosovo’s independence declaration. We believe that Kosovo’s status has still to be resolved, and that it is still open. The fact that 45 countries have recognized its independence doesn’t mean a great deal, as that is a minority within the international community,” said the Russian official.

He said that Russia, in principle, “has nothing against the EU assuming responsibility for what’s going on” in Kosovo, or against the civil presence of the EU there, but on two conditions: “It must be agreed on with the authorities in Belgrade and authorized by the UN Security Council.”

“Once these conditions are met, we’ll be glad to support the EU mission,” said Chizhov.

Justifying Moscow’s reasons for refusing to recognize the province’s unilaterally declared independence, the Russian ambassador said that that declaration had happened “in the middle of a negotiating process that collapsed, not because of Belgrade, but at the initiative of the Kosovo Albanians”, referring to the negotiating process under UN auspices.

Comparing Kosovo’s independence declaration with Russian recognition of the Georgian breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, he explained that unlike the talks on the Serbian province’s status, the cases of the two Georgian autonomous republics had been blocked until 2006 by the refusal of Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to sign a memorandum on non-application of force.

“The world knows that Kosovo used to be common home for Serbs and Albanians, and that Serbs view it as the heart of Serbia, while Abkhazia has never been the heart of Georgia. A Georgian minority lived there, but Georgia never had sovereignty over Abkhazia,” said Chizhov.

The ambassador pointed out that Georgia, South Ossetia and Abkhazia had joined the Russian empire at different times in different ways and as separate states, and that, when the USSR collapsed, Tbilisi revoked South Ossetia and Abkhazia’s autonomy, and no-one asked the population there whether they wished to be part of an independent Georgia.

He said that Russia and the EU were “partners in a world of increasing globalization, linked not only by the pipes via which Russian oil and gas reaches European homes and factories.”

“Before us we have a political dialogue that isn’t always simple, because in today’s world we’re all each other’s partners and competitors. It’s natural that we should compete for the market of third countries, as well as for our own. Of course, nothing can replace Russian gas, at least not right know,” said Chizhov.

The ambassador said that many Russian companies were “underestimated on the world market”, but that when it came to construction of the South Stream pipeline through Serbia, he voiced his conviction that “in the long-term, further supply really will be possible.”

“As far as my knowledge of gas supply goes, South Stream will be built in two stages. Thus, there’ll be one pipeline supplying the guaranteed volume of gas, while the overall level of supply will be increased using a second. I firmly believe that additional supply will be possible in the long-term,” he underlined.

[Source: B92, Srb, 22Sep08]

Donaciones Donaciones Radio Nizkor

The Question of South Ossetia
small logoThis document has been published on 12Oct08 by the Equipo Nizkor and Derechos Human Rights. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.