US and EU revise Kosovo resolution.

Europe and the US have revised a draft UN resolution on the status of Kosovo. The new text calls for another four months of intensive negotiations between Kosovo's ethnic Albanians and Serbs.

In a bid to gain Russian acceptance, the new text drops a promise of independence for the province if talks with Serbia fail.

The European Union's acceptance of Russia's demands for a new UN Security Council resolution allows the bloc to deploy its mission to the territory and replace the current UN one, without the "status" issue being resolved.

The EU's diplomatic chief, Javier Solana said that the bloc is ready for such a mission if the UN Security Council decides it is necessary.

"We would be ready for anything which is tasked by the UN Security Council", Javier Solana told reporters on Wednesday (11 July).

Solana made his comments in a joint press conference with frustrated Kosovo prime minister Agim Ceku, who came to Brussels to appeal to the 27 member bloc to sidestep the UN process and end the eight year long status-quo.

UN Security Council members have recently been debating a possible draft resolution calling for an additional four months of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina and for the replacement of the current UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) by the EU.

According to diplomats, European nations in New York are driving forward the new approach which would embrace Russia's demands for the continuation of the status quo unless Serbian and Kosovan leadership agree on a compromised solution.

An earlier draft resolution sponsored by the US and EU called for four months of negotiations, with the supervised independence plan drafted by Finnish diplomat Martti Ahtissari to apply after the talks if the both sides fail to agree on a new status.

But Russia has categorically rejected this approach with foreign minister Sergey Lavrov on Monday threatening to veto any proposal not agreed by Serbia.

Unilateral declaration of independence The Kosovo Albanian leadership is under pressure from the former fighters of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to unilaterally declare its independence, hoping that the US and UK would be the first nations to recognize it.

US president George W. Bush said last month that Washington would unilaterally recognise Kosovo's statehood if Russia continues to reject the UN's independence plan.

Since Bush's comments, the EU has asked Pristina's leaders to abandon any thoughts of a unilateral declaration of independence and give the efforts at the UN more time.

Agim Ceku said over the weekend that Kosovo institutions will not make such a move without consulting the US and EU, but in Brussels he clearly expressed frustration with the long UN process, which has failed to resolve Kosovo's status.

"It seems to us that we will not have an acceptable solution at the UN Security Council," Ceku told reporters.

"We have to stop pretending that the UN Security Council has answers for all questions. We are calling for a new approach, for a more brave approach to the Kosovo status," Ceku added, warning that "Kosovo is going to be a European problem tomorrow if we don't find a way forward now."

For his part, Mr Solana made clear that the bloc is not going to sidestep the UN on the issue despite Ceku's warnings.

"I do not share the approach of prime minister Ceku on this sort of intrinsic pessimism on the UN. I believe in the UN, which at the end of the day is the heart of the multilateral system", Mr Solana said, reiterating his support for Mr Ahtisaari's recommendation for independence supervised by EU and NATO.

[Fuente: Euobserver, Brussels, 12Jul07]

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The Question of Kosovo
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