UNITED NATIONS, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- The United
Nations Security Council on Monday held an emergency session on the
self-proclaimed independence of Kosovo, but council members remain split on
Pristina's unilateral move.
Russian Ambassador to the United Nations Vitaly
Churkin condemned the Feb. 17 declaration of independence by Kosovo's local
assembly as "a blatant breach of the norms and principles of international
law... which undermines the foundations of the international relations system."
"The situation developing as a result of the illegal
steps of the province's leadership poses a threat to peace and security in the
Balkans," Churkin told the session, which was attended by Serbian President
Churkin expressed firm support for Serbia's demand
that the UN secretary-general's representative and head of the UN mission in
Kosovo declare the province's unilateral declaration of independence null and
"The illegal acts of the Kosovo Albanian leadership
and of those who support them set a dangerous precedent," Churkin said. "They
are fraught with an escalation of tension and inter-ethnic violence in the
province, destructive consequences for international relations that took decades
South Africa's UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo stressed
that Kosovo's unilateral move "presents the international community with a
He expressed the regret that Kosovo's step "was not
taken in conformity with a legal and political process envisaged by Security
Council Resolution 1244," noting that "there remains space for dialogue and
negotiation that could help contribute to the long-term peace in the Balkans."
China and Indonesia expressed concern over Kosovo's
unilateral move, urging continued efforts toward a mutually acceptable agreement
through dialogue and negotiation.
Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations Wang Guangya
warned that Kosovo's unilateral action may "rekindle conflicts and turbulence in
the region, which in turn would cause serious humanitarian crisis and adversely
impact the entire Balkan region and beyond."
"China is deeply concerned over this," Wang said.
Wang stressed that UN Security Council Resolution
1244 remains the political and legal basis for the settlement of the Kosovo
issue, and that before the adoption of any new resolution by the Security
Council, "all efforts and actions for the settlement of this issue should
conform to the relevant provisions of Resolution1244."
Indonesia's UN Ambassador Marty Natalegawa expressed
"profound concern" over "the latest political development in Kosovo," adding
that Indonesia "regrets the failure to reach a solution on Kosovo through
dialogue and negotiation."
"We maintain our strong belief that a mutually
acceptable agreement emanating from this process will better guarantee peace and
stability in the region," he said.
Vietnam's UN Ambassador Le Luong Minh said Kosovo's
unilateral declaration of independence "will only add to tension in Kosovo and
the Balkans, and deepen division in Europe."
"By creating a dangerous precedent, this development
has negative implications for international peace and stability," he said,
urging all parties concerned to "act responsibly, exercise restraints, refrain
from acts of violence" and undertake measures to protect civilians and UN
personnel on the ground.
Representatives from the United States, Britain,
Italy, Belgium,France, and some other council members expressed support for
Kosovo's move, with some announcing recognition of Pristina, arguing that a plan
put forward by UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari for Kosovo's "supervised independence"
is "the only viable way forward."
They insisted that the circumstances surrounding
Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence were unique and that it would
not set a precedent.
"It is not ideal for Kosovo to become independent
without the consent of Serbia and without consensus in this Council," British
Ambassador to the United Nations John Sawers said. "My government believes that
the unique circumstances of the violent breakup of the former Yugoslavia and the
unprecedented UN administration of Kosovo make this a sui generis case, which
creates no wider precedent."
Following the UN Security Council emergency session,
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told reporters that Belgrade is recalling
ambassadors from countries recognizing Kosovo.
"Whoever decides to trample international laws and
brutalize and trample the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic
of Serbia cannot continue having a normal relationship with our friendly,
peaceful and democratic nation," Jeremic said.
"Serbia is going to fight, foot and nail,
diplomatically, politically in each and every international forum," he said.
Kosovo's parliament on Sunday voted to adopt a
declaration of the province's independence from Serbia.
Kosovo was a southern autonomous province within
Serbia before the breakup of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The
Albanian-dominated region was plunged into ethnic conflicts in the1990s.
Kosovo had been under UN administration since
mid-1999, after NATO air strikes drove Serbian forces out of the province.