UNSC debates Kosovo in emergency session
www.chinaview.cn 2008-02-19 10:50:38   Print

    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 Boris Tadic.

    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 void.

    "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 to build."

    South Africa's UN Ambassador Dumisani Kumalo stressed that Kosovo's unilateral move "presents the international community with a serious challenge."

    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.

Editor: Sun Yunlong
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