Letter to the International Herald Tribune
Dear Editors, dear Ms. Dempsey
Can anybody seriously describe the ongoing Kosovo crisis as a good-guys vs. bad-guys conflict, as attempted in Ms. Dempsey’s “Letter from Europe“, June 11, 2008, published on the IHT as “Deadlock in Kosovo risks Balkan instability“?
The articles is a relentless attack on everything Russia and Serbia have to say about Kosovo, with the EU depicted as the poor victim of a machination intending to deprive Kosovo of true independence, by keeping the UN around.
We are even treated to the classic “It is not for lack of trying by the Europeans or the United States to reach an agreement with Russia over Kosovo“, about the aborted Ahtisaari Plan.
Well, Ms Dempsey is well aware and even describes in the article the situation in Northern Mitrovica: could she please then try to explain on what basis would the Ahtisaari Plan free Albanian Kosovars from Belgrade’s rule, while effectively imprisoning the Mitrovican Serbs under Pristina’s?
Neither the EU nor the USA have shown much interest in upholding the rights of the minority Serbs in Kosovo, all too focused in promoting the rights of the minority Albanians in Serbia. This is no recipe for a lasting and peaceful settlement, with or without Russia: and in fact to this day there is no lasting peaceful settlement in sight.
It is also too easy for Ms Dempsey to push aside the legality question. It is not just a matter of Vladimir Putin “claiming that Kosovo’s independence had no international legal basis“. In fact, like Ms Dempsey, also the EU, the USA and legions of international legal experts still have not found any legal basis for Kosovo’s independence.
The best they could come up with, it’s a “sui generis” clause, hoping that all problems will evaporate if everybody agrees that Kosovo’s is a case unique in history, never to be repeated again.
That’s no legal explanation for bypassing the United Nations in order to create a new State in Europe.
Does anybody believe the situation is better today than before “independence” came to Kosovo, with the EU’s “undermined security ambitions” also thanks to its deep divisions on the topic, as correctly pointed out by Ms. Dempsey?
Are we any better down the path of Balkan stability, a “region where the slightest misunderstanding or provocation can lead to violence“? I for one am not sure about that. But if we want to be serious at dealing with this problem, that’s not just a question for Russia to answer.