NEWS

The West and Russia disagree on future status of Kosovo

The dispute over the name Skopje wants for its country is of minor importance to the international community compared to the difference of opinion between the West and Russia over the future of Kosovo, which is one aspect of the geopolitical rivalry relating to a series of issues, chief of which is the control of petroleum production and distribution. This past month, the debate on the final status of Kosovo was taken to the UN Security Council, where intensive negotiations are being held. A UN source told Kathimerini that a resolution could be forthcoming within the next few weeks. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov described as unacceptable a resolution tabled by the Americans and Europeans that adopts a proposal by UN envoy Martti Ahtisaari for «internationally supervised independence» although he stopped short of threatening a veto. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Undersecretary Nicholas Burns have made it clear that even without an agreement, the US will unilaterally recognize an independent Kosovo. Kosovo Albanians, meanwhile, who are erecting a statue of «liberator» Bill Clinton on Pristina’s main avenue, are placing their hopes in Washington and Brussels. They say that eight years after the war in Yugoslavia, their patience is running out and they are threatening to revolt. Meanwhile, Kosovo’s Serbs are looking to Moscow to protect the Orthodox Serb minority. The final twist in this Gordian knot is Belgrade’s position that it will never agree to Kosovo being separated from Serbian territory.