The nations of Serbia and Russia have refused to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence for their own individual reasons. Serbia’s reason is that before Kosovo declared independence, it was part of the country. In Russia’s case, it is thinking about Georgia and its breakaway states.
After the separatist war between the forces of Kosovo and Serbia which had claimed at least 10,000 lives, the territory of Kosovo was announced as the “Republic of Kosovo.” In the past, the European Union offered to give Serbia membership into the organization if they let Kosovo seek independence. However, Serbia refused and wanted Kosovo to remain part of the country.
Serbia had deemed Kosovo’s declaration as unconstitutional. It had threatened political and economic sanctions on Kosovo. Russia denounced the decision fearing that this could start a new conflict that could take place in the Balkans. The Russian government had called for an emergency meeting with the United Nations Security Council.
Recently, Vietnam was given a two-year trial membership in the UN Security Council. This could be one of many tests on Vietnam’s part to see if it is ready to tackle international issues.
Back in Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, the mood was lively. Kosovo comprises of many ethnic Albanians. They went through the harsh freezing temperatures to celebrate Kosovo’s independence.
“This is the happiest day in my life,” said Mehdi Shehu who is 68. She adds: “Now we’re free and we can celebrate without fear.”
In Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, police had to fire both tear gas and rubber bullets as they clashed with those that opposed the declaration. There is a large contrast between what is going on in Kosovo and Serbia.
Many had rallied outside the United States Embassy in Belgrade. Windows at the European Union embassy in Slovenia were broken. This embassy currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
Kosovo had been formally part of Serbia. So far since 1999, both the UN and NATO took control of Kosovo’s government after the air strikes stopped Slobodan Milosevic’s attacks on ethic Albanians. Milosevic was the former leader of Yugoslavia. He was tried for war crimes for the attacks on the ethnic Albanians.
“We are heartened by the fact that the Kosovo government has clearly proclaimed its willingness and its desire to support Serbian rights in Kosovo,” said United States President George W. Bush. Bush is currently on his six-day trip to five African countries.
He signed an aid deal with Tanzania. Bush also said that Zimbabwe’s elections in March needed to be “free and fair.”
Bush added: “We also believe it’s in Serbia’s interest to be aligned with Europe and the Serbian people can know that they have a friend in America.”
Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said that Kosovo’s independence without approval from the UN would be dangerous as it could set off conflicts across territory that was once occupied by the USSR. Currently, there are separatists in both Georgia and Chechnya want independence.
Russia is also set for elections in March. It is a likely chance that Putin’s protégé will take the presidency. It is also likely that Putin will become Russia’s Prime Minister. Come March, Russia could continue to play a role in what happens after Kosovo’s independence.
“Kosovo will never be ruled by Belgrade again,” Hashim Thaci said giving warning. He is the current Prime Minister of Kosovo. He had sent letters to nations across the world asking them to recognize Kosovo’s independence.
It is unknown how many nations will recognize Kosovo’s independence. The US and the EU already have given recognition. Serbia and Russia refuse to acknowledge Kosovo’s independence.