Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo : Us and Key Eu States at Odds with Russia over Ahtisaari's Plan

Magazine article Europe-East

Eu/kosovo : Us and Key Eu States at Odds with Russia over Ahtisaari's Plan

Article excerpt

A proposal to grant Kosovo virtual independence has immediately created a split between Russia and other members of the contact group, namely the US, the UK, France, Germany and Italy. The plan, presented by the UN special envoy Martti Ahtisaari on 26 January to the members of the contact group, was given the thumbs-up by all its members except for Russia, which has called for more time to examine the text. "We need to examine Ahtisaari's plan carefully," said Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday. According to experts, Moscow intends to wait for Belgrade's reaction to the plan before presenting its own position. In recent weeks, Russia has on many occasions stated that it would veto any proposal unfavourable to Belgrade.

According to diplomatic sources, Ahtisaari's plan does not mention the word independence'. However, in practical terms it does give Kosovo a great deal of independence. It says that security in Kosovo will be guaranteed by international forces, but Kosovo itself will have its own security forces.

Moscow also wants Ahtisaari to hold off presenting his plan to Belgrade and Pristina and not to take any further steps until a new government is formed in Serbia. It is unlikely that such a government would be created before 2 February, when Ahtisaari is set to present the plan to Belgrade. The diplomatic sources say, however, that the US, Germany, France, Italy and the UK remain opposed to further delays and support the idea that the process should continue according to Ahtisaari's original schedule. …

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