Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Russia's Veto over Kosovo

Magazine article New Statesman (1996)

Russia's Veto over Kosovo

Article excerpt

While Tories fret about Brussels, a more interesting question is who now decides EU policy--the nations of Europe, or the Kremlin?

Tony Blair leapt to being a world player when he lined up Bill Clinton with Europe to stop the butchery in Kosovo. But missiles, bombs and military presence are not enough. Kosovo is still without status or statehood, and now Russia is defying Europe and the United States by saying nyet to any move forward. Soon Gordon Brown and his Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, will have to decide whether to take a stand on Balkan policy, or let the Kremlin displace the EU in the region.

While Slovenia is already in the EU, and Croatia is on the road to accession, the real prize for peace and stability in the region remains Serbia. Belgrade is the capital of the Balkans--with a clever, educated, multilingual and post-industrial people ready, once Serbia is in the EU, to take the entire region to its long-overdue rendezvous with 21st-century modernity.


The historical links between Serbia and Kosovo are undisputed. But like with the English centuries-long suzerainty over Ireland, Serbs find it hard to admit that the time has come for Kosovo to follow Croatia and Slovenia in freeing itself from Belgrade's tutelage.

After the military intervention in 1999, Kosovo became a limbo land, under the control of the UN but still not fully independent from Serbia. This non-independence and non-recognition no longer makes sense. …

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