The UN Security Council ended an emergency meeting on Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence. Britain's envoy said no member backed Russia's call to declare the move "null and void".
Watch France 24's reports from Kosovo as the province declares independence from Serbia on Sunday February 17 2008:
Independence coming soon (Report: L. Rouy)
Seven Western countries said the U.N. Security Council could not agree on the future of Kosovo, which declared independence on Sunday, and its security and stability must be assured through the European Union and NATO.
"We regret that the Security Council cannot agree on the way forward, but this impasse has been clear for many months," Belgian Ambassador Johan Verbeke said in a statement on behalf of Belgium, France, Italy, Britain, Croatia, Germany and the United States.
Serbs reject a "democratic and multiethnic" Kosovo
Prime Minister Hashim Thaci promised a “democratic and multiethnic” Kosovo for “all its citizens,” as he put forward a proposal for the province’s independence from Serbia in a special parliament session on Sunday February 17 2008.
Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica immediately condemned the proclamation, stating that “as far as Serbia is concerned, Kosovo does not exist”. M Kostunica took a swipe in particular at Washington’s support for Kosovo’s secession, branding it a “violation of the world order”.
A long time Serbian ally, Russia also denounced the declaration of independence, calling for an emergency meeting of the UN’s Security Council.
At present Kosovo can rely on the backing of the United States and five European countries, including France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy. George W. Bush expressed his support indirectly on Sunday. “Our position is that the status of Kosovo must be settled in order to stabilize the Balkans,” he said, adding that it was “in the interest of Serbia to realign itself with the rest of Europe”.
Our correspondent in Mitrovica tells a tale of two cities, with much rejoicing on the Albanian side, and a sullen atmosphere reigning across the bridge in the Serbian quarters. “The feelings are completely opposed, something that is tangible right across the province, where the two communities no longer speak, nor even meet,” explains Franck Berruyer. Security forces have been deployed en masse, he reports, underlining the “fear of clashes between the two camps”.
In his speech to parliament, Kosovo’s prime minister stressed the need to respect all minorities in an independent Kosovo. “There is no reason to fear discrimination,” he said, as Kosovo’s new state would represent “all its citizens”. Indeed for France 24’s international editor Gauthier Rybinski, the respect of minorities formed the backbone of Hashim Thaci’s speech. The former leader of Kosovo’s Albanian guerilla has clearly tempered his positions to reassure the Serbian minority, explains Mr Rybinski. “The question now is whether this new attitude will become law.”
Date created : 2008-02-17