Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Early reaction: only 4 UNSC countries for independence

The Tiraspol Times is reporting today that, in a initial vote taken on Tuesday, only four of the fifteen countries on the UNSC have lined up to support an independent Kosovo.

While the article doesn't mention which ones, it does mention the growing interest of the US Senate:

Meanwhile, in the US Senate, a bi-partisan draft resolution submitted by Joseph Lieberman, Joseph Biden and John McCain will urge president George W. Bush to step up the heat in the United Nations, increasing US pressure in the UN Security Council to have Kosovo declared an independent state.

The UNSC is only in the beginning stages of formal discussion, but it's not exactly an auspicious beginning.  The fall-back position, of course, is for Kosovo to declare independence unilaterally and hope that friendly countries will recognize the new state.

Such a move would make Kosovo a member of a small club of countries around the world which exists as de facto independent countries but which have limited international recognition and are not members of the United Nations. Taiwan is the best-known example of such countries, but the group also includes the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, Somaliland, Abkhazia, Transdniester (Pridnestrovie) and Western Sahara, among others.

It has been my contention all along that the plan currently before the UNSC was merely an official stalking horse for a unilateral independence bid.  News earlier this week indicate that Kosovo's immediate neighbors would recognize and independent Kosovo regardless of UNSC action.  Many of the EU countries would follow suit, but by no means all.

There is no easy way out of this mess.  There are other countries with similar, though not equal, claims for independence.  The UN is treading on dangerous territory by being a part of a forced solution in Kosovo.  We'll have to watch as this drama unfolds and see what happens.


Anonymous said...

Very correct analysis: There is no easy way out. Forced independence imposed from the outside is dangerous. Turning back the clock is also not possible. Leaving things alone can't last forever. So what to do? Hard to say.

In the end, if you recognize Kosovo's independence, go ahead and recognize others, too. Abkhazia comes to mind. So does Transnistria. The arguments are the same: You can't turn back the clock to the way things were ten year ago. Or fifteen. Or twenty. It is just impossible, so don't even try.

Jeff said...

Great comment anony, thanks for taking the time.

I guess each disputed territory is going to have to find their own way. The process is imperfect and I do not believe, generally, the the problems of any given country can be solved by the "balkanization" of its constituent parts.

Kosovo is exceptional in its recent history if not unique in their claims.

You're right...there is no going back.

jibs said...

Kosovo is a different issue, and indeed it should be recognized - would be legally 'nice' and convenient if Serbia agreed to Kosovo's independence, that would save a lot of headache about Kosovo becoming a precedent for other places.

I agree there is no turning back the clock, and it is hardly conceivable how breakaway statelets like Abkhazia, South Ossetia or Karabakh would reintegrate back to their 'mother' states, BUT, at the same time recognizing these places would send very wrong incentives to many dark corners of the world. Besides, without return of the refugees, and there are hundreds of thousands of them as a result of the conflicts, it would be simply morally wrong to reward those places for their 'successful' ethnic cleansing.