14 February 2007

Russia to veto imposed Kosovo solution, says envoy to Serbia

BBC Monitoring International Reports - December 5, 2006 Tuesday


Text of report by Belgrade-based B-92 TV on 4 December


[Presenter] Russian Ambassador [to Serbia] Aleksandr Alekseyev has confirmed for B92 that Russia will, unless the decision regarding Kosovo [and its final status] is acceptable for both sides, put a veto on such decision in the UN Security Council.


[Reporter] Mr Alekseyev, Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku has said upon his return from Moscow that he did not get the impression that Russia was ready to put a veto on a UN Security Council decision to grant Kosovo independence, should it decide to do so. On the other hand, Serbia, when it comes to the diplomatic defence of Kosovo, expects the most from China and Russia. Is Russia ready to put a veto on a UN Security Council decision if the solution for Kosovo set a precedent in world practice?


[Alekseyev] I must say we are strictly adhering to our position regarding the solution of the Kosovo status issue. In the case of the status solution not being acceptable for both sides, for Belgrade and Pristina, Russia will exercise its veto rights. I must stress that the Kosovo problem must be solved in line with international law, with the principles of European security, and the UN Security Council Resolution 1244. And, Kosovo Prime Minister Agim Ceku was briefed on this position in detail during his recent visit to Moscow.


[Reporter] Was Ceku's a visit by a foreign statesman?


[Alekseyev] The level of contact, the level of interlocutors, the protocol details point out that this was not an official visit by a [foreign] official. These were serious and open consultations that included an exchange of opinion, estimates, but also our thoughts on the Kosovo status solution process and its perspectives. It was very important for us to hear about the goings-on in the Kosovo problem solution process firsthand, and to directly bring forward the Russian position. I am convinced that, in that sense, these consultations were useful.


[Reporter] UN Kosovo envoy Martti Ahtisaari has recently announced that his Kosovo status proposal will be presented to Belgrade and Pristina immediately after the Serbian elections [scheduled for 21 January]. He also said it was stupid to expect a compromise solution to be reached between Belgrade and Pristina. Does that mean that the Kosovo solution must be imposed on either side?


[Alekseyev] This is not at all suitable for Russia. Until now, as far as I know, Kosovo status talks lasted only two hours. It was a so-called elephant meeting, during which the parties did not even manage to exchange opinions. In fact, all they managed to do was read the statements they brought with them. It is, to say the least, naive to draw any conclusions as to the failure of the talks based on that event. It seems to me that a rather original method of negotiations was invented, where the outcome was presented before the talks had even begun. I believe this methodology must be abandoned, and we must get down to serious business.


[Reporter] Thank you for being our guest today.


Source: B92 TV, Belgrade, in Serbian 1500 gmt 4 Dec 06