Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Wikileaks Show Medvedev Lobbied Against Kosovo Recognition

US diplomatic cables released by the whistleblowers' Web site WikiLeaks show that Russian President Dimitry Medvedev, Serbia’s staunch ally, has played a role in slowing down the recognition of Kosovo by Arab states.
Besar Likmeta Tirana
In a cable sent by the US embassy in Doha on December 21, 2009, Qatar’s Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohamad Al-Rumaihi tells US Ambassador Joseph E. LeBaron that despite their sympathies, they had been asked to by Medvedev to wait before recognising Kosovo.

“The Russian President, however, has asked Qatar to "go slow" in announcing recognition,” the cable says. “Out of sensitivity to Russian concerns, Al-Rumaihi said, Qatar has done so,” it adds.

At present, Qatar has not recognised Kosovo.

Kosovo, which pronounced independence in 2008, has been recognised by 72 out of 192 UN member states, including the US and most EU member states.

Kosovo was a part of Serbia until the 1999 NATO bombing, which aimed to stop the ethnic cleansing campaign carried out by the forces of former Serb strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

After NATO's intervention the same year, the territory came under the interim administration of the United Nations Mission in Kosovo, under UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

The UN mission has now largely been replaced by a European rule of law mission.

Serbia, which vehemently opposes the secession of its former province, asked the International Court of Justice, ICJ, to give an advisory opinion on the legality of the declaration of independence, and has undertaken a major diplomatic effort in an attempt to prevent states recognising Kosovo.

The Hague-based court's advisory opinion on July 22, stating Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence was not illegal, was seen as a major victory for Pristina.

However, despite the ICJ decision, there has been no major wave of new recognitions for Pristina, contrary to what officials there had predicted.

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