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At the UN, Kosovo Resolution Goes Blue Under Veto Threats, Precedents and Access Denied

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

UNITED NATIONS, July 17 -- A final draft resolution to grant independence to Kosovo in 120 days was formally circulated Tuesday night at the UN. This so-called "going blue" had been predicted Tuesday morning by Italy's Ambassador, and the UK's Deputy Permanent Representative Karen Pierce, who said it would trigger a vote in 24 hours "or a bit longer" if a country, presumably Russia, asked for this "bit longer."

            It is assumed from statements in Moscow, Belgrade and New York that Russia will veto the resolution. Since Russia lent its veto to China in blocking consideration of Myanmar earlier this year, it is unclear if China will return the favor with a veto, or will merely abstain. Have Indonesia and South Africa been brought on board? The key is the veto, and would have happen afterwards.

            UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has made it clear he favors independence, as do the United States, UK, and France and others.

At the UN, Ambassadors led by (outgoing) French Amb. de la Sabliere, veto threat not shown

  At a press conference on Monday, Mr. Ban was asked:

Authorities in Georgia, in the former Soviet Union, are very much against granting independence to Abkhazia or to South Ossetia. And Azerbaijan authorities are very much against granting independence to Nagorno-Karabakh. The same story with Moldova, Transdniestria...

The Secretary-General: Id like to make it clear that this issue of Kosovo is a sui generis issue. This will not create any other precedents to other potential such problems questions. If you look at the history of the involvement of the United Nations and the international community, you will see immediately the difference of this Kosovo issue from other potential issues. Therefore, it is clear -- and it has been clearly stated on many occasions that this resolution, the question of Kosovo, will not create any precedents for other matters.

            As many have noted, Abkhazia has been run independently of Tbilisi, and with UN involvement, for some time, too. So why it is, again, that Kosovo is sui generis?

            Since the resolution, below, begins by referring to the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, we note that on Tuesday at the UN, Japan's Ambassador Oshima appeared on UN TV, "depositing" Japan's "instrument of accession to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court." Since no sound was provided, it was Amb. Oshima and head UN lawyer Nicolas Michel mugging as if in pantomime.

            Meanwhile, on Thursday, July 19, the "Friends of the ICC" will be meeting from 10 a.m. to noon in Conference Room 7, for a briefing from the executive director of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims," organized by Liechtenstein. Whereas last time the press was allowed, but then told it was off the record, this time the Journal notice says "The meeting open to members of Permanent Missions and Permanent Observer Mission and Secretariat staff."  That is, no press.

            And here is the "gone-blue" resolution, S/2007/437, July 17, 2007:

Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and United States of America:

draft resolution

The Security Council,

Bearing in mind the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, and the primary responsibility of the Security Council for the maintenance of international peace and security,

Recalling its resolutions 1160 (1998) of 31 March 1998, 1199 (1998) of 23 September 1998, 1203 (1998) of 24 October 1998, 1239 (1999) of 14 May 1999, and 1244 (1999) of 10 June 1999, and the relevant Statements of its President, in particular its statement of 24 October 2005 (S/PRST/2005/51),
Recalling the Security Council's missions on the Kosovo issue, particularly the mission undertaken from 25 to 28 April 2007, which provided the Security Council with an opportunity to gain first-hand information on the situation in Kosovo, and its report of 4 May 2007 (S/2007/256),

Recognizing the specific circumstances that make Kosovo a case that is sui generis resulting from the disintegration of the former Yugoslavia, including the historical context of Yugoslavia's violent break-up, as well as the massive violence and repression that took place in Kosovo in the period up to and including 1999, the extended period of international administration under resolution 1244, and the UN-led process to determine status, and that this case shall not be taken as a precedent by the Security Council,
Reaffirming its commitment to a multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo, which will reinforce regional stability,

Recalling the Guiding Principles of the Contact Group,

Recognizing the progress that has been achieved in the implementation of the standards for Kosovo, and calling for their continued implementation in accordance with the European Partnership and the Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement (S/2007/168/Add.1),

Reaffirming the urgent necessity for more progress on the return of internally displaced persons and refugees,

Underscoring its determination not to tolerate violence, provocation or intimidation,

Recalling the jurisdiction and mandate of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, and the need for full cooperation with it,

Underlining the importance of the EU-Western Balkans Summit Declaration adopted in Thessaloniki in June 2003, and welcoming the reaffirmation by the European Union of its commitment to providing the countries of the region a concrete, tangible European perspective,

Reaffirming the important role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts and peacebuilding, as reflected in its resolution 1325 (2000) of 31 October 2000,

Acknowledging that the status quo in Kosovo is not sustainable,
Determining that the unresolved situation in Kosovo continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security,

Acting under chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,

1. Expresses its appreciation to the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for his Report on Kosovo's Future Status (S/2007/168) and his Comprehensive Proposal for the Kosovo Status Settlement (S/2007/168/Add.1);

2. Takes note of the declaration of the Kosovo Assembly of 5 April 2007, concerning the Special Envoy's proposals, and recalls the commitments therein to the rights of communities and their members;

3. Welcomes the willingness of participants in the Contact Group, including the European Union, to encourage and facilitate a further 120-day period of negotiations following adoption of this resolution, in support of the Secretary-General and his Special Envoy, to determine whether common ground can be found, calls upon the parties to engage constructively, requests the Member States referred to above to brief the Council on developments, and affirms its readiness to review the situation further in light of those negotiations;

4. Welcomes the willingness of interested parties to appoint an International Civilian Representative ("ICR"), who shall be the same person as the Special Representative of the European Union; of the European Union to establish a European Security and Defense Policy Rule of Law mission ("ESDP Mission"); and of NATO to continue leading an International Military Presence ("IMP");

5. Expresses its appreciation to the international civil presence in Kosovo for its efforts during the period of interim administration of Kosovo under resolution 1244 (1999), and decides that the mandate of the international civil presence shall terminate at the end of a 120-day transition period following adoption of this resolution and that the existing international civil presence shall implement with the ICR and ESDP during this period all appropriate arrangements for the details and modalities of the transition;

6. Decides that the powers and authorities of the ICR shall include powers and authorities to advance democratic, effective and inclusive governance and institutions, the rights of Communities and their members, decentralization of local government, justice and the rule of law, protection of religious and cultural heritage, protection of property rights and the general welfare of the people, and to supervise the decisions of the relevant authorities in Kosovo in this regard and ensure full respect for these principles, calls upon the ICR to establish appropriate mechanisms to help coordinate the activities of other international actors, and also calls upon other international actors to support the ICR's efforts, particularly by providing information relevant to the exercise of the ICR's functions;

7. Authorizes the establishment of a European Union ESDP Mission and decides that the Mission shall have powers and authorities set forth in Annex I of this resolution after the end of the transition period referred to in paragraph 5;

8. Notes that the international security presence established under resolution 1244 shall continue to be authorized to carry out its responsibilities for a 120-day transition period following the adoption of this resolution, and decides that after completion of this period its powers and authorities shall be those of the IMP and that it shall have the powers and authorities set forth in Annex II to this resolution, and that it shall be authorized to use all necessary means to carry out its responsibilities;

9. Urges the ESDP Mission and the IMP to provide mutual support and, together with the ICR, to coordinate closely on security-related issues in Kosovo;

10. Decides that the ICR and the ESDP Mission, and their personnel (and their families), premises, archives and other property, shall have the same privileges and immunities as are enjoyed by a diplomatic mission and its personnel (and their families), premises, archives and other property under the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, and that the IMP shall have the status, privileges and immunities currently provided to the international security presence under UNMIK Regulation 2000/47;

11. Requests the ICR to report periodically to the Council, beginning with the first report three months following the adoption of this resolution;

12. Urges the Secretary-General to appoint promptly a separate Special Envoy to provide a report to the Secretary-General and the Security Council on the situation concerning refugees and internally displaced persons in the region, and on issues related to missing persons;

13. Requests the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to continue to maintain a Mission in Kosovo, including a comprehensive field presence, to support the democratic development of Kosovo and the work of the ICR;

14. Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.

  We'll see.

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