Editor, the Gauntlet,
Chris Tait's article ("Canada Needs to Recognize Kosovo," Feb. 28 Gauntlet) presents a very limited view on the problem of the possible separation of that Serbian province.
Firstly, the author tries to convince us that the United Nations takes care of Kosovo, helping the break-away province "to establish acceptable level of security," et cetera. This is not true. The independence of Kosovo was declared in violation of 1999's UN Resolution 1244, which re-affirmed the territorial integrity of Serbia. With China and Russia, two permanent UN Security Council members, being in opposition to the unilateral independence of Kosovo (along with many other UN member countries that are against that unlawful action), there is absolutely no chance the UN as an entity will ever recognize Kosovo or allow it to join the UN. What Mr. Tait conveniently fails to mention, though, is that the sponsors of the Kosovo separation are the U.S., the EU, and NATO, not the UN.
Secondly, the unilateral independence of Kosovo is an evidence of double standards by the U.S. and their NATO allies. There are a number of territories worldwide that are de facto independent. However, the U.S. and NATO designate Kosovo as a "special case" simply because the territory is their protectorate. The U.S. and their allies would never recognize the right of Bosnian Serbs for desired separation from Bosnia, the statehood of Abkhazia and South Ossetia that won their independence from Georgian occupation, independence of Kurdistan from Turkey or the Basque country from Spain and so on because the U.S. and NATO are not likely to gain control over those lands. If peoples, provinces and ethnic groups have rights, they must be the same everywhere and for everybody and should be treated in the same fashion by the international community. Russia, in case of Kosovo, is defending the basic principles of international law.
Thirdly, the author fails to mention the historical significance of Kosovo for the Serbian nation and statehood. Kosovo is the place where the Serbian nation was born and where Serbs shed rivers of their blood for their freedom. Kosovo is full of orthodox sacred places that have been systematically desecrated and destroyed by Albanians. Moreover, the author never says that the Albanians in Kosovo became an overwhelming majority just recently due to immigration from Albania and their policy of kicking Serbs out of the province.
Now, I'm not in a position to tell the Canadian government what their stand on Kosovo's independence should be. I just would like to remind that the Canadian Clarity Act requires all provinces to be part of negotiations and allows Parliament to override any independence referendum. Please compare it to the Kosovo case. Why do Kosovo Albanians enjoy more rights than Canadians?
[Ed note: From the NATO withdrawal from the area in 1999 until 2005, the UN Mission in Kosovo had placed an interim administrative body in Kosovo to re-stabilize the area under the direction of the UN. One of the mandates of the organization was to maintain civil law and order, a point that could be represented by the term "security."
The UN Office of the Special Envoy for Kosovo has taken a realistic approach to the fragile situation in Kosovo and Serbia, one that accounted in advance for the region's separation from Serbia and attempted to find a best-case set of principles to which the new government should adhere.
"In November 2005, the Secretary-General appointed me as his Special Envoy for the future status process for Kosovo," stated the envoy's report. "According to my terms of reference, this process should culminate in a political settlement that determines the future status of Kosovo."
Determining that the resolution would not be attainable, he instead makes an attempt in the document to make the best of the situation, given that in his opinion, "reintegration into Serbia is not a viable option" and that "continued international administration is not sustainable."
As for other separatist would-be states, the core purpose of the article is to explicitly reject any causal precedent drawn from the Kosovar situation.]