"Moscow to Agree to Creation of EU Civil Mission in Kosovo" – Experts (Updated – Expert Kyrieri’s Comments Added)

Russia, Moscow, 27 June / Trend corr R. Agayev, E. Tariverdiyeva/ Moscow will finally accept the establishment of the civil mission of the European Union in Kosovo and will make a compromise to the European Union (EU).

" Moscow is resisting now, but it will finally agree to the establishment of the civil mission of EU in Kosovo. It is not known that yet in what form it will take place, but Russia has not other choice any more," the Russian Aleksey Malashenko said to Trend .

Kosovo has unilaterally declared its independence on 17 February 2008 and was recognised by the majority of European states as well as USA and other. Moreover, the new Kosovo's constitution, which came into force on 15 June 2008, grants the EU final authority as a human rights safeguard for the remaining Serb minority, but foresees no role for the UN mission UNMIK.

The position of Russia is that the Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council which says that Kosovo is an integral part of Serbia must not be cancelled.

According to the expert of the Carnegie Centre of Moscow, the constant confrontations between Russia and EU is not expedient for many reasons, therefore Moscow will accept the establishment of the civil mission of EU in Kosovo, 'after all earlier Russia accepted everything and it is not ruled out that it will accept in this case".

He mentioned that Moscow was against the intervention to Iraq, but it finally agreed, it struggled to the end as to the Yugoslavia and finally recognized it de facto.

"And that will go on, because we should differentiate between PR and real political actions. In this case Moscow will have no place to hide," expert said.

Beata Kviatek-Simanska, Assistant Professor International Relations at University of Groningen, said "Despite Russia's constant opposition the launch of the EU civilian mission (EULEX) to Kosovo is already a fact. Moreover, the political situation around Kosovo has changed and this means that Russia may look for a compromise."

Earlier Russia blocked the UN Resolution, which foresaw that UN mission cede powers to the government of an independent Kosovo, supported by the EULEX police and custom force.

"The plan of Ban Ki-Moon to reconfigure the UN mission in Kosovo and to hand out some responsibilities to the EU is not supported by Serbia. However, there is hope that Serbia's new pro-EU government will soften its position with regard to the EU presence in Kosovo," Kviatek-Simanska reported to Trend via e-mail.

According to Malashenko, Moscow will finally agree to EU civil mission. However, that does not mean that Moscow will recognize Kosovo's independence, as Kosovo for Moscow is closely linked to North Caucasus and Georgia. So, should Russia have completely recognized Kosovo in future, it will have at least to state something concrete on Abkhazia.

"But Moscow will never say 'I recognize' about Abkhazia. But for the link, the situation could be different. But in this case everything is quite harsh," said Malashenko.

The European expert on the European Union Katerina-Marina Kyrieri believes that in spite of Russia's, that is Serbia's traditional ally's objection to Ahtissaari's proposals, which says that the only viable option for Kosovo is the independence under the control of the international community, the EU is of the opinion that a civilian mission will have to strike the right balance between the desire of Kosovo Albanians for self-governance and the safeguarding of security if the local authorities of Serbia fail to do so.

" Russia, however, Serbia's traditional ally, will not agree to participate in a civilian mission in Kosovo, if the negotiations do not lead to an acceptable outcome," Kyrieri, professor of the European Institute of the Public Administration said to Trend by electronic mail.

According to expert, the negotiated solution would be either a new resolution which would define the status and be acceptable to both Belgrade and Kosovo Albanians, thus not backing the Ahtissaari proposal, or a resolution which would provide legitimacy to the mission.

"Russia appears to be of the opinion that even if a new resolution not mentioning Ahtissari's plan for 'supervised independence' for the province is not achieved, a new resolution providing for political legitimacy is anyway necessary," Kyrieri said.

"Such a resolution will have to propose specific actions to be taken with respect to the implementation of the resolution 1244 and define the tasks of the civilian and military international presence overseeing implementation. That is why the EU needs to put more efforts on the negotiations and try to reach a compromise with Russia," said expert.

If both the UN and EU legalise a forcible break up of a State by overriding Russia's concerns without having achieved a political agreement, this would have a serious impact on their credibility and jeopardize the legitimacy of future missions, expert said.

The UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon in his opening statement to the Security Council debate on Kosovo has recognized that situation in Kosovo has substantially changed and confirmed what he has already earlier set out in his Report to the Security Council: the European Union will take on some increasing operational responsibilities in Kosovo, within a mandate established by security council resolution 1244 in 1999.

"In these new circumstances Moscow most probably is willing to take a more realistic position and seek a compromise with the EU regarding the Kosovo issue," said Kviatek-Simanska.

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