UN Security Council meets on Kosovo's independence

Other News Materials 15 February 2008 01:23 (UTC +04:00)
UN Security Council meets on Kosovo's independence

( dpa )- The UN Security Council began Thursday a closed door meeting to hear a plea by Serbia ahead of the breakaway province Kosovo's expected declaration of independence this weekend.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic was to explain the position of his country opposing Kosvo's expected move.

A number of UN members were allowed to address the council. Some members said the council may issue a statement at the close of the meeting, but it had not confirmed if it would do so.

Russia, a veto power on the 15-nation council, strongly supports Serbia against Kosovo's independence.

Council President Ricardo Alberto Arias said Wednesday Kosovo has not requested to attend the meeting, which also will allow council members to state their positions on the issue of independence.

Diplomats told reporters in background briefings that the request for a council meeting by Russia and Serbia was designed to drive a wedge between countries in the European Union, which already is divided on the issue.

They said recognition of Kosovo, once it has declared independence, would be made by individual countries in the EU rather than as a bloc.

Jeremic said in the letter to Arias that he requested the urgent meeting because of "the extremely grave situation in the Serbian province of Kosovo and Metohhija where we witness the final preparatory activities for a unilateral declaration of the independence."

Jeremic said such a declaration would violate a UN resolution on the peaceful resolution of the Kosovo conflict, the territorial integrity of Serbia and would endanger international peace and security.

A UN spokesperson said Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was withholding any comment until the council has met. He was scheduled to visit Washington Thursday and Friday for meetings with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and President George W Bush, where the issue of Kosovo would be on the agenda.