Serbia recalls ambassador to Washington


Story Transcript

CARLO BASILONE: Serbia has recalled its ambassador to the United States in response to Washington’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said: [text on screen] “The decision by the United States will not turn the false state (of Kosovo) into a real one.” The government of the Serbian province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on Sunday.

(CLIP BEGINS)

HASHIM THACI, PRIME MINISTER OF KOSOVO (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): The day has come and from today onwards, Kosovo is proud, independent and free.

(CLIP ENDS)

Thousands celebrated in the streets in the capital, Pristina, as the more than 88 percent ethnic Albanian majority celebrated an end to their long and bloody struggle for autonomy. Kosovo, which is considered by Serbia as its historical and religious heartland since medieval times, has been administered by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when NATO bombing halted a bloody crackdown against separatists by then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. More than 10,000 Kosovar Albanians were killed, and close to one million were displaced from their homes in the 1998-99 conflict. In Belgrade, demonstrations against the secession were violent, with Serbia’s president and prime minister rejecting Kosovo’s independence declaration as invalid.

(CLIP BEGINS)

VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Today the 17th of February 2008, the fake country of Kosovo was illegally declared on part of the territory which is under NATO military control. This unprecedented illegal act has been caused by the brutal and immoral policies conceived and executed by the United States.

(CLIP ENDS)

Though Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by the United States and many European nations, including Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, many countries such as Russia, China, and even EU states like Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus say that they will refuse to recognize Kosovo and that the declaration is illegal under international law. We spoke to The Real News Analyst Eric Margolis.

ERIC MARGOLIS, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Well, let me start from the back first. Those European countries who are opposing or most of them opposing the independence of Kosova—I think we should start calling it now by its Albanian name rather than its Serb name, Kosovo. Kosova–they have their own separatist movements, particularly Spain, which we know very well, but also Romania, which has a very sizable Hungarian ethnic minority, and Russia, of course, which has its Chechens and a large, restive Muslim majority. So these countries have an axe to grind. Secession is not against international law by any means, and is enshrined, in fact, in the charter of the UN. But as the Kosova prime minister pointed out, and I think quite correctly, that this is not just a pure case of secession of a people from a country where they’re unhappy; this is the final act of the death of Yugoslavia, And the last chapter now is the secession of Kosovo, which was always [inaudible] Albanian area. And, yes, it was the heartland of medieval Serbia. That is true. But if we’re talking about history, the Serbs came in the sixth century, and the Albanians were there, were the original inhabitants of the region. They were known as Illyrians. So these historical arguments don’t hold much water. What is important is that the Serbs tried to ethnically cleanse Kosova or Kosovo. Common sense says that, national pride aside, it’s better not to have people who don’t want to be in your country still in your country, particularly when there’s a case of violence. So Serbia’s better off without Kosova. This allows Serbia to start talking about entering Europe with a clean slate and rebuilding its shattered economy. The people of Kosova are going to need help from now on. But it’s long overdue that this very difficult problem is finally put on the road to resolution.

BASILONE: On Sunday, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint.

(CLIP BEGINS)

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Pending guidance from the Security Council, UNMIK continue to consider Security Council Resolution 1244 as the legal framework for this mandate, and we’ll continue to implement this mandate in the light of the evolving circumstances.

(CLIP ENDS)

Resolution 1244 was adopted in 1999 and reiterated at the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now Serbia, had sovereignty over the region of Kosovo and that all UN members respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

(CLIP BEGINS)

VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, UN: I spelled out our position. I think the important things we have heard today from the secretary-general, as I mentioned, is that he confirmed that 1244 remains in force and that the head of army continues to have the overall authority in Pristina. Those are two very important statements to us. It falls somewhat short—I’ll be frank with you—compared with our requirement that he instructs Mr. [“LOO-ka”] to declare the unilateral proclamation null and void. But I think this is an important beginning.

CARLO BASILONE: Serbia has recalled its ambassador to the United States in response to Washington’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said: [text on screen] “The decision by the United States will not turn the false state (of Kosovo) into a real one.” The government of the Serbian province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on Sunday.

(CLIP BEGINS)

HASHIM THACI, PRIME MINISTER OF KOSOVO (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): The day has come and from today onwards, Kosovo is proud, independent and free.

(CLIP ENDS)

Thousands celebrated in the streets in the capital, Pristina, as the more than 88 percent ethnic Albanian majority celebrated an end to their long and bloody struggle for autonomy. Kosovo, which is considered by Serbia as its historical and religious heartland since medieval times, has been administered by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when NATO bombing halted a bloody crackdown against separatists by then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. More than 10,000 Kosovar Albanians were killed, and close to one million were displaced from their homes in the 1998-99 conflict. In Belgrade, demonstrations against the secession were violent, with Serbia’s president and prime minister rejecting Kosovo’s independence declaration as invalid.

(CLIP BEGINS)

VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Today the 17th of February 2008, the fake country of Kosovo was illegally declared on part of the territory which is under NATO military control. This unprecedented illegal act has been caused by the brutal and immoral policies conceived and executed by the United States.

(CLIP ENDS)

Though Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by the United States and many European nations, including Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, many countries such as Russia, China, and even EU states like Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus say that they will refuse to recognize Kosovo and that the declaration is illegal under international law. We spoke to The Real News Analyst Eric Margolis.

ERIC MARGOLIS, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Well, let me start from the back first. Those European countries who are opposing or most of them opposing the independence of Kosova—I think we should start calling it now by its Albanian name rather than its Serb name, Kosovo. Kosova–they have their own separatist movements, particularly Spain, which we know very well, but also Romania, which has a very sizable Hungarian ethnic minority, and Russia, of course, which has its Chechens and a large, restive Muslim majority. So these countries have an axe to grind. Secession is not against international law by any means, and is enshrined, in fact, in the charter of the UN. But as the Kosova prime minister pointed out, and I think quite correctly, that this is not just a pure case of secession of a people from a country where they’re unhappy; this is the final act of the death of Yugoslavia, And the last chapter now is the secession of Kosovo, which was always [inaudible] Albanian area. And, yes, it was the heartland of medieval Serbia. That is true. But if we’re talking about history, the Serbs came in the sixth century, and the Albanians were there, were the original inhabitants of the region. They were known as Illyrians. So these historical arguments don’t hold much water. What is important is that the Serbs tried to ethnically cleanse Kosova or Kosovo. Common sense says that, national pride aside, it’s better not to have people who don’t want to be in your country still in your country, particularly when there’s a case of violence. So Serbia’s better off without Kosova. This allows Serbia to start talking about entering Europe with a clean slate and rebuilding its shattered economy. The people of Kosova are going to need help from now on. But it’s long overdue that this very difficult problem is finally put on the road to resolution.

BASILONE: On Sunday, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint.

(CLIP BEGINS)

BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Pending guidance from the Security Council, UNMIK continue to consider Security Council Resolution 1244 as the legal framework for this mandate, and we’ll continue to implement this mandate in the light of the evolving circumstances.

(CLIP ENDS)

Resolution 1244 was adopted in 1999 and reiterated at the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now Serbia, had sovereignty over the region of Kosovo and that all UN members respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.

(CLIP BEGINS)

VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, UN: I spelled out our position. I think the important things we have heard today from the secretary-general, as I mentioned, is that he confirmed that 1244 remains in force and that the head of army continues to have the overall authority in Pristina. Those are two very important statements to us. It falls somewhat short—I’ll be frank with you—compared with our requirement that he instructs Mr. [“LOO-ka”] to declare the unilateral proclamation null and void. But I think this is an important beginning.

DISCLAIMER:

Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


Story Transcript

CARLO BASILONE: Serbia has recalled its ambassador to the United States in response to Washington’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said: [text on screen] “The decision by the United States will not turn the false state (of Kosovo) into a real one.” The government of the Serbian province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on Sunday. (CLIP BEGINS) HASHIM THACI, PRIME MINISTER OF KOSOVO (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): The day has come and from today onwards, Kosovo is proud, independent and free. (CLIP ENDS) Thousands celebrated in the streets in the capital, Pristina, as the more than 88 percent ethnic Albanian majority celebrated an end to their long and bloody struggle for autonomy. Kosovo, which is considered by Serbia as its historical and religious heartland since medieval times, has been administered by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when NATO bombing halted a bloody crackdown against separatists by then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. More than 10,000 Kosovar Albanians were killed, and close to one million were displaced from their homes in the 1998-99 conflict. In Belgrade, demonstrations against the secession were violent, with Serbia’s president and prime minister rejecting Kosovo’s independence declaration as invalid. (CLIP BEGINS) VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Today the 17th of February 2008, the fake country of Kosovo was illegally declared on part of the territory which is under NATO military control. This unprecedented illegal act has been caused by the brutal and immoral policies conceived and executed by the United States. (CLIP ENDS) Though Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by the United States and many European nations, including Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, many countries such as Russia, China, and even EU states like Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus say that they will refuse to recognize Kosovo and that the declaration is illegal under international law. We spoke to The Real News Analyst Eric Margolis. ERIC MARGOLIS, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Well, let me start from the back first. Those European countries who are opposing or most of them opposing the independence of Kosova—I think we should start calling it now by its Albanian name rather than its Serb name, Kosovo. Kosova–they have their own separatist movements, particularly Spain, which we know very well, but also Romania, which has a very sizable Hungarian ethnic minority, and Russia, of course, which has its Chechens and a large, restive Muslim majority. So these countries have an axe to grind. Secession is not against international law by any means, and is enshrined, in fact, in the charter of the UN. But as the Kosova prime minister pointed out, and I think quite correctly, that this is not just a pure case of secession of a people from a country where they’re unhappy; this is the final act of the death of Yugoslavia, And the last chapter now is the secession of Kosovo, which was always [inaudible] Albanian area. And, yes, it was the heartland of medieval Serbia. That is true. But if we’re talking about history, the Serbs came in the sixth century, and the Albanians were there, were the original inhabitants of the region. They were known as Illyrians. So these historical arguments don’t hold much water. What is important is that the Serbs tried to ethnically cleanse Kosova or Kosovo. Common sense says that, national pride aside, it’s better not to have people who don’t want to be in your country still in your country, particularly when there’s a case of violence. So Serbia’s better off without Kosova. This allows Serbia to start talking about entering Europe with a clean slate and rebuilding its shattered economy. The people of Kosova are going to need help from now on. But it’s long overdue that this very difficult problem is finally put on the road to resolution. BASILONE: On Sunday, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint. (CLIP BEGINS) BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Pending guidance from the Security Council, UNMIK continue to consider Security Council Resolution 1244 as the legal framework for this mandate, and we’ll continue to implement this mandate in the light of the evolving circumstances. (CLIP ENDS) Resolution 1244 was adopted in 1999 and reiterated at the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now Serbia, had sovereignty over the region of Kosovo and that all UN members respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. (CLIP BEGINS) VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, UN: I spelled out our position. I think the important things we have heard today from the secretary-general, as I mentioned, is that he confirmed that 1244 remains in force and that the head of army continues to have the overall authority in Pristina. Those are two very important statements to us. It falls somewhat short—I’ll be frank with you—compared with our requirement that he instructs Mr. [“LOO-ka”] to declare the unilateral proclamation null and void. But I think this is an important beginning. CARLO BASILONE: Serbia has recalled its ambassador to the United States in response to Washington’s recognition of Kosovo’s independence. Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica said: [text on screen] “The decision by the United States will not turn the false state (of Kosovo) into a real one.” The government of the Serbian province of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on Sunday. (CLIP BEGINS) HASHIM THACI, PRIME MINISTER OF KOSOVO (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): The day has come and from today onwards, Kosovo is proud, independent and free. (CLIP ENDS) Thousands celebrated in the streets in the capital, Pristina, as the more than 88 percent ethnic Albanian majority celebrated an end to their long and bloody struggle for autonomy. Kosovo, which is considered by Serbia as its historical and religious heartland since medieval times, has been administered by the United Nations and NATO since 1999, when NATO bombing halted a bloody crackdown against separatists by then-Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. More than 10,000 Kosovar Albanians were killed, and close to one million were displaced from their homes in the 1998-99 conflict. In Belgrade, demonstrations against the secession were violent, with Serbia’s president and prime minister rejecting Kosovo’s independence declaration as invalid. (CLIP BEGINS) VOJISLAV KOSTUNICA, PRIME MINISTER OF SERBIA (SUBTITLED TRANSLATION): Today the 17th of February 2008, the fake country of Kosovo was illegally declared on part of the territory which is under NATO military control. This unprecedented illegal act has been caused by the brutal and immoral policies conceived and executed by the United States. (CLIP ENDS) Though Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by the United States and many European nations, including Germany, the UK, France, and Italy, many countries such as Russia, China, and even EU states like Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovakia, and Cyprus say that they will refuse to recognize Kosovo and that the declaration is illegal under international law. We spoke to The Real News Analyst Eric Margolis. ERIC MARGOLIS, THE REAL NEWS ANALYST: Well, let me start from the back first. Those European countries who are opposing or most of them opposing the independence of Kosova—I think we should start calling it now by its Albanian name rather than its Serb name, Kosovo. Kosova–they have their own separatist movements, particularly Spain, which we know very well, but also Romania, which has a very sizable Hungarian ethnic minority, and Russia, of course, which has its Chechens and a large, restive Muslim majority. So these countries have an axe to grind. Secession is not against international law by any means, and is enshrined, in fact, in the charter of the UN. But as the Kosova prime minister pointed out, and I think quite correctly, that this is not just a pure case of secession of a people from a country where they’re unhappy; this is the final act of the death of Yugoslavia, And the last chapter now is the secession of Kosovo, which was always [inaudible] Albanian area. And, yes, it was the heartland of medieval Serbia. That is true. But if we’re talking about history, the Serbs came in the sixth century, and the Albanians were there, were the original inhabitants of the region. They were known as Illyrians. So these historical arguments don’t hold much water. What is important is that the Serbs tried to ethnically cleanse Kosova or Kosovo. Common sense says that, national pride aside, it’s better not to have people who don’t want to be in your country still in your country, particularly when there’s a case of violence. So Serbia’s better off without Kosova. This allows Serbia to start talking about entering Europe with a clean slate and rebuilding its shattered economy. The people of Kosova are going to need help from now on. But it’s long overdue that this very difficult problem is finally put on the road to resolution. BASILONE: On Sunday, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for restraint. (CLIP BEGINS) BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL: Pending guidance from the Security Council, UNMIK continue to consider Security Council Resolution 1244 as the legal framework for this mandate, and we’ll continue to implement this mandate in the light of the evolving circumstances. (CLIP ENDS) Resolution 1244 was adopted in 1999 and reiterated at the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, now Serbia, had sovereignty over the region of Kosovo and that all UN members respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity. (CLIP BEGINS) VITALY CHURKIN, RUSSIAN PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE, UN: I spelled out our position. I think the important things we have heard today from the secretary-general, as I mentioned, is that he confirmed that 1244 remains in force and that the head of army continues to have the overall authority in Pristina. Those are two very important statements to us. It falls somewhat short—I’ll be frank with you—compared with our requirement that he instructs Mr. [“LOO-ka”] to declare the unilateral proclamation null and void. But I think this is an important beginning. DISCLAIMER: Please note that TRNN transcripts are typed from a recording of the program; The Real News Network cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.