Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kosovo Compromise in Maine?

UPI's Stefan Nicola quotes an unnamed senior Western diplomat as saying, "'We need to give Russia an opportunity to save face without trading off on other issues."

The expectation is that there will be a delay in submitting any resolution on final status to the UN Security Council--overriding the recommendations of those here in Washington who wanted to play "chicken" with Moscow on Kosovo--with a new set of talks aimed at producing modifications to the Ahtisaari plan.

Are the outlines beginning to take shape, and should we expect progress when Presidents Bush and Putin meet in Maine at their mini-summit?

The U.S. goal remains birthing an independent Kosovo. Washington seems unprepared to countenance any form of substantial autonomy. But beyond that, could Washington be prepared to offer a number of compromises designed to address Russian concerns?

Kosovo as a bi-zonal, bi-communal federation (along the proposals for Cyprus)?

The right of each "zone" of Kosovo to have a special relationship with neighboring states (e.g. Serbia and Albania)?

Prospects for dual citizenship for Kosovo residents? (And with Kosovo residents holding, say Serbian citizenship, having the ability to vote in Serbian elections?)

Some sort of treaty of guarantee that would permit the deployment of a limited amount of Serbian forces in Kosovo in Serb-majority areas and at key sites?

A tacit recognition by Washington that while Kosovo sets no absolute precedent for any other "frozen conflict" a final Kosovo settlement could also serve as a point of departure for addressing other separatist disputes?

It remains to be seen what sort of creative approach might be undertaken to avoid a possible train wreck scenario.

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Be interesting to know if as on missile defense where for weeks the Russians were saying "no" then came up with the Azerbaijan proposal if Putin will come in with some out of right field proposal on Kosovo.
Partition Kosovo - north going to Serbia and south to Albania. And independent Kosovo will be a financial drain on EU & US for decades and a center of criminality for the rest of the Balkans.
The question is, at what point if there are concessions will Russia say, OK, this is reasonable, Serbia, take it or leave it.
Can't see the US prepared to compromise when it has said independence is only option for Kosovo and no partition of Kosovo, so there is no middle ground.
Russians are making clear they want no fig leaf proposals to "save face" and that any resolution that has a preordained conclusion is one they won't support, so I don't know if this is going to go anywhere.
Rusia is actually intereted in vatoeing the resoluting and then watching US go all the way to do it alone. Again. This will create a nice precendent for Russia to recognize Abhazia and South Ossetia - thus preventing Georgia ever to join NATO with breakaay republics in tow. It is a strange game where nobody says what game they are really playing. And no one is willing to trade Caucasus for Balkan ( definitely not US) as they simply want it all.
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