Serbia, Kosovo 'never going to be one again': Rice


Russia must accept the reality that "Serbia and Kosovo are never going to be one again" or risk instability there, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in an interview published Wednesday. "I hope that the Russians are as committed as we are to a stable outcome in the Balkans and to being constructive in the Balkans," Rice said after talks on Kosovo in Brussels last week with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. "But the fact of the matter is Kosovo and Serbia are never going to be one again, and that's the reality," Rice was quoted as saying in USA Today. "And if you don't deal with that reality, you're only going to sow the seeds of considerable discontent and considerable instability," Rice said.

The Albanian-majority Serb province of Kosovo is seeking independence while Russian-backed Serbia is willing to grant its southern province no more than autonomy. Rice endorsed a plan presented early this year by the UN special envoy for Kosovo, Martti Ahtisaari, that calls for independence under international supervision for the province. "Both Kosovo and Serbia need to get on with their futures, their separate but related futures. And the way to do that is for Serbia to have a strong European perspective," Rice said. "I have been encouraging our European allies to do as much as they can to encourage that European perspective," she added. The focus now is on ensuring that Kosovo fufills its obligations under the Ahtisaari plan -- such as the protection of minority rights and religious sites -- "because there isn't any more point to further negotiation," she said.

A negotiating deadline expired on Monday after a diplomatic troika of the United States, Russia and the European Union failed to broker a compromise between the ethnic Albanians and Serbs on Kosovo's future. European Union leaders are to meet over Kosovo at a summit Friday, ahead of a UN Security Council debate on the thorny issue on December 19. Russia said Tuesday it will demand that the UN Security Council annul any unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo. Following the expiry of the UN-set deadline for a negotiated settlement, Kosovo's Albanian leaders said they would immediately begin coordinating a move to independence with international partners. A declaration on breaking away from Serbia is widely expected next month.


Georgia fears impact of Kosovo crisis

Georgia, the former Soviet republic struggling to assert its independence from Russia, appealed on Thursday for US and European support in the event that a crisis in Kosovo should spread to the Caucasus and threaten Georgia's territorial integrity. "We hope our friends and allies in the west take a firm position on the inapplicability of the Kosovo case to Georgia. In other words, Kosovo is sui generis," Lado Gurgenidze, Georgia's prime minister, told the Financial Times in an interview. He was referring to the risk that if the US and most European Union member-states recognise Kosovo's independence, Russia might retaliate by recognising Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two Russian-backed separatist enclaves in Georgia.

Months of fruitless negotiations between Belgrade and Kosovo's ethnic Albanian leaders are due to end on Monday. Russia backs Serbia in its insistence that Kosovo can have autonomy under Serbia's sovereignty but not full independence. Mr Gurgenidze won support for his position on Kosovo on Thursday from Benita Ferrero-Waldner, the EU's external relations commissioner, with whom he held talks in Brussels. "We do hope also that Russia will understand that, certainly on South Ossetia and Abkhazia, things should remain as they are," she told reporters. Some EU officials doubt that Russia, beset with restive minorities of its own on its southern borders, would go so far as to recognise Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. But few are under any illusions about Moscow's desire to retain influence over Georgia, especially since its pro-western leadership took power after the Rose Revolution of November 2003.

Referring to Russia, Mr Gurgenidze said: "So long as there is unequivocal respect for our territorial integrity and our sovereign Euro-Atlantic choice, which is not at all at the expense of anyone else, everything else can be discussed and addressed and negotiated." Mr Gurgenidze, 36, a US-educated former investment banker with ABN Amro, was appointed prime minister one month ago after the Georgian authorities drew criticism even from their western allies for suppressing opposition street protests and imposing a state of emergency. He travelled to Brussels to ease the concerns of EU and Nato about the turmoil in Georgia and to stress that the presidential election, scheduled for January 5, will be free, fair and open to foreign observers. Mr Gurgenidze said monitors from the Council of Europe, the European parliament, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and anyone else that wanted to observe the election was welcome. "The more the merrier," he said.

● Nato is set to heighten the readiness of 1,600 additional troops in order to be able to respond to any increase in violence following the failure of status negotiations for Serbia's breakaway province of Kosovo, according to people familiar with the plans. The troops are part of Nato's operational reserve force, standing by in case Nato's 16,500-strong Kosovo Force, known as Kfor, needs reinforcements.


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Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.