Monday, January 07, 2008

Slovenia, Kosovo and Euskal Herria

Well, here you have the last development in Kosovo's quest for independence, and guess what, once again the Basque Country is mentioned in an article regarding this interesting move by the European powers.

Here you have it:

Slovenia paves the way for Kosovo independence

LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AFP) — Slovenia, current holders of the EU presidency, may see Kosovo's independence as inevitable, but it has no illusions about the challenge of uniting EU members on the issue.

Talking in Ljubljana to journalists Monday, Prime Minister Janez Jansa was careful not to use the "i" word, which has become practically taboo in Brussels.

But his remarks, a week after his country assumed the six-month rotating presidency of the bloc, made it clear he considered independence for Kosovo to be inevitable.

"For Kosovo it's clear what will happen, it's more a question of how to do it," Jansa said.

The future of Bosnia-Hercegovina, which is currently made up of two autonomous halves, was "a more serious problem for the stability of the western Balkans," he added.

Jansa recalled the poor treatment of ethnic Albanians under the regime of former Serbian President Slobodan Milosevic, when Slovenia was still part of the Yugoslav federation.

"Milosevic's policy was to exclude them, to treat them as second-class citizens."

The Serbian province of Kosovo has been under UN administration since 1999 when NATO bombed Serbia to end Milosevic's crackdown on separatist ethnic-Albanians.

"It's not possible after all this" to force the people of Kosovo to live with the Serbs, he concluded, adding that it was "better to start building new relations."

Although he gave no timetable for Kosovo's independence, Jansa noted that it would have to take into account presidential elections in Serbia, which begin on January 20.

EU members fear that a premature declaration of independence by Kosovo would boost the chances of Serbia's ultra-nationalist candidate Tomislav Nikolic, who is running against the pro-EU outgoing President Boris Tadic.

Things are already hotting up ahead of the vote, with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica saying Thursday that the European Union would have to choose between closer ties with Serbia and support for an independent Kosovo.

But Jansa downplayed these threats.

"Kostunica is not the only one, there are more moderate politicians" in Serbia, he said, referring to Tadic.

Asked how the EU's 27 members would reach a common position on Kosovo, he admitted: "It won't be easy."

While at least 20 member states are ready to recognise independence for Kosovo some remain wary or have expressed outright opposition.

They include Cyprus, Greece, Spain, Slovakia and Romania, all of whom fear it could set a precedent for other would-be separatist regions.

Spain, for example, has had to deal with a long-running struggle by militant Basque separatists for independence for their region, a conflict that has claimed more than 800 deaths over four decades.

Russia, which has close ties with Serbia, has also threatened to veto any UN Security Council move to recognise independence for Kosovo.

EU members are similarly divided over whether to sign a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with Serbia -- considered the first step towards integration into the bloc. Signature of the agreement has been made conditional on Belgrade's delivery of war-criminal Radovan Karadzic.

But several European countries argue that it is time to compensate Serbia for the loss of Kosovo, to prevent it breaking all ties with Europe.

By the way, Slovenians should be one of the last individuals on Earth to refuse the Basques their right to self determination. If according to Jansa the Kosovars should not be made to live with the Serbians after what Milosevic did to them, why then should the Basques live with the Spaniards after what Franco did to them?

If the Kosovars were second class citizens under Milosevic then how about the Basques who under Franco's regime and then under the PP and the PSOE governments have seen their civil rights taken away? Political parties have been banned, Basque language media outlets have been shut down, there is incarceration laws that apply only to Basque political prisoners, torture against Basque activists is widespread and the so called democratic governments have deployed death squads in Basque soil. So what are the Basques, third class citizens?

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