presión USA sobre la UE

Rice urges Europe to move on Kosovo

23.01.2008 - 09:24 CET | By Lucia Kubosova
US state secretary Condoleezza Rice has warned Europe against further delays in resolving the status of Kosovo.

"There is some danger in continuing to wait for what needs to be done," Ms Rice told reporters in Berlin on Tuesday (22 January) after meeting EU representatives for consultations over the next move on the future of the south Serbian province.

"I don't think we have a gap with Europe on Kosovo. What we are really now trying to do is to see if there is anything more that can be done to smooth the transition," she said, according to AFP news agency.

The US foreign minister admitted that for an overall stability of the region, "it would be good to have an outcome of the Serbian elections," referring to the second round of presidential poll in Serbia scheduled for 3 February.

However, she pointed out: "at a point, we are going to have to take tough decisions and putting off tough decisions does not make tough decisions easier."

The Serbian election is viewed in the EU as something of a crossroads for the Balkan country where it will choose its future orientation – either towards Europe or more towards Russia.

Pro-western current president Boris Tadic is competing in the February run-off with the radical nationalist Tomislav Nikolic, who favours freezing EU links if the bloc recognises an independent Kosovo.

Belgrade, supported by Russia, opposes any such move by the province which has been governed by the United Nations since NATO bombing in 1999 to halt the killing and ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians in a Serb counter-insurgency war.

Meanwhile, EU and NATO officials in Brussels are on Wednesday (23 January) and Thursday due to discuss a timetable for pending Kosovo independence with its prime minister, Hashim Thaci.

According to diplomats, the move – known as the "Coordinated Declaration of Independence" - is expected between late February and March, with one official suggesting "Easter [23 March] is the cut-off date," Reuters has reported.

"I will confirm in Brussels that Kosovo is ready and united to declare independence and I will demand joint recognition by the US and EU so we can successfully finalise this process together," Mr Thaci told Reuters.

The Kosovo question is being pondered not only in Brussels. According to a report in Germany's Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung last week, Hollywood actors also have strong opinions on the matter.

George Clooney and Sharon Stone have both spoken out in favour of Serbia's territorial integrity calling for a "depedent Kosovo."

Scottish actor Sean Connery has also jumped on the Serbian bandwagon.

"During its history, Scotland has had far more grounds to be granted independence, but it was not allowed to secede. What could possibly be the difference between my homeland and Kosovo, to create such a precedent now?!," said Mr Connery.