Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Solana Bows to Moscow

The European Union’s High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana, opined in a European Parliament hearing that international recognition of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia could set “a precedent” adversely affecting Georgia in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With some trepidation Solana imagined, “We are trapped here…. President [Mikheil] Saakashvili is trapped; all of us are trapped in a double mechanism that may have good consequences for one, but not for the other” (RFE/RL Caucasus Report, October 6).

This statement gratuitously bows to Russia’s untenable, self-serving theory linking the conflict settlement in Kosovo to the post-Soviet conflicts. Given Solana’s top position, this statement -- inadvertent or improvised as may be the case in a hearing -- is the strongest public support for Moscow’s position from a Western official thus far. It undercuts U.S. policy and that of many old and new EU governments, which rule out any linkage between conflict resolution in Kosovo and in the post-Soviet conflicts. Those governments -- and also Georgia, Moldova, and Azerbaijan, whose territories are the scene of conflicts -- point out that the Kosovo conflict differs profoundly in its nature from the post-Soviet “frozen” conflicts and that any outcome in Kosovo can have no bearing on eventual outcomes in Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria, or Karabakh.

That answers that. It seems that the EU's position is going to be rather clear: they are calling the eastern border what it is. When combined with statement that the EU should stop its expansion to the east temporarily - though probably permanently, honestly - it seems that the future of the remaining border states between the Russian Federation and the European Union can only hope for neutrality at best. I have to say though, should Ukraine have anotehr election that affirms the Orangers (as a rejection of the Party of Regions) what would you bet that suddenly Eastern Ukraine and Crimea have referendums seeking independance (first) and Russian annexation (second).


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