SNP MEP Comments On "Absurd" UN Kosovo Decision

08 October 2008
SNP Member of the European Parliament Mr Alyn Smith has today (Wednesday) voiced his unease at the decision of the United Nations General Assembly to refer the question of Kosovan independence to the World Court and voiced his hope that the eventual ruling will draw a line under continued Russian and Serbian belligerence on the issue.

The MEP, who spent three days in Pristina as Kosova was preparing for the declaration of independence in February this year meeting all sides of the ethnic and political spectrum as well as EU and UN missions, has sought an urgent meeting with the Kosovan Representative to the EU in Brussels to discuss the issue. Kosova has been recognised by some 47 countries as independent, though Serbia and Russia have consistently refused to recognise the declaration.

Smith said:

"This decision is absurd, and with only 77 voting in favour to 6 against with 74 abstentions clearly owes more to appeasing Russia than any high minded respect for the rule of international law.

"I met with all sides in Pristina, and even the Kosovan Serbs were clear that the only way to resolve the conflict and build the Kosovan nation was independence. I have kept a close eye on developments since and while Kosova has a long, long way to go it is clear that the institutions of government are functioning, which is rather more than can be said for the situation pre independence.

"The position of the United Kingdom government on this matter is one I, in fact, fully agree with. I share the view of the UK government that there is no reasonable doubt that Kosovan independence was fully in accordance with international law and this referral to the Court is quite unnecessary.

"This decision may, however, turn out in the long term to be a welcome clarification in legal terms of the rights of self determination. While other countries like Slovenia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic have all become independent in recent years and are full enthusiastic members at the top table of the EU, it is clear that Russian and Serbian obstruction will continue towards Kosova until there is clear international guidance on the specifics of the Kosovan situation."