Ex-Soviet leader Gorbachev blasts EU, NATO over Kosovo status

By RIA Novosti

Moscow : Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev sharply criticized on Saturday attempts by the EU and NATO to decide the future of Serbia’s Albanian-dominated breakaway province of Kosovo.

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The UN Security Council has failed so far to bridge divisions over the future of Kosovo. On December 19, the U.K.’s UN envoy, John Sawers, said there was no possibility of overcoming the difficulties in talks within the UN, and that the European Union would now assume responsibility for determining Kosovo’s status.

“It is an unprecedented step, which will certainly result in failure, both politically and morally,” Gorbachev said in an interview with the government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

“For the first time in history, two organizations are trying to assume responsibility for the future of a country – Serbia – which is not a member of either of them,” the former Soviet president said.

Most Western countries are seeking independence for the volatile area, which has been a UN protectorate since NATO bombings of the former Yugoslavia ended a war between Kosovo Albanians and Serb forces in 1999, but is still recognized as part of Serbia under the international law.

“By destroying the international law and replacing it with poorly disguised tyranny, the proponents of this approach have certainly miscalculated the outcome of their actions,” Gorbachev said.

He urged the participants of the Kosovo talks to show political wisdom and continue the dialogue until mutually acceptable solution has been found.

Kosovo’s 2-million Albanians are expected to declare independence with Western backing sometime in the beginning of 2008.

The Russian Foreign Ministry earlier said Russia would undoubtedly use its veto power at the UN Security Council if a decision on Kosovo’s unilateral independence was made.

The UN Security Council will revisit the issue of Kosovo in January amid fears that the unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia would destabilize the situation in the Balkans.