WASHINGTON -- A former U.S. secretary of state says there are "strong reasons for opposition" to Kosovo's independence.
Lawrence Eagleburger, who was also the United States ambassador to Belgrade, pointed out Monday that "the disagreement over Kosovo can in fact be narrowed down to a conflict of the principles of self-determination and sovereignty."
"It is deeply distressing that the international community, including the U.S., is advocating the carving away of a part of the territory of one country, and is supporting the proclamation of that part of territory as an independent state," Voice of America quoted Eagleburger as saying.
"This is not something that the world would want to be established as a tradition. There are very good reasons for the opposition to the international efforts to separate Kosovo from Serbia," Eagleburger said.
While "it can be argued that there are problems" between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians, he said, "the actual problem is in creating a practice where the international community would take upon itself the right to order or secure through pressure the seizing of certain territory from nominal hosts, and to strip them of their sovereignty over that particular territory," Eagleburger concluded.
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported Sunday that "early this year, United States President George Bush and the European Union are likely to recognize the independence of Kosovo, with heavy opposition from Serbia and Russia, but such a decision may have unwanted consequences."
"If Kosovo successfully achieves statehood, the Republic of Srpska, the Serb entity in Bosnia, will be tempted to follow suit in reprisal, slicing Bosnia almost in half."
"Meanwhile, Belgium has been gripped by talk about repeating Czechoslovakia's 1993 'velvet divorce', with Flemings and Walloons possibly splitting and forming their own little states," a piece entitled "Independence Daze", written by Gary J.Bass, a Princeton University professor, points out.
"Without clear standards of justification, Western approval for Kosovo's statehood could make it even harder to persuade the recalcitrant Sudanese government to allow joint UN-African Union peacekeepers to deploy effectively in Darfur, lest a protected Darfur one day seek independence, too," Bass said.
"The costs of fogginess are too high, and we aren't the ones who pay them," said Bass, stressing that "the claims for the independence of Kurdistan from Iraq or Chechnya from Russia or Transdniestria from Moldova should not be ignored, either."