UN reduces meetings on Kosovo under US, European pressure

Published 09.02.2019 00:02

The Security Council agreed Thursday to reduce the number of meetings it holds on Kosovo under pressure from the United States and its European allies who say the U.N.'s most powerful body has more important crises to discuss.

Kosovo declared independence in 2008 from Serbia, a close ally of Russia which has refused to recognize its decision and had insisted on holding open meetings every three months. Council members agreed ahead of a scheduled Thursday afternoon meeting on Kosovo to reduce the number of meetings to three gatherings this year and two in 2020, avoiding what would likely have been a contentious procedural vote.

Britain's U.N. Ambassador Karen Pierce said: "If you look at the amount of conflict actually on the ground in Kosovo . there isn't anything like the level of the issues that are dealt with in places like Yemen, or (Congo) or Haiti." "So four meetings a year was clearly too many," she said. But the issue of the number of meetings was still raised by many speakers at Thursday's council meeting.

U.S. deputy ambassador Jonathan Cohen said the Trump administration appreciated the agreement, saying "there is much better uses for this council's limited time and resources than to maintain the past frequency of these ... briefings." Russia's U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said Moscow rejects the Western line, stressing that "behind this is an attempt to hide from the international community the truth on the real situation in the region and the meddling behind the scenes in Kosovo."

Kosovo came under U.N. and NATO administration after a 1999 NATO-led air war halted a crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists.

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