The visit of the UN Secretary General to Belgrade is the message that the West Balkans, as a region where the interests of big powers meet, is still important. Simultaneously, it is sort of a test of the balance of forces in the Security Council, i.e. seeking to see whether September will bring new “stressful” situations when it comes to Kosmet, former diplomat and professor of the Faculty of Political Science Predrag Simic tells the International Radio Serbia. The conversation was made by Ivana Subasic.
Ban Ki-moon’s visit is primarily meant to say that although in the last few years the situation in the West Balkans has improved, this region still attracts the attention of the UN, due to the unresolved issues in Kosmet, but also because of the nearness of some new crises, such as Syria and the Near East, says Predrag Simic. According to him, for the Secretary General, the Balkans remains the place where interests of big powers meet, so it is important to achieve stability, since it influences the wider region as well.
In Belgrade, Ban’s visit has been assessed as a political event of first-rate importance. However, the announcement of his going to Kosmet has opened in the national public the debate about the protocol of that visit, although the UN Secretary General had specified that it will be in line with Security Council’s Resolution 1244. “Belgrade is very sensitive to all things relating to Kosmet, and especially the potential recognitions of its independence”, reminds our collocutor. In that context, as he reminds, Ban’s visit to the Province does not only represent the indication of the balance of forces within the Security Council, from which the initiative for the admission of Kosmet to the UN could come, but also probing to see if that issue could be on the agenda of the UN General Assembly in September already, when the 62nd session of that body will commence. In view of that, Simic reminds that the number of countries that have recognized Kosmet so far has grown to one half of UN members, so the question of Kosovo’s admission to the UN can be expected sooner or later.
“Russia and China are an insurmountable obstacle for those within the Security Council who insist on recognizing Kosmet, but if the number of countries that support Pristina keeps on growing, it is unlikely that Moscow and Beijing will remain unyielding in that regard. This is why the protocol of Ban’s visit to the Province is extremely important for Belgrade, i.e. whether he will treat it as an independent state or according to Resolution 1244”, explains Simic.
The UN have had more or less important role in the Balkans during and after the fall apart of the former SFR Yugolsavia. “Unfortunately, some of the UN founders are the same ones who would now like to see the role of that organization considerably narrowed”, says our guest. He reminds that the principal role of the world organization to preserve the peace and stability in the world was first tested in Kosmet, just like today it is being put to test in Syria. “In the last 20 years or so, there has been immense pressure to marginalize the impact of the UN, and Kosmet was the exact point where it was stressed”, emphasized Simic, while pointing to the fact that at the moment UNMIK plays a symbolic part in the Province, which is only preserved thanking to the balance of forces within the Security Council.
He says that the Secretary General is, however, aware of the pressures on the UN, and this organization is struggling to not be pushed to the margin as just another debate forum. Instead, it attempts to maintain its authority and stay the organization that would have a central role in preserving the peace and stability in the world, as it was envisaged in San Francisco, back in 1945. “In that context, the visit of Ban Ki-moon to the West Balkans and Serbia can be seen as part of the efforts to sustain the presence and authority of the UN in the international relations”, professor Predrag Simic concluded in his interview for the International Radio Serbia.