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Sri Lanka rejects Kosovo independence

[TamilNet, Sunday, 17 February 2008, 18:22 GMT]
While the United States and a number of European Union countries are expected to recognize Kosovo on Monday, Sri Lanka's Foreign Ministry, reasoning that declaration of Independence can set "an unmanageable precedent in the conduct of international relations," said that Sri Lanka does not endorse the secession of Kosovo from Republic of Serbia. Questions raised by the birth of a new state towards demand for self-determination by similarly affected Tamils in Sri Lanka, may explain Sri Lanka's discomfiture towards Kosovo's independence, more than the outwardly expressed "concern" for the threat to international peace and security, political observers in Colombo said.

Albanian Flag
Albanian Flag
"We note that the declaration of independence was made without the consent of the majority of the people of Serbia. The Unilateral Declaration of Independence by Kosovo could set an unmanageable precedent in the conduct of international relations, the established global order of sovereign States and could thus pose a grave threat to international peace and security," Sri Lanka's statement said according to media reports from Colombo.

PDF IconUN Resolution 1244 on Kosovo
PDF IconVaddukkoaddai Resolution
PDF IconLTTE Proposal:
Interim Self Governing Authority
PDF IconP-TOMS: Post Tsunami Agreement
China, Russia and India are expected to oppose the Kosovo's independence.

Land-locked Kosovo, with a geographic area of 4200 sq.mile and population of 2m, will be the sixth state carved from the former Serbian-dominated Yugoslav federation since 1991, after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro, and is expected to be accepted as the 193rd state in the world's comity of nations.

Tacit acceptance of the viability of Kosovo with a smaller geographic area than Sri Lanka's NorthEast (7500 sq.miles), and smaller population than Tamils in Sri Lanka (4m), by approving members of the international community debunks the argument against the viability of Tamileelam, political observers in Colombo noted.

In contrast to Kosovo, Tamils demand for self-determination initiated by an alliance of Tamil political parties in Vaddukoaddai resolution in 1976, preceded the armed struggle by Liberation Tigers, and therefore, provides additional weight to Tamil demand.

Kosovo Eelam Comparison (Click on the text for larger image)
Kosovo Eelam Comparison (Click on the text for larger image)

Dispute on the legality of Kosovo's independence is likely to continue between US, EU and the opposers led by Russia and Serbia.

Many Western governments argue that because 1244 does refer to general principles that G8 foreign ministers had agreed in advance of the resolution, these should be used as the basis for the acceptance of independence now. These principles include the deployment in Kosovo of "international civil and security presences" and "facilitating a political process designed to determine Kosovo's future status," according to analysis by BBC.

Fragmenting Yugoslavia (Graphics: Daily Mirror)
Fragmenting Yugoslavia (Graphics: Daily Mirror)
The counter-argument by Serbia and Russia will be that Serbia, the sovereign state, has not agreed to independence for Kosovo, that there is no Security Council resolution authorising the detachment of Kosovo from Serbia and that therefore its independence is illegal.

Sri Lanka's foreign ministry added its voice to the dissenters saying: "This action by Kosovo is a violation of the Charter of the United Nations, which enshrines the sovereignty and territorial integrity of member states," AFP said.

Sri Lanka's stand, however, ignores Article 1(1) of UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which asserts: "All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development."


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External Links:
DM: Sri Lanka rejects Kosovo’s secession
TamilNation: Understanding Kosovo
BBC: Kosovo vow as independence looms
AFP:  Excitement as Kosovo independence confirmed for Sunday
Wiki: Kosovo War
BBC: Legal furore over Kosovo recognition
BBC: Kosovo gears up for independence


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