Report: U.S. officials expect Kosovo independence
September 24, 1999
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Senior U.S. officials have privately dropped their opposition to Kosovo's independence from Yugoslavia, Friday's Washington Post reports.
The newspaper says the shift comes with an emerging consensus within the Clinton administration that the secession of the province is inevitable.
The report quotes a U.S. official, speaking on the condition that he not be named, saying "Nobody in Washington expects this not to happen. Our attitude before the war was, it's better if it doesn't happen. Now, we know it's clearly on the way."
Administration denies policy shift
Leading foreign policy spokesmen told the Post that the administration had not changed its policy.
"We have always said we do not support independence for Kosovo, and we do not support independence for Kosovo now," State Department spokesman James Rubin said.
"Our policy on Kosovo independence has not changed," said a spokesman for White House National Security Adviser Samuel Berger. "We support the creation of democratic institutions and a market economy, and that's the focus of our efforts."
But other officials told the newspaper that the belief that Kosovo would eventually gain independence has become "the mostly unspoken assumption" of all U.S. policymakers.
Consensus said to be impacting policy
The report says the new consensus in Washington is already having a significant impact on the international peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.
The United States has become a leading advocate for the creation of independent institutions and legal structures that tend to isolate Kosovo from Yugoslavia's economic and political troubles, the newspaper says.
The report points to Washington's support of a plan to allow members of the Kosovo Liberation Army to form a new Kosovo corps as an illustration of the changing view.
The Yugoslav government and Russia have lashed out at the agreement setting up the Kosovo Protection Corps, which leaders of the KLA have said they see as the nucleus of a future independent Kosovo army.
The organization will ostensibly be responsible for humanitarian tasks, but will also be allowed to train with weapons. Serb leaders in Kosovo said Wednesday they had quit the Kosovo Transitional Council to protest the plan.
Differing opinions among U.N. officials
Some senior United Nations officials are reported to be in disagreement with some of the recent proposals from Bernard Kouchner, the U.N. administrator in Kosovo.
Kouchner is a French humanitarian aid official who was viewed with suspicion in Washington initially, but is now highly regarded.
One official said his decision last month to make the German mark the official currency of the province was "a mistake." Another U.N. official told the Post that Kouchner's proposal to issue U.N. travel documents was also opposed at United Nations headquarters.
Similar controversy is expected over a decision not to retain Yugoslavia's country code in phone numbers registered under Kosovo's new cellular telephone network.
The Yugoslav government charges that these and other measures are designed to weaken Yugoslavia's links with the province.
Turnout fizzles on third day of anti-Milosevic rallies
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.