Lithuania postponed the recognition of the Kosovo Independence. It’s dangerous to work on April 1

April 3, 2008 at 9:16 pm 9 comments

KFOR in KosovoAt first I was convinced that this was an April fools’ joke.  Well, it was not – the Lithuanian Parliament Seimas failed to recognise the Kosovo Independence. The draft resolution was returned for improvement, even though some MPs were shrugging over what’s left to change.  What have happened in Seimas?

As the BNS those parliamentarians who didn’t approve the recognition of a new state and raised the question of how Kosovo Albanians, which constitute an ethnic majority in the region, are different from other peoples striving for independence – the Kurds in Turkey, Basks in Spain, inhabitants of Abkhazia and South Osetia in Georgia.

The MP and member of Liberal Movement Party Austrevicius mentioned to the BNS that “It now seems that Lithuania has some sort of specific motives for disapproving Kosovo’s independence “.

The President Adamkus, who welcomed Kosovo independence already in February 17 was rather disappointed about the decision.  Just before the President left for the for the NATO summit in Bucharest he issued a press release.  In it the President maintained that a “such an irresponsible and unprofessional attitude towards a new state is detrimental to thus far coordinated and authority-carrying Lithuania’s foreign policy and degrading to our international prestige”.

He reminded the Parliamentarians “The most renowned lawyers, diplomats and politicians of the Euro-Atlantic community agreed that Kosovo’s case was unique and cannot, for many reasons, become a precedent for autonomy-seeking territories in Georgia and Moldova”.

So, what has had happened in the April Fools’ Day in Seimas?  There are few explanations.  The first theory worth of the April Fools’ Day is that the critical mass of the Parliamentarians did not participate in the voting since they were away… celebrating their colleague’s fiftieth anniversary.  The MP is Mr. Sabatauskas, a Social Democrat and a head of an influential Seimas’ Committee of the Legal Affairs.  I was shocked not because of the birthday as such, but after finding out that Mr. Sabatauskas is actually only 50!  I would never give him more than 40!

However, another reason is rather controversial.  Amid the growing interest of the Lithuanian businessmen in Balkan countries, Lithuania is considering opening a diplomatic mission in the region.  As the PM Kirkilas said to the BNS the mission could be established in Serbia, with the diplomats representing Lithuanian businessmen’s interests in Montenegro, as well.  “I believe that if we decide to open a mission, it will most likely be based in Serbia,” Kirkilas noted to the BNS.

Hence, keeping in mind Belgrade’s reactions to the countries, which are recognising the Kosovo independence a long work of establishing of the Lithuanian embassy in Serbia would certainly slip away for some time to come.  The Lithuanian business lobby had put some pressure on the government to open the embassy as soon as possible.  Never the less, the same Lithuanian business lobby was advising to the President Adamkus to attend the 60th World War Two celebrations in Moscow.

All situation is rather peculiar since the Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which acts hand in hand with the Presidential office almost, ignored Seimas’ April 1 decision regarding Kosovo.  It looks as though this time the business lobby had prevailed over Lithuania’s strive to not to fall out of its allies choir in Kosovo affair.  All Lithuania’s major allies in Nato and in the EU had recognised the Kosovo Independence already, including the USA, the Baltic States, most of the Nordic nations and Poland.

Even though the Seimas Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee MP Karosas acknowledged that the resolution over Kosovo will be adopted after amendments in few weeks, the April 1 decision rose some eyebrows in few capitals already.  Who would claim that the Lithuanian politicians don’t listen to the basketball supporters!

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Entry filed under: Baltic States, Central Europe, Lithuania, Northern Europe, Poland, Politics, Scandinavia, South Europe.

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. GK  |  April 4, 2008 at 6:58 am

    This Government dominated by ex-Communists and their fellow travellers is a disgrace to Lithuania. Roll on, Seimas elections! The sooner we get rid of these lousy bums, the better. Imagine running foreign policy by listening to the business lobby! If all other countries had done that in 1991, no country would have recognised Lithuania. It’s this same selfish attitude that caused France and Germany to rebuff Ukraine and Georgia at the recent NATO conference. Nations are similar to individuals in that they can be very self-centred at times.

    Reply
  • 2. Ruslanas Iržikevičius  |  April 4, 2008 at 9:53 am

    I fully agree with you. However, the Parliament’s political composition is not only fault of the politicians, the Lithuanian voters should be blamed also. The new elections are going to take place in October 12, and I am afraid that the picture is going to be even worse.

    The Lithuanian voters are convinced that there is a ‘quick fix’ solution to their ongoing problems and are keen to put their trust into the hands of the populists. This is roughly about 30% of all votes. The political commentators predicted that this segment of the electorate would slowly decrease.

    However, it appears that this is not happening. For this the traditional left and right political parties are to be blames. However, they claim that due to the large number of the populist MPs elected they cannot form majority governments, therefore the traditional parties must trim amongst the populist parties.

    Reply
  • 3. New Lituanica Reader  |  April 4, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    What happened in 1st of April, was shameful for Lithuania. I completeley agree with GK. First, MPs are fearing that they will be out of Seimas in next election and more to that I never saw such an attitude in any European state parliaments (non listening to their colleagues and raising fingers) also making wrong conclusions by mixing Kosovo unique issue with Kurds, Basks.

    This tell itself how uneducated these MPs are and who is representing Lithuanian Seimas. Be careful whom you select next!

    Reply
  • […] rise of the Social Democratic political group in the Parliament to the 38 MPs, failing to recognise the Independence in Kosovo, and then…  I should stop here.  That happened in one single week!  Welcome to the soap opera […]

    Reply
  • 5. Nerijus  |  April 4, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    Being Lithuanian I felt deeply ashamed to what happened. Once again our politicians have showed their true face. Nobody argues that there is a controversy in the file of Kosovo’s independence, but when the world community chose a resolution, where do we stand? Look here, our politicians showed us where we stand. Prove me wrong. Lithuania is indifferent to Kosovo, Lithuania’s politicians want to gain a questionable practical benefit out of it, Lithuania is too small to bother itself to make its voice heard on issues that matter to world community, Lithuania backs Russia on the issue. We are driving a hard bargain.

    Reply
  • 6. Dragana  |  April 21, 2008 at 8:19 am

    If US and others say we have to jump of the bridge – do we use our heads some before doing it??? Well, Kosovo IS that bridge and it’s just a test of how something so ridiculous can be made into ‘unique case’ just because US Administration says so. And people not only buy it – they compete who is going to make the most sense out of something that has no sense at all. Isn’t that amazing?!?

    Please, use your head – it’s not there just to look pretty!!!

    Reply
  • 7. New Lituanica Reader  |  May 7, 2008 at 12:27 am

    Dragana, If we are about to use the head, then we use the head to educate ourself and read what really happened to Kosovo.

    Kosovo was occupied for more than a century by Serbia, in 90s war and occupation more than 12.000 kosovars were killed, more than 2.000 kosovar are still missing, 450.000 houses were burned and one million people were kicked out as refugees from the country.

    Serbia introduced the term “ethnic cleansing” led by Serbia’s architect Slobodan Milosevic who raised up nationalism killing kosovars, slovenians, croatians and bosnians who were demanding their rights after the fall of Yugoslavia.

    In pragmatic way:
    Kosova has de facto been independent since 1999, administered nominally by the UN. Sending Kosova back under Serbian rule is unthinkable! Kosova has all the institutions of a European state. It has probably the best prepared Police Force in the Balkans.

    Its a new reality, and its matter of time, someone use their head faster and think and someone still is confused. You mentioned US and “others” these others are 70% of total GDP of the world consisting of 39 countries so far.

    Take your time to study!

    Reply
  • […] was a second attempt after a fiasco in April 1, when the Lithuanian Parliament failed to recognise Kosovo.  One of the main reasons behind the […]

    Reply
  • 9. Human  |  September 8, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Why recognise Kosovo? It’s been a part of Serbia for ages. You may as well recognise Transnistria, Abhazia, N. Ossetia, Palestine, Texas, Siberia, Quebec, Basque etc.

    Reply

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