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