Day: February 22, 2008

Watching Russia

Via AP:

…U.S. diplomat Nicholas Burns called on Serbia’s main ally Russia to repudiate a suggestion by one of its officials [Dmitry Rogozin] that it may need to use military force to earn respect after the U.S. and other countries recognized the independence of Kosovo, which is mainly ethnic Albanian, over strong Serb and Russian protests.

“We strongly advise Russia to be more responsible in its public comments toward Kosovo,” Burns said, responding to questions in an online written discussion. “Russia is isolated this week — very few countries are supporting its position.”

Serbs Attack US Embassy – 3

Via CNN:

Richard Holbrooke, a former negotiator in the Balkans under President Clinton, said: “The fact that (independence has) not happened as peacefully as people had hoped is the direct result of the incitement to violence by extremist elements in Belgrade, implicitly and privately supported by the Russians.”

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Serbs Attack US Embassy – 2

From RFE/RL:

As night fell, parts of the crowd broke away and marched to the U.S. Embassy. Black smoke and flames were soon billowing out a front window.

The same group also vandalized the neighboring Croatian Embassy, a McDonald’s restaurant, and several other stores. Elsewhere in the city, police beat back crowds who tried to attack the Turkish and British embassies.

Television images showed hundreds of people surging through the streets as anti-riot police arrived and fired tear gas canisters as crowd control.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns had telephoned Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic to convey the message that they had not adequately protected the U.S. Embassy.

——

On February 17 and 18, crowds threw stones at the U.S. and Turkish embassies in Belgrade and damaged the mission of Slovenia, which currently heads the rotating EU Presidency.

Infrastructure Minister Velimir Ilic, who heads the New Serbia party, said on February 20 that the action was “just Serbian youth expressing their protest” over the “dismembering of Serbia,” adding that such incidents are part of “democracy.”