Thursday, October 9, 2008

As Serbia Wins UN Vote, Montenegro Mysteries, UNDP and Napalm, Kosovo Trust Agency

UNITED NATIONS, October 8 -- In the run up to Serbia's 77--74-6 win on its General Assembly resolution to get an International Court of Justice opinion on the legality of Kosovo's independence, Montenegro's President Filip Vujanovic on October 7 said his country "could not delay" granting recognition to Kosovo. Serb foreign minister Vuk Jeremic said "Serbia will not sit with its hands crossed" if Montenegro took the recognition route. Then on October 8, Montenegro was recorded as voting for Serbia's resolution. After the General Assembly session, Inner City Press asked Jeremic about this, and about the controversy surrounding the Kosovo Trust Agency, missing money, missing documents. Video here.

  Jeremic responded that Serbia's neighbors should be all the more understanding of the need for this Court ruling, but that some like Montenegro were moving to recognize Kosovo under pressure, mostly by the United States which along with five small island friends voted against Serbia.  But what explains Montenegro's pro-Serbia vote? Some say its a non-Presidential, non-U.S. influence in Montenegro, a Russian businessman who controls a large part of the Montenegrin economy: Oleg Deripasca. 

  Others, more cynical yet, say there's a connection between Serbia now agreeing in essence to consent to the EU's EULEX force and swing votes like Montenegro's, from absention over to yes.  Jeremic was asked about financiers, but said that's a job for investigative reporters.

  To Inner City Press, this then is a call to action, to follow up on such stories as the UN Development Program's funneling of George Soros' charity's funding to Georgian president Saakashvili.  

Montenegro's flag goes up in 2006, Kosovo Trust Agency not shown

  As it happens, Inner City Press has asked UNDP some questions about its operations in Montenegro, yielding for now only this response:

"Yes, UNDP is involved in the disposal of hazardous toxic waste in Montenegro (Liquid Propellant and Napalm). This is a joint project of the Government of Montenegro, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and UNDP. This project is designed to dispose of this toxic hazardous waste in a safe, efficient and effective way that complies, wherever achievable, with all relevant international and EU environmental and safety legislation, and hence to existing international 'best practice.'"

  Now dealing in napalm is withing UNDP's mandate is not clear. On the Kosovo Trust Agency, Jeremic said the money cannot simply pass from the UN to the "de facto" or self-styled Kosovo leadership. He said he was meeting with UN envoy Zanier on just this topic right after the briefing.

Footnotes on the vote: Beyond Montenegro's surprising vote, Liechtenstein, Greece, Cyprus, Spain , Slovakia and Iceland voted yes. Bosnia, Iraq and Guinea Bissau were among those listed as absent. Click here for an Inner City Press story today about Iceland's chances of winning a Security Council seat.

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs.

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