This will just generate more friction with Russia. Bush doesn't seem to care. Interesting that Kosovo's separatists are mainly Muslim and often associated with terrorist tactics. But they are pro-US so what the heck. I wonder if Bush is actually serious about looking at the Russian radar proposal. Somehow I doubt it.
Bush says time to grant Kosovo independence-1
17:56 | 10/ 06/ 2007
(Adds quote, details, response to radar offer in paras 3-10)
MOSCOW, June 10 (RIA Novosti) - U.S. President George W. Bush said Sunday it was time to grant Kosovo independence pursued by the Balkan region's Albanian majority.
At a news conference in Albania Bush pledged further U.S. efforts to grant the province independence from Serbia.
"Independence is the goal. That's what the people of Kosovo need to know," Bush said. "We believe Kosovo ought to be independent."
Bush said he expected Russia, which has opposed to a UN vote on Kosovo's internationally supervised sovereignty, to change its mind.
Putin reaffirmed his position on the issue in Russia Saturday while meeting with Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica, who said "seizing 15% of the territory of a UN member state" would set a "severe precedent of violating international law." Serbia has been strongly opposed to independence for Kosovo, its historical and spiritual center for centuries.
Washington pushes for a UN vote this week on the plan for Kosovo drafted by envoy Martti Ahtisaari.
Kosovo, which has a population of two million, has been a UN protectorate since NATO's 78-day bombing campaign against the former Yugoslavia ended a war between Serb forces and Muslim Albanian separatists in 1999.
President Bush was welcomed as a hero in Albania in contrast to protests that accompanied him throughout his European tour this week - in Germany where he attended a Group of Eight summit, in the Czech Republic and Poland, where he discussed missile defense plans, and Italy, where he met with Pope Benedict XVI.
On Sunday, he reiterated that Russia's proposal at the G8 summit to use the radar it rents in Azerbaijan together was logical and important as it implied cooperation in missile defense. Bush said Washington was ready to discuss the initiative.
President Putin said in Germany the radar station in the South Caucasus state could be used instead of opening new facilities in Europe. He reiterated that the U.S. missile defense plans, reportedly designed to counter possible attacks from Iran and North Korea, were directed against a nonexistent threat, and would jeopardize Russia's national security.
He earlier threatened to aim Russia's nuclear weapons on Europe, if Washington deployed missile defenses on the continent.