Kosovo Can Wait, Lieberman Tells Gov't

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs until a month ago, says Israel need not rush to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

Hillel Fendel ,

Avigdor Lieberman
Avigdor Lieberman

Avigdor Lieberman, Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs until several weeks ago, says Israel need not rush to recognize the independence of Kosovo.

"Recognition of this unilateral declaration of independence could have far-reaching ramifications on the international arena in general and on our area in particular," Lieberman said.  The leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, Lieberman called upon the government not to rush to grant official recognition to the newly-declared state of Kosovo. 

Lieberman was presumably referring, inter alia, to a future attempt by the Palestinian Authority to unilaterally declare itself an independent state.  He has declined Arutz-7's request for an interview.

UN Unsure
Kosovo announced its independence as yet another Moslem state on Sunday afternoon.  The United Nations Security Council convened for an urgent session on the topic on Sunday night.  Russia and China are against recognizing Kosovo as an independent country, while the United States, Britain and France have no objections. 

"This declaration [of independence] does not create a dangerous precedent," the Deputy U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations said, "and the United States sees no room for concern."

Israel's Foreign Ministry announced that Israel "is following the developments and will formulate its position later on."

The Moslem state of Indonesia announced that it does not recognize Kosovo's independence, stating its hope that Kosovo's announcement would not destabilize the Balkan region.  Indonesia has its own problems with unilateral declarations of independence; East Timor took this move in 1999, detaching itself from Indonesia, and other areas of Indonesia are waiting in the wings.

Lieberman Quit Over Core Issues
Lieberman resigned from the government a month ago, taking his 11-Knesset Member party with him from the coalition.  He explained that he could not remain a member of a government that had begun negotiations with the Palestinian Authority over the core-issues of Jerusalem, final-status borders, and what the Arabs call the the "right of return" - the influx of possibly millions of descendants of Arabs who left their homes during Israel's 1948 War of Independence.