28 March 2014, 16:46

Obama falsely claims Kosovo secession involved UN-backed referendum

Obama falsely claims Kosovo secession involved UN-backed referendum

Obama’s speech delivered at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels has raised a lot of eyebrows as US President claimed yesterday that Kosovo held a UN-assisted referendum for self-determination. He used this example to hit out against Russia's reunification with Crimea. The president also argued that the comparison between Crimea and Kosovo makes no sense.

"Russian leaders have further claimed Kosovo as a precedent, an example, they say of the West interfering in the affairs of a smaller country … But NATO only intervened after the people of Kosovo were systematically brutalized and killed for years."

"And Kosovo only left Serbia after a referendum was organized not outside the boundaries of international law, but in careful cooperation with the United Nations with Kosovo’s neighbors. None of that even came close to happening in Crimea," Obama said at the EU-US summit, thus turning his speech into a highly discussed issue.

Experts unanimously agree with the president, yet they also point out that "none of that came close to happening in Kosovo as well.

Kosovo’s provincial assembly did hold a referendum on the possibility of secession in 1991, but it was not done with UN backing, nor did the US or anyone else even recognize the result. Albania was the long state to recognize the vote, and it was never cited as justification in NATO’s 1999 war.

The only other referendum to take place in Kosovo came in 2012, under Obama’s watch. In that vote, 99% of Kosovar Serbs in several northern districts voted against being part of an independent Kosovo. As with the 1991 vote, the US rejected its validity.

Dr. James Ker-Lindsay, a Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the London School of Economics gave his comment to Breitbart London on Obama’s gaffe: "I think one must assume that this was indeed an error. However, it really does seem to be an incredible mistake to have made. Surely there must have been someone at hand who would have known that there was no UN organised referendum in Kosovo. It really was not that long ago."

So far, the White House has not issued any retraction or correction.

 

Voice of Russia, antiwar.com, inserbia.info, breitbart.com

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