More countries respond to Kosovo's declaration of independence

Published on February 21, 2008, Xinhua

Category: Growing International Opposition to Imposed Solution

BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia Sunday has sparked worldwide repercussions, with Kyrgyzstan, Norway, Italy, Poland and Latvia being the latest nations to declare their positions.

The Kyrgyz Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Kyrgyzstan opposes recognizing Kosovo's independence before the UN Security Council comes up with a final decision.

In a statement released on its website, the ministry said that under UN Security Council Resolution 1244, the United Nations plays a key role in peacefully settling the Kosovo issue. Kyrgyzstan will respect and follow the principles the UN makes, the statement said.

It added that the unilateral declaration of independence would fuel separatist movements around the world. Kyrgyzstan called on all concerned parties to solve the Kosovo issue through peaceful negotiations on the basis of international law and ensuring international security.

The statement also urged the UN Peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo to take measures to safeguard the equality and security of the Kosovo people.

In Norway, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said Wednesday that his country is going to recognize Kosovo as an independent state and at the same time wants to keep close ties with Serbia.

In Italy, the government was bracing itself for the anticipated recall of the Serbian envoy after its recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.

Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema said Wednesday that he expected Serbia's ambassador to Italy to be called back to Belgrade when Italy recognizes Kosovo.

The Italian cabinet was due to meet Thursday to approve the recognition, D'Alema said.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic immediately confirmed the expected recall following D'Alema's remarks, Italian News Agency ANSA reported.

Serbia has recalled its ambassadors from countries including the United States and France in protest against their recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence.

Polish Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said Wednesday the government would be ready to recognize Kosovo's independence next week.

The Latvian Foreign Ministry announced its recognition of Kosovo in a statement Wednesday. Latvia would deliver an official document of recognition Thursday, Foreign Minister Maris Riekstins told reporters.

Kosovo, the breakaway province of Serbia, has been under UN administration since 1999.

The ethnic Albanian-dominated Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia on Feb. 17. Belgrade has said the proclamation is null and void.

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