Kosovo's proclaimed independence provokes mixed responses from international community
www.chinaview.cn 2008-02-18 01:58:46   Print

    BEIJING, Feb. 17 (Xinhua) -- Kosovo's official declaration of independence on Sunday has immediately provoked mixed feelings and responses from various countries, especially Serbia and Albania.

    Serbian President Boris Tadic said after the declaration that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence, and will seek legal and diplomatic means to annul the declaration.

    "Serbia will never recognize the independence of Kosovo. Serbia has reacted and will react with all peaceful, diplomatic and legal means to annul this act committed by Kosovo's institutions," Tadic said in a statement.

    Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica also condemned Kosovo as a "false state" minutes after its mainly ethnic-Albanian province declared independence.

    "As long as the Serb people exist, Kosovo will be Serbia," he said.

    Russia condemned Kosovo's proclamation, and demanded an urgent UN Security Council meeting on the issue, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    "We expect the UN Mission in Kosovo and NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) will take immediate action to fulfill their mandates as authorized by the UN Security Council, including voiding the decisions of the Pristina local government and adopting severe administrative measures against them," said the statement.

    The UN Security Council would hold an emergency meeting at 3:00p.m. local time (2000 GMT) Sunday on Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia, a diplomat said.

    The Spanish government on Sunday expressed its opposition to Kosovo's independence, saying it is beyond international laws for Kosovo to unilaterally declare its separation from Serbia.

    It also said the declaration would harm peace in the Balkan region, setting a dangerous precedent for regions where separatism exits.

    Czech President Vaclav Klaus warned Sunday that Kosovo's independence could trigger a domino effect in other European countries.

    "Some parties in other states could realize that they do not feel completely at ease within a big state in which they are now," Klaus said in a television interview.

    Czech Foreign Ministry spokesman Zuzana Opletalova said the ministry has taken note of Kosovo's declaration of independence, but it is up to the EU to adopt a joint position regarding the recognition of the independence.

    The Slovak Foreign Ministry said on Sunday that it will not recognize Kosovo as an independent state for now. It will consider its next steps according to further developments and measures international organizations would take, the ministry said.

    Romanian Foreign Minister Adrian Cioroianu said on Sunday that Romania's stand on Kosovo's independence remains the same, as his country will not recognize the Serbian province's independence.

    Georgia also voiced its objection to Kosovo's independence, a parliamentary leader said Sunday.

    "The Georgian authorities will not recognize Kosovo's independence," Interfax news agency quoted Konstantin Gabashvili, chairman of the Georgian parliamentary committee for foreign affairs, as saying.

    The Republic of Srspka in Bosnia and Herzegovina also rejected the unilateral declaration of independence of Kosovo, the official Tanjug news agency reported.

    "The Republika Srpska does not recognize or accept the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo-Metohija," a joint statement by the leadership in the Bosnia Serbs entity said.

    However, some countries have directly or indirectly offered support to Kosovo's independence, while some others haven't decided yet.

    The United States on Sunday refrained from recognizing Kosovo's independence, saying instead that its government has noticed the declaration. A statement by the U.S. government said it is reviewing the issue and discussing the matter with its European partners, adding that a statement will be issued shortly.

    Albanians have been preparing for celebrations of Kosovo's independence declaration, with concerts and fireworks display in Tirana, capital of Albania.

    NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer said the alliance, which has 16,000 peacekeepers in Kosovo, "urges all parties involved to exercise the maximum restraint and moderation."

    NATO forces would work to ensure "a safe and secure environment throughout the territory of Kosovo...for all citizens of Kosovo, majority and minority alike, in an impartial manner," he said.

    European Union countries have been split on Kosovo's act. Its four major member nations, Britain, France, Germany and Italy, along with the United States, were expected Monday to formally recognize Kosovo's independence from Serbia, while Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain oppose recognizing Kosovo's move, at least in the short term for fear that it would become a dangerous precedent for other separatist movements. Still others like Malta and Portugal proposed that Kosovo's future be decided at the UN Security Council.

    French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner wished Kosovo "good luck" after the declaration.

    German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called on "all parties" Sunday to exercise moderation following the Kosovo's declaration.

    "The stability in the region has the highest priority, which requires calm and judgement from all sides involved in the coming days, " the minister said in a statement after calling his Serbian and Slovenian counterparts.

    The German government has yet to decide whether it would recognize an officially independent Kosovo.

    Britain considers Kosovo's independence declaration "an important development," but will wait until Monday to make a formal statement.

    Ireland's Foreign Affairs Minister Dermot Ahern said on Sunday that Ireland would eventually recognize Kosovo's independence.

    "I will be recommending to the Irish cabinet eventually that we should recognize Kosovo," he said.

    He also emphasized the need to form a united EU approach on this matter as much as possible.

    The Netherlands and Sweden have both expressed caution over Kosovo's independence. Both countries said they will not decide whether to recognize the independence of Kosovo until they studied the whole situation carefully.

    All EU foreign ministers are due to meet in Brussels on Monday with the issue at the top of their agenda. The ministers from the four major member countries supporting Kosovo's move are expected to give their formal backing to its independence, while trying to persuade other member states to follow suit, in a bid to reach a consensus among most of the 27 EU states.

    Bulgaria will announce its position on Kosovo's declaration of independence after EU foreign ministers' meeting, the country's Foreign Ministry said.

    In Stockholm, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called all parties to do their utmost to maintain calm and order in and around Kosovo.

    "Throughout the status negotiations, Norway has stressed the importance of finding a solution both parties could agree to and that thus also could lead to a new UN Security Council resolution. It is deeply regrettable that this has not been possible," Stoere said in a statement.

    The Egyptian government has also voiced concern over the issue, saying it is closely following up the development in the Balkan region. However, it did not mention whether it will recognize Kosovo's independence.

    "Abiding by rules and principles of international law and international legitimacy are the best way to achieve cherished stability in the region," an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

Editor: Mu Xuequan
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