Kosovo recognized

The governments of Montenegro and Macedonia have formally recognized Kosovo as independent following its secession from Serbia in February.

It means that, apart from Serbia, only Bosnia-Hercegovina among ex-Yugoslav republics has yet to recognise Kosovo.

Serbia reacted angrily, expelling the Montenegrin and Macedonian ambassadors and saying their countries had jeopardised regional stability.

About 50 countries have recognised Kosovo’s independence so far.

But more than 140 have not.

Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki said his government approved the move after parliament adopted a resolution by an overwhelming majority to make the recommendation.

Montenegro and Serbia made up a single state until a referendum in 2006.

Montenegro hopes to become a future member of the EU and Nato; its foreign minister said the decision was guided by his county’s national interests and that an independent Kosovo was a reality.

The BBC’s Nick Thorpe in Pristina says that recognition by its neighbours brings both psychological and practical trading benefits for Kosovo.

The small country of only two million inhabitants, of which 90% are Albanian, has often appeared isolated in the western Balkans, our correspondent says.

Peace and stability

Serbian’s Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic described the decision to eject Montenegro’s ambassador from the country as “proportionate”.

He told the state news agency, Tanjug, that “regional countries have special responsibility in preserving peace and stability in the Balkans”.

Earlier, Serbia said it was reinstating its ambassadors to the US and other Western nations that had angered it by recognising Kosovo’s independence.

Serbia recalled many of its ambassadors in February from countries that backed Kosovo’s unilateral declaration – a move that Serbia has condemned as illegal.

In a statement, the Serb government said the decision was made because of “continued diplomatic activity to preserve Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

It comes amid a week of both defeats and victories for Kosovan diplomacy.

On Wednesday, a substantial majority at the UN General Assembly agreed to allow Serbia to challenge the legality of Kosovan independence at the International Court of Justice.

It followed an earlier announcement by Portugal that it had recognized Pristina.

source:news.bbc.co.uk

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Obama on kosovo

US Senator Barack Obama, the democratic candidate for US President, has stated for the weekly Albanian-American newspaper Illyria that he strongly supports Kosovo independence and its democratic processes emphasizing that “as a President of the United States [he] will assist Kosovo develop a strong economy.”

The US Senator from Illinois by reconfirming his strong support for Kosovo independence has said that he will personally work on strengthening the sovereignty of the newborn nation, the Republic of Kosovo.

The statement by Senator Obama is the first public engagement to communicate directly with the Albanian-American community in the United States.

“Barack Obama supports the independence of Kosovo and its democratic process towards full sovereignty,” was said in the statement. “The United States must work assisting Kosovo in building a vibrant democracy, secured through law and order that guarantees all human rights.”

The emphatic statement, giving powerful support to the Republic of Kosovo by Senator Barack Obama who is running for US President in 2008, is the first attempt of Obama to clarify some of the ambiguous and misleading statements made earlier to the Serb media and organizations, and court instead the Albanian-American communities who reside in the most contested states such as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Florida, states that have determined the winner in the past two elections, and other ones such as New York, New Jersey, Texas, Connecticut, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts.

Many Albanian-American Democratic voters were ambivalent about Barack Obama due to his absence from national American politics during the Balkan conflicts in the 90’s and dubious statements by various pro-Serbian media and think tanks that Obama could shift the American policy in the Balkans.

However, Senator Barack Obama on the day of the Kosovo declaration of independence, issued a statement expressing his genuine support for Kosovo independence and during one of the debates, in a follow up question, he stressed his commitment to defending Kosovo sovereignty from any possible Serbian aggression. His running mate, Senator Joseph Biden, has been a long advocate of Kosovo independence and a strong supporter of the human rights of the Albanians throughout the Balkans. Obama’s personal adviser, Richard Holbrooke, earlier this month visited the Republic of Kosovo, reiterating that “Senator Barack Obama will continue to support Kosovo in every possible way.”

Obama’s latest statements go further, expressing his support for Kosovo’s integration into the euro-Atlantic institutions by building an open and tolerant society that guarantees the rights of minorities and protects the important cultural and religious sites. As President of the United States, Obama states that he is committed to work on “assisting Kosovo develop a strong and healthy trade, focusing on economic development and creating new jobs, and assisting the country to build a powerful infrastructure and energy system.”

In his statement, Obama also praises the “important achievements in Albania.” He congratulates Albania for the receiving invitation to join NATO and wishes Albania to become a member of the EU in the near future.

Senator John McCain, the Republican Candidate for US President, has already a proven track record advocating for Kosovo. Senator McCain has also expressed his strong support in assisting Kosovo build its economy and strengthens its democratic and sovereign institutions for all Kosovar citizens.

Source:newkosovareport.com
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