Monday, February 18, 2008

Kosovo gains supports of its independence

source: Kosovo is recognized by U.S., France and Britain

This Monday, following Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Sunday, the United States joined France and Britain in their support of the world’s youngest country. U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the U.S. “has today formally recognized Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state. We congratulate the people of Kosovo on this historic occasion.” France’s foreign minister, Bernard Kouchner, said that a letter recognizing Kosovo’s independence would be sent from President Nicolas Sarkozy to Pristina on Monday, stating that the independence was “a victory for common sense.” Germany is reported to support Kosovo’s independence as well.

However, support for Kosovo’s independence is far from unanimous. The Associated Press reports that Serbia promptly removed its ambassador from the United States in protest of their support of Kosovo, despite reassurances from the U.S. government concerning the welfare of Kosovo’s Serbian minority. Miguel Angel Moratinos, foreign minister of Spain, informed reporters that Spain would not recognize Kosovo because the country’s declaration of independence did not respect international law. In a statement yesterday, he said that “the government of Spain will not recognize the unilateral act proclaimed yesterday by the assembly of Kosovo.” Cyprus, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia and Greece are also reluctant to recognize Kosovo. Additionally, Russia demanded an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to proclaim the declaration “null and void,” but the meeting was without resolution. Russia has continuously opposed Kosovo’s independence. Vojislaw Kostunica, prime minister of Serbia, vowed that Serbia will never recognize the “false state.” Serbia has considered Kosovo its heartland since medieval times. Although the Serbian government ruled out the use of military force to respond to the declaration, it will downgrade diplomatic ties with any government that recognizes Kosovo. Demonstrations are planned for Monday in Serbian pockets of Kosovo.

Kosovo is an incredibly poor, predominantly Muslim country with an estimated population of two million. Its unemployment rate is a staggering 60% and the average monthly wage is a mere $250.

Questions for Discussion
1. France's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner stated that Kosovo and Serbia will one day be in the European Union together. Is this a likely outcome?

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