International

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Kosovan Independence Challenged

February 19, 2008 12:21 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Kosovo is unlikely to get full international recognition despite endorsements from the United States and major European countries.  

30-Second Summary

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The long-anticipated announcement that Kosovo is seceding from Serbia came on Sunday. The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy were all quick to recognize the new state.

But endorsement has not been universal. Russia—an ally of Serbia—condemned the move, preventing a unified response by the United Nations Security Council.

In a conversation with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov warned that Kosovo poses a threat to international stability.

Although European Union foreign ministers agreed that Kosovo’s declaration of independence does not defy international legal norms, they stated that the decision to recognize the new state will rest with individual members.

A number of European countries, such as Spain, Romania, Greece and Cyprus, have refused to recognize Kosovo. In many instances, the reason for this is a concern that a precedent may be set that will encourage separatist movements at home.

In an editorial, The Christian Science Monitor writes that Serbia’s aggression against Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian population in the 1990s, and the province’s deteriorating economic conditions, made an official declaration of independence unavoidable.

Similarly, The San Diego Union-Tribune points to the troubled relationship between Kosovar Albanians and Serbia as an argument in favor of the split. However, the paper warns that the move will push Serbia back into Russia’s sphere of influence and endanger its chances of EU membership.

Headline Link: ‘Kosovo MPs Proclaim Independence’

Reactions: Nations split over Kosovo’s independence

Background: Divisions over Kosovo’s independence

Against
In favor

Historical Context: The 1990s Balkan Wars

Related Links: Milosevic’s trial

Opinion & Analysis: Assessing Serbian and Kosovan claims

Related Topics: Challenges ahead

Minorities
A look beyond independence
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