Stability has highest priority, German foreign minister says

Other News Materials 17 February 2008 22:05 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - Stability in the Balkan region has the highest priority, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday after Kosovo's declaration of independence.

Following a telephone call with his counterparts from Slovenia and Serbia, Dimitrij Rupel and Vuk Jeremic, Steinmeier called for calm and moderation from all sides over the next few days.

European Union foreign ministers will be meeting on Monday to discuss the new political situation when it would be important for ministers to demonstrate unity, the minister said.

German government spokesman Ulrich Wilhelm said lengthy negotiations involving UN mediator Martti Athisaari and the Kosovo troika had shown that an agreement acceptable to all parties was not possible.

He said Germany would decide what future steps to take on the basis of the decisions taken at the EU foreign ministers' meeting.

Ruprecht Polenz, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs committee, said he expected ministers in Brussels to pave the way for swift EU recognition of Kosovo.

He told Monday's edition of Tagesspiegel daily he did not believe that Kosovo's independence would set a precedent for other would-be breakaway states elsewhere in the world.

In cases such as the republic of Abkhazia within Georgia any attempt at secession would fail because independence would not win international recognition, he said.