Germany's Merkel sees Kosovo as not comparable to other countries

Other News Materials 18 February 2008 15:54 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The situation in Kosovo is an isolated case not comparable with that in other countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday in response to the breakaway Serbian province's weekend declaration of independence.

Merkel stressed that she believed the future of both Kosovo and Serbia lay with the European Union.

"The whole situation in the Western Balkans can only be kept calm and peaceful from my point of view if we keep the European perspective as the perspective for the future for both Serbia and Kosovo," Merkel told foreign correspondents invited to the chancellery in Berlin.

She referred to the situation in Kosovo as "sui generis" - isolated - and said it could not be compared to the situation in other countries.

Major powers, including Russia and China, have raised the possibility that recognizing Kosovo over the objections of Serbia could lend impulse to other separatist movements.

Merkel stressed that Kosovo had to respect its minorities if it was to have a future in the European Union.

And she said she believed that without a European perspective for the countries of the former Yugoslavia, the chances of establishing free democracy and securing economic development were "much smaller."

The chancellor noted that EU foreign ministers were meeting Monday to discuss how to respond to Kosovo's declaration of independence and to "work out a platform" on how each member state could respond.

Most European countries have indicated a positive response to Kosovo's independence, as has the United States, but EU member states such as Greece, Cyprus, Spain, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Romania have expressed reservations.