(dpa) - The British government will recognize Kosovo as an independent state, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said on Monday.
"I can announce that the British government has decided to recognize Kosovo. We will do so alongside other European countries," Miliband said after a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.
The minister said his government had written to Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci to inform him of its decision.
The EU remains divided on the Kosovo issue, with a majority of member states in favour of recognition, but a few, such as Spain, Cyprus and Romania, opposed to it.
Earlier on Monday, the foreign ministers of France and Germany said that their countries would also recognize Kosovo's independence. Italy is also expected to recognize Kosovo later this week.
Britain, France, Germany and Italy are often referred to as the "big four" of the EU, as they are the four largest and wealthiest countries in the bloc.