Britain says Kosovo recognition would close Yugoslavia chapter

Other News Materials 19 February 2008 06:39 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa ) - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown late Monday said Britain's recognition of Kosovo as an independent sovereign state would help "close the chapter" of Yugoslavia's painful break-up that began more than a decade ago.

"Kosovo has been and is the last unresolved issue," Brown said.

Brown spoke to reporters after EU foreign ministers meeting in Brussels failed to agree on a community-wide recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence on Sunday.

France was the first EU nation to recognize Kosovo. Turkey and the United States also granted recognition on Monday.

Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Cyprus and Greece are hesitant to extend recognition for fear it would inspire other separatist groups to follow suit.

Serbia protested the legality of Kosovo's move before the UN Security Council on Monday, backed by Russia and China, which are also worried about the signal sent by Kosovo independence to disaffected ethnic minorities.

Kosovo is the sixth state carved from the Serb-dominated federation since 1991, after Slovenia, Croatia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Montenegro. Tens of thousands of people were killed in ethnic fighting during the break-up of Yugoslavia during the 1990s.

Kosovo came under international supervision after NATO intervened in 1999 to protect ethnic Albanians, who are Muslim, from ethnic cleansing being carried out by ethnic Serbs, who are Christian.