Solana: EU is united in decision to send mission to Kosovo

Other News Materials 19 February 2008 22:37 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana said on Tuesday that the EU is united in its decision to send its mission to help Kosovo implement a plan for internationally- supervised independence from Serbia.

"The EU is united, so much so, that we are going to put people on the ground, on behalf of the EU," Solana said after meeting with Kosovo officials in Pristina.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia on Sunday and has had its statehood recognized already by the United States, Great Britain and France.

The EU's policing and justice mission of some 1,900 officials (EULEX) has been welcomed to Kosovo by its leaders and 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority, to aid the province in its newly declared independence.

Serbia rejects both the independence declaration and the EU mission, deeming both illegal acts that violate Serbia's territorial integrity and sovereignty.

Germany has announced that it would recognize Kosovo on Wednesday, with a majority of European countries expected to follow suit shortly. Belgrade has already started to recall for consultations ambassadors from countries which have recognized Kosovo's independence.

The EU, however, is not in its entirety dead set on recognizing Kosovo independence.

Most notably, Spain, Romania and Cyprus - all of which have domestic issues with large minority groups, and fear Kosovo could set a precedent for secessionists around the globe - have stated that they would back Serbia's claim to sovereignty over Kosovo.

Solana made it clear in Pristina that although the EU cannot recognize Kosovo as an organization, its individual member-countries could do as each country deems proper.

"The EU does not recognize countries, the members states of the EU do, and they do it according to their international legislation," Solana said.