Italy recognizes Kosovo's independence
(dpa) - Italy has recognized Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia, the Italian government announced Thursday.
The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting in Rome presided by Prime Minister Romano Prodi.
"Italy is aligning itself with the majority of European nations on this delicate political issue," Prodi said speaking at a news conference announcing the decision.
Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema speaking ahead of the meeting had said it "was necessary and useful" for Rome to establish diplomatic relations with Pristina and recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state.
"Naturally we have to do this with sobriety while maintaining good relations with Serbia," D'Alema said.
Belgrade, following the procedure taken against other nations which have recognized Kosovo's independence, has said it would recall its ambassador from Rome.
Italy is currently Serbia's second largest trading partner, while Italian troops are currently deployed in Kosovo as part of the international peacekeeping mission operating there.