Russia may recognize Kosovo before Belgrade does, Thaci warns

Other News Materials 20 February 2009 11:18 (UTC +04:00)

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, in an unusual interview with Friday's edition of the conservative Belgrade daily Politika, called on Serbia to acknowledge the "fact they are facing" and recognize Kosovo.

"Nobody in Belgrade believes Kosovo could return to become a part of Serbia. Serbian politicians face the fact of our independence everywhere they go, to Washington, Brussels, even in Podgorica and Skopje," Thaci said.

Kosovo, with a 90-per cent Albanian majority, declared independence from Serbia a year ago with the support of leading Western nations.

So far 54 nations have recognized it, including neighbours Montenegro and Macedonia. But Serbia, backed by its superpower ally Russia, continues to fight the secession on the international scene and at the United Nations.

By interviewing Thaci in Pristina, Politika - which in the past seldom strayed from the lines drawn by Belgrade governments - broke the tradition of many Serbian media who ignore officials from "provisional" authorities of the "false state" Kosovo.

Thaci said Russia was actively participating with the international community in Kosovo and "will recognize Kosovo as an independent country."

"I am not saying it will happen in the near future, but Russia may recognize us before Belgrade does," he said.

Moscow has so far opposed Kosovo's secession, warning that it creates a dangerous precedent which may encourage separatists around the globe.