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Europe

Serbia rejects The Hague's recognition of Kosovo’s independence

Text by Eric Olander

Latest update : 2010-07-23

The International Court of Justice’s non-binding ruling that Kosovo’s independence drive does not violate international law has prompted strong reactions; with Serbian President Boris Tadic (pictured) saying it will never recognise its independence.

 

Serbia was the first to speak out against the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ)
Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic's statement on the court's opinion
non-binding judgement that Kosovo’s push for independence does not violate international law. Less than two hours after the ruling was announced, President Boris Tadic said Belgrade will never recognise the independence of its former province. He went on to say, “The government will now consider further steps.”

Serbia’s traditional ally Russia also expressed misgivings about the decision. In a statement released on Thursday by the Foreign Ministry in Moscow, the Kremlin said the ruling itself does not provide the basis for Kosovo’s independence from Serbia. "Our position on the non-recognition of Kosovo's independence remains unchanged," said the Foreign Ministry’s statement. 

Facing a number of separatist movements of its own, particularly in Chechnya, analysts said they were not surprised by Moscow’s tepid response to the court’s decision.
China and India are among the other major powers that have yet to respond to the court’s ruling. Both Beijing and New Delhi are widely expected to downplay the importance of the court’s announcement as it will likely be regarded as encouraging their separatist movements.
 
Supporters

The United States said it was pleased with the court’s decision and urged the international community to act on its ruling.
 
“We call on all states to move beyond the issue of Kosovo’s status and engage constructively in support of peace and stability in the Balkans, and we call on those states that have not yet done so to recognise Kosovo,” said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in an e-mailed statement. 

Washington has been among Kosovo’s most active supporters. The day before, on Wednesday, Vice President Joe Biden hosted Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci where he reaffirmed the White House’s full support. 
 

Meanwhile, in Brussels, an equally supportive, albeit more measured response came from the European Union. Foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said the EU welcomed the decision and is ready to help Serbia and Kosovo initiate a dialogue to strengthen their chances of joining the EU bloc. "The EU is ready to facilitate a process of dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. This dialogue would be to promote cooperation, achieve progress on the path to Europe and improve the lives of the people," Ashton said in a statement.

 

Date created : 2010-07-22

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