EU divided over Kosovo independence, Russia opposes

MOSCOW, Feb 17, 2008 (AFP) – Russia angrily condemned Kosovo’s declaration of independence on Sunday and while many major powers are expected to recognise the fledgling state, even the European Union is divided. The foreign ministry said it “could set an unmanageable precedent in the conduct of international relations, the established global order of sovereign states and could thus pose a grave threat to international peace and security.”

The United States, Britain, France, Germany and Italy have all indicated that their formal recognition will come on Monday — but several European states have said they will not accept the new state.

Countries around the world with separatist problems — ranging from Spain to Sri Lanka — have expressed concern at Kosovo’s split from Serbia.

Russia’s foreign ministry said the unilateral declaration of independence “violates the sovereignty of the republic of Serbia.”

Following a call by Russia, the UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Kosovo late Sunday. Moscow’s UN Ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, said he would press the council to declare Kosovo’s declaration “null and void.”
Russia has been Serbia’s strongest backer in opposing Kosovo’s independence