Military

Serbia recalls ambassador from U.S. as Kosovo crisis deepens

RIA Novosti

19/02/2008 10:27 BELGRADE, February 19 (RIA Novosti) - Belgrade has recalled its ambassador from the U.S. over Washington's recognition of Kosovo, as the rift among the international community deepened on Tuesday.

"We feel that this is a travesty of international law," Serbia's ambassador to the U.S., Ivan Vujacic, said on Monday evening at a news conference at the Serbian embassy.

Serbian Prime Minister Vojislav Kostunica also indicated that Belgrade would withdraw its ambassadors from other countries recognizing the sovereignty of the 'world's newest state.'

A UN Security Council meeting on Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence ended late on Monday without a resolution or joint statement.

Serbian President Boris Tadic said that Kosovo's actions represented a precedent which would cause "irreparable damage to international order."

Russia is deeply opposed to independence for Kosovo, while China has expressed its 'deep concern' over developments, saying that they "constitute a serious challenge to the fundamental principles of international law."

President Bush, however, speaking in Africa during his week-long tour of the continent, said he was confident that history would, in retrospect, justify the actions of Washington and its allies.

"History will prove this to be the correct move," he said.

The UN Security Council meeting came as Serbia's parliament formally and unanimously annulled Kosovo's independence.

Sunday's declaration of sovereignty, it announced, contradicted UN Resolution 1244 which guaranteed Serbia's territorial integrity.

Gangs of youths rioted for a second night in Belgrade as calls grew in Serbia for military intervention to retake Kosovo, regarded as the spiritual and historic heartland of the Serbian nation. There were also large demonstrations by ethnic Serbs in the north of Kosovo. Belgrade has, however, ruled out the use of force as a solution to the current crisis.

Besides the U.S., France, the U.K., Germany, Australia, Turkey and Italy have all so far recognized Kosovo. Poland is expected to follow suit on Tuesday.

Spain, with its own separatist problems, announced on Monday that it would not acknowledge the sovereignty of the former Serbian province.

Three other EU states, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia, earlier announced that they would also refuse to recognize Kosovo. Vietnam and Indonesia have also said they will not acknowledge Pristina's sovereignty.

Political analysts fear that the declaration of independence by Kosovo, and its subsequent recognition by Western powers, will open up a Pandora's Box of separatist issues in Europe and beyond.

The first signs that the Kosovo issue may prove to have irreversibly altered the global political landscape came on Monday, as the president of the breakaway Georgian republic of Abkhazia said that his country was planning to ask Russia for recognition. South Ossetia, another de facto independent Georgian republic, is likely to follow suit.

Indeed, in a sign that Moscow has already taken on board the new realities introduced by the recognition of Kosovo by the U.S. and its allies, Russia's parliament had this to say on Monday, in a joint statement by its upper and lower houses: "Now that the situation in Kosovo has become an international precedent, Russia should take into account the Kosovo scenario...when considering ongoing territorial conflicts."

Kosovo has been a UN protectorate since the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia ended a conflict between Albanian and Serb forces in 1999.



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