Serbian premier links Georgia situation to Kosovo

Serbia's prime minister has said the recent events that led to Russia's recognition of two Georgian breakaway republics were a knock-on effect of Western powers' recognition of Kosovo's independence.

Russia, Serbia's key ally, refused to recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state after the predominantly ethnic Albanian province declared its independence in February. Moscow at the time rejected Western powers' claims that Kosovo was a 'special case,' and said that recognition would fuel separatist movements in other countries.

Mirko Cvetkovic told the Belgrade daily Politika: "We had warned that the recognition of Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence could cause a domino effect. Unfortunately, this is now happening."

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev signed decrees on Tuesday recognizing South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states, saying recognition was necessary to protect the republics from Georgian acts of aggression, following the August 8 military offensive in South Ossetia.

Western leaders have condemned Russia's decision, which has sparked fears of a new Cold War.

So far, 46 UN member states out of nearly 200 have recognized Kosovo as an independent country, while Belgrade and Moscow insist that it will always remain a part of Serbia.

[Source: Novosti, Belgrade, 28Aug08]

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The Question of South Ossetia
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