Norway to recognise Kosovo's UDI

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 20 February 2008, 13:10 GMT]
Announcing the decision of Norway to recognise Kosovo's Unilateral Declaration of Independence from Serbia, as an independent state, Norway's Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, on Wednesday said: "Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that further negotiations would lead to a mutually agreed solution to the status issue. At the same time, the status quo is no longer viable. There is a need to clarify Kosovo’s future status so that it can continue its economic and political development. In the current situation, it is important that the members of the international community as far as possible take a common position. This in itself would contribute to clarity and stability."

Full text of the press release issued by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday follows:

Norway to recognise Kosovo as an independent state

“I can announce today that Norway is going to recognise Kosovo as an independent state. There are several reasons why we have arrived at this conclusion,” says Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

“Unfortunately, there is no reason to believe that further negotiations would lead to a mutually agreed solution to the status issue. At the same time, the status quo is no longer viable. There is a need to clarify Kosovo’s future status so that it can continue its economic and political development. In the current situation, it is important that the members of the international community as far as possible take a common position. This in itself would contribute to clarity and stability. A large number of European countries, including other Nordic countries, intend to recognise Kosovo. Given the situation, we feel it is appropriate to signal that Norway will do so as well,” says Mr Støre.

“I would like to stress that the Kosovo situation is a special case. The conflict in 1999 and the fact that Kosovo has been under international administration since then constitute special circumstances,” says the Foreign Minister.

Norway attaches great importance to the obligations undertaken by Kosovo’s leaders with a view to implementing the provisions of the Ahtisaari plan. Kosovo must now develop into a multi-ethnic, democratic state with respect for human rights and law and order. Respect for the religious and cultural heritage of the various ethnic groups is essential in this respect. The fulfilment of these obligations will be an important factor in the development of our relations with Kosovo.

“The Norwegian Government would like to reiterate how important it is that all parties refrain from violence. Any unrest or increase in tension in and around Kosovo could have negative and dangerous consequences for the region,” says Mr Støre. “Recognition of Kosovo will also make it possible to engage the entire region in a process of gradual integration into Euro-Atlantic institutions. This process will be an important contribution to stability and must be open to the entire region.”

“I would like to underscore once again Norway’s close relations with Serbia and its leaders. We attach great importance to maintaining the mutual trust and cooperation we have built up over the years,” says Foreign Minister Støre.

Recognition of Kosovo will be effected in accordance with the procedures prescribed for such decisions, and will take the form of a Royal Decree. The date for the formal decision has not yet been fixed.


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