EU president Slovenia moves to recognize Kosovo

LJUBLJANA – The government of current EU president Slovenia said on Thursday it wanted to recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia and asked parliament to approve its decision.

Parliament is expected to confirm the proposal, probably at its next regular sitting on February 25. Slovenia would become the first former Yugoslav republic to recognize Kosovo, whose ethnic Albanian leaders declared independence on Sunday.

Slovenia was the first republic to quit the Serbian-led Yugoslav federation in 1991, together with Croatia, and fought a brief war against Belgrade’s forces.

“The government has approved a proposal to recognize Kosovo as an independent state and has sent it to parliament where it will be put up for discussion,” government spokesman Valentin Hajdinjak told a news conference.

Despite opposition from Serbia and its powerful backer Russia, who call Kosovo’s independence a violation of the United Nations charter, several countries, led by the United States, Britain, France and Germany, have recognized it this week.

A number of states, including Canada, Spain and Cyprus, have not done so, fearing such a move might stoke separatist tensions among their own minorities.

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