UE: Romania i Xipre (i Espanya, Grècia i Eslovàquia) contra la independència de Kosova
Romania and Cyprus confirm opposition to Kosovo independenceeuobserver, 01.02.2008 - 17:24 CET | By Elitsa Vucheva
Romania and Cyprus said on Thursday (31 January) that they would not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence by Kosovo.
"Cyprus, for reasons of principle, cannot recognise and will not recognise a unilateral declaration of independence", Cypriot foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis was quoted as saying by French news agency AFP.
"This is an issue of principle, of respect of international law, but also an issue of concern that it will create a precedent in international relations," she added.
On the same day, Romanian president Traian Basescu made an even stronger statement after a meeting with NATO secretary-general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer in Brussels.
"My country will not be able to recognise an independence proclamation by Kosovo on any level (...) whether coordinated or unilaterally proclaimed", he said according to Serbian news site B92.net.
"What kind of message is that to send (...) to countries faced with ethnic problems or frozen conflicts?" he said.
The comments out of Romania and Cyprus are the clearest public statements so far by high-level politicians confirming the persisting divisions within the EU on the matter.
While a majority of member states are expected to recognise Kosovo's independence when proclaimed, some continue to oppose the move.
Romania and Cyprus, but also Spain, Greece and Slovakia, fear Kosovo could set a precedent and spark separatist movements elsewhere.
The Serbian breakaway province of Kosovo has been administered by the UN since the NATO military intervention in 1999.
It is set to proclaim independence in the next weeks - something firmly opposed by Serbia, which views Kosovo as an integral part of its territory.
The United States and most EU countries are expected to recognise Kosovo independence however, while Russia and a minority of EU states will likely refuse to do so.