US, EU States Recognize Independent Kosovo

Spain withholds nod; prez gets ahead of US State Dept.
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 18, 2008 11:41 AM CST
Thousands of Kosovars gather to celebrate Kosovo's declaration of independence in the main square of Kosovo's capital, Pristina, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2008. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – The US and major European states recognized Kosovo as an independent state today, reports Reuters. Condoleezza Rice issued an official statement several hours after President Bush jumped the gun by saying in a speech in Africa that Kosovo is "now independent." His Secretary of State said later: "We congratulate the people of Kosovo on this historic occasion."

"The recognition of Kosovo is as important as the declaration of independence," said a government official. Several countries withheld acceptance; Spain said it would not recognize the unilateral independence Kosovo declared yesterday, despite fierce opposition from Serbia. "This does not respect international law," said the Spanish foreign minister.