Accessibility links

President Bush Reaffirms US Support for Kosovo Independence

U.S. President George Bush has reaffirmed his support for Kosovo's independence.

The president told a U.S. television interviewer on NBC's Today Show, "The Kosovars are now independent." But he stopped short of formally recognizing Kosovo statehood, saying the United States will be guided by a United Nations' blueprint for the territory.

Mr. Bush spoke on a trip to Africa Monday, as deeply divided European Union foreign ministers met in Brussels to discuss Kosovo's declaration of independence.

All 27 EU member-countries have endorsed dispatching a police and administrative mission to Kosovo to bolster its stability. But Spain, Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia and Romania say they will not recognize Kosovo's statehood at this time. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Germany will wait for the outcome of the Brussels meeting before acting.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia Sunday and sought diplomatic recognition from governments worldwide.

Serbia and its traditional ally Russia oppose Kosovo's independence. Moscow has repeatedly warned that Kosovo's independence could spark secessionist movements elsewhere in Europe. China has also voiced opposition.

Kosovo has been under United Nations' administration since 1999, when NATO air strikes halted Belgrade's crackdown on ethnic Albanian separatists and drove Belgrade's security forces from the province.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.