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EU Split Over Recognition of Kosovo

The European Union Monday split over whether to recognize Kosovo's newly declared independence. Lisa Bryant reports from Paris the 27-member block has ultimately decided to let each of its 27 members make its own decision.

Four of Europe's biggest powers - Germany, Britain, France and Italy - have followed the United States in saying they would recognizing Kosovo's independence. And Poland's foreign minister said he would ask his government to recognize Kosovo's declaration of independence on Tuesday.

In Washington, President Bush congratulated Kosovo on its independence and reminded Pristina it is bound by the UN-backed plan to submit to international supervision.

But EU members are deeply divided over the matter. At a foreign ministers' meeting in Brussels Monday, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitri Rupel - whose country holds the rotating EU presidency - told reporters the block had decided to let member states decide for themselves.

"European Union as a union of 27 member countries does not recognize any country," said Dimitri Rupel. "Recognition is in the hands of the member states. And some member states may recognize [Kosovo] today. Some may be recognizing tomorrow. Some may recognize in a couple of days or a week or a couple of weeks. Some may not."

Cyprus and Spain count among some half a dozen opponents to recognizing Kosovo's independence. Cyprus declared its break from Serbia as legally invalid. Romania and Slovakia are also against Kosovo's move.

But several other countries, including Austria to Sweden, say they are prepared to recognize an independent Kosovo. And in France, the Elysee presidential palace announced French President Nicolas Sarkozy had written a letter to Kosovo's president recognizing the territory "as a free and independent state."