Accessibility links

Breaking News

Canada, Japan Recognize Independent Kosovo

Canada and Japan have recognized Kosovo's independence, prompting Serbia to immediately recall its ambassadors from both countries.

Canadian Foreign Minister Maxime Bernier says Canada is following a move made by a significant number of countries, including many of its close allies.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry statement says Japan hopes recognizing Kosovo will not impede its friendly relations with Serbia.

Earlier Tuesday, French NATO troops fired grenades to disperse rock-throwing Serbs in the divided northern Kosovo city of Mitrovica.

Violence erupted in Mitrovica Monday when U.N. police and NATO peacekeepers evicted Serbs who seized a United Nations court. The riots left a Ukrainian U.N. peacekeeper dead and more than 100 other people wounded.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the death deeply saddens him and is calling on all parties to refrain from violence.

The deputy head of the U.N. mission in Kosovo, Larry Rossin called Monday's violence "orchestrated." He criticized Serbian leaders for failing to prevent it.

Kosovo and its 90 percent ethnic Albanian majority declared independence from Serbia last month. A total of 31 countries have recognized Kosovo as an independent country.

The International Crisis Group, a global conflict resolution organization, is urging more governments to recognize Kosovo. It says this would help prevent Serbia from expanding its hold on Serb-dominated areas in northern Kosovo. The group also is calling on NATO and the European Union to coordinate peacekeeping activities in the region.