BRUSSELS 's All three Baltic foreign ministers emerged from a meeting oftheir European Union colleagues Feb. 18 and decided to recognise in principle adeclaration of independence by Kosovo a day earlier.
However, the EU was unable to thrash out a unified position on the issuedespite the application of a good deal of spin.
Ministers adopted conclusions which stated that EU countries would decide, 'inaccordance with national practice and international law, on their relationswith Kosovo as an independent state.'
The EU's largest member states: Germany, the United Kingdom, France andItaly all recognised Kosovo's independence but others including Spain, Romania,Bulgaria, Cyprus and Slovakia expressed reservations about the legality of themove under international law and fear that a precedent could be set for otherindependence movements.
The United States has recognised Kosovan independence, while Russia has not.
On 18 February, in Brussels, Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs PetrasVaitiekÅ«nas participated in the meeting of the European Union General Affairsand External Relations Council (GAERC), where the main attention was focused onthe issue of Kosovo's independence that was declared on 17 February.
Lithuanian foreign minister Petras Vaitiekunas stated that in the currentsituation Kosovo's independence is the only sustainable solution to ensure theperspective of security and stability in the region. In response to theproposal by the President of Lithuania Valdas Adamkus to start the proceduresof acknowledgement of Kosovo in Lithuania, minister VaitiekÅ«nas made astatement that he would address the Seimas asking them to initiate theprocedures needed to acknowledge the independence of Kosovo.
Latvia has decided to recognize the independence of the breakaway Serbianprovince Kosovo in a few days' time, Latvian Foreign Minister Maris Riekstinssaid.
The minister told BNSthat Latvia would inform Kosovo authorities of its decision by sending asuitable document through diplomatic channels.
"The decision has been based on the Foreign Ministry's analysis of thesituation and developments in the Western Balkans in the historical, politicaland legal context," the foreign minister said.
Riekstins indicated though that Kosovo is a unique case and would not createa precedent applicable to any other "frozen conflict".
Estonian foreign minister Urmas Paet said that Estoniawas also prepared to recognize the independence of Kosovo.
"Establishment of Kosovo's independence will create in the regionclarity and hopefully also stability to which Kosovo's independence declarationrefers," Paet said.
"At the same time it is important that in its further developmentKosovo should observe all the instructions contained in the status proposal orthe so-called Ahtisaari Plan."
Paet said that sharing of international experience and assistance necessaryfor the reconstruction of Kosovo would continue.