U.S. recognizes Kosovo's independence. Russia,China don't

President Bush recognized the Republic of Kosovo on Feb. 18, congratulating President Fatmir Sejdiu on having taken an “important step in your democratic and national development” a day after the former province of Serbia declared independence.

The United States joined Britain, France, Germany and Turkey in recognizing the new Balkan state, which has been administered by the United Nations since a NATO bombing campaign drove out Serbian forces in 1999. The majority of Kosovars are ethnic Albanians; most are Muslims.

China and Russia, which have issues with separatists within their own borders, have expressed their disapproval. As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, either could block the fledgling state from gaining a seat in the General Assembly. Serbia, meanwhile, withdrew its diplomats from Washington over U.S. recognition.

China's ambassador to the United Nations has warned that Kosovo's independence declaration could cause conflict and undermine the U.N..

(Baltimore Sun, Reuters)

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