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Hungary to recognize Kosovo

Croatia, Hungary and Bulgaria announced they would recognize Kosovo Albanians' unilateral declaration of independence.

“Kosovo’s declaration of independence followed the failure of all the international community’s efforts to find a negotiated solution between Belgrade and Priština over Kosovo’s status. Under such circumstances, the change from the unsustainable status quo was inevitable,“ reads a statement from the Croatian Foreign and European Integration Ministry.

In the statement, released simultaneously in Sofia, Zagreb and Budapest, Serbia’s neighbors say that they support further strengthening of relations between Serbia and the EU, and that they expect the development of good neighborly relations with Serbia and the traditional ties with its people to continue.

33 countries have thus far recognized Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence, including 18 EU member-states.

In Vitrovica yesterday, Croatian President Stjepan Mesić said that Kosovo used to be “a constituent element of the Yugoslav federation” that no longer exists, while Serbia “hasn’t the capacities to establish power in Kosovo or continue negotiations.“

“Just as we asked the world to face up to reality when we declared independence, it’s logical for us to be asked to recognize Kosovo,“ said the president.

However, the Independent Democratic Serb Party (SDSS), one of the members of the governing coalition, opposes the move.

Party Vice-President Milorad Pupovac said that the SDSS would not support the recognition, and that the party organs and the Serb National Council would decide on further steps.

“The government should delay that decision and address the theme as extensively as possible, because the tensions haven’t subsided, and the risk has increased since the fall of the Serbian government,“ said Pupovac.

Government spokeswoman Bernadett Budai said that Budapest had waited until after March 15, a Hungarian national holiday to announce its decision to recognize Kosovo, in order to avert any attacks on Hungarians in Serbia.

Members of Hungarian community in Vojvodina, some 300,000, could be the target of reprisals if Hungary recognizes Kosovo’s unilateral independence today, said Union of Vojvodina Hungarians leader István Pásztor.

“It could lead to over-reactions, and no-one has the power or authority to control all of the extremist forces,“ said Pásztor, adding that certain statements coming from Serbian politicians over the last few days could encourage the radical elements.

“By recognizing Kosovo, Hungary, as a NATO and EU member, has assumed the responsibility for confronting the negative repercussions of such a decision. Budapest’s actions will, however, clearly be limited to the diplomatic sphere,“ he said. (B92)