The Netherlands is not in favour of a hasty recognition of Kosovo as an independent state and the stability of the region is paramount, foreign minister Maxime Verhagen was reported as saying by news agency ANP on Sunday.
Verhagen was reacting to the declaration of independence issued by the new Kosovo parliament. It was, he said, a ‘new reality’ requiring an ‘important decision’ which should not be taken too quickly.
The minister called on Serbians and Kosovars to show restraint and responsibility and asked Kosovo to ensure it protected Serbs and other minorities, ANP reported. Some 10% of the people living in Kosovo are Serbian, the majority are ethnic Albanians.
‘Before we take a decision, we must look carefully at the new constitution and the declaration of independence,’ he was reported as saying. The stability of the region was also important for the Netherlands, he said. ‘We do not want a repeat of the violence and refugees of the 1990s.’
EU ministers meet on Monday to discuss their response. According to the BBC, Britain, France and Germany are likely to support the fledgling state but some, including Spain, Greece and Cyprus fear it will set a dangerous precedent.
Meanwhile, Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith has been appointed as the European Union’s civilian administrator to Kosovo. The EU is also to send around 2,000 police officers, customs officials, judges and public prosecutors. Some 16,000 Nato troops are currently in the enclave which has been under UN control since 1999.
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