Serbia protests against old ally's move on Kosovo

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Originally published
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15 Jan 2010 15:46:02 GMT

Source: Reuters

BELGRADE, Jan 15 (Reuters) - Serbia recalled its ambassador from neighboring Montenegro on Friday to protest over its establishment of diplomatic relations with Kosovo, the Foreign Ministry said.

The move came more than a year after Montenegro, a fellow Orthodox Christian nation which ended Yugoslavia by parting from Serbia in 2006, formally recognised Kosovo's 2008 secession from Serbia.

"The establishment of diplomatic relations between the Montenegrin government and provisional authorities in Pristina undermines regional stability and hinders the establishment of best possible relations between neighbours," the Serbian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

A total of 65 countries, including the United States and most of its European allies, have recognised Kosovo's independence. Out of the six other former Yugoslav republics besides Serbia, only Bosnia has not recognized Kosovo because of opposition from the Serb Republic, its Serb entity.

Serbia, Russia, China and a majority of UN member countries do not recognise Kosovo's independence, many awaiting the ruling of the Netherlands-based International Court of Justice on the legalilty of the move, expected later this year.

Kosovo which is 90 percent ethnic Albanian, is still patrolled by NATO peacekeeping troops and under the supervision of an EU judicial and police mission.

The newest European country was the site of a bloodby crackdown by Serb security troops against ethnic Albanian insurgents which ended after the 1999 NATO bombing of the then two-republic Yugoslavia of Serbia and Montenegro.

Serbia still has close relations with Kosovo's 120,000-strong Serb community which remains opposed to the government in Pristina. (Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Additional reporting by Fatos Bytyci in Pristina and Petar Komnenic in Podgorica; Editing by Adam Tanner and Ralph Boulton)

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