Vienna, 28 February 2008 - Today, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik informed the Council for Integration and Foreign Policy Issues that she had signed a letter on the formal recognition of the Republic of Kosovo by Austria, and had sent it to Pristina.
"It is not a hasty recognition. We have carefully considered this decision. Unilateral independence is not an ideal solution, but the only realistic and possible path. We must not forget the history of the conflict. Nor can we close our eyes to reality. The status quo could no longer be maintained and was a constant source of instability," asserted Plassnik.
The Foreign Minister continued: "The Balkans have already lost too much time. It was necessary to draw a clear bottom line. Now the path is free for the region to free itself from stagnation and start dynamic development anew. The long-term stabilisation of the Balkans and its integration in the European Union remains our uppermost goal."
"We have consistently supported Serbia and the Western Balkans and shall continue to do so - independently of the Kosovo status issue. The dialogue on visa liberalisation with all Western Balkan states was started at my initiative, and indeed this process has become a reality. I expect the confirmation of this course by the European Union in the coming weeks, as well as the elaboration of systematic roadmaps tailored to each country," stated Plassnik.
Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik also reported to the Council on her most recent Middle East trip as well as her talks at the meeting of EU foreign ministers and the Arab League in Malta.
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