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1 Aug, 2022 17:10 

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Spain comments on Kosovo’s independence

PM Pedro Sanchez said the breakaway region’s unilateral declaration of independence from Serbia violated international law

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.  © Getty Images / Pablo Blazquez Dominguez

Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008 was illegal and can’t be recognized by Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday during a visit to Albania’s capital, Tirana.

As Sanchez met with Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama amid his tour of the Balkans, he stated that the “unilateral declaration of independence, in the view of the Spanish government and with respect to the Albanian government, was a violation of international law” and therefore “unacceptable” to Madrid.

The Spanish PM also told Rama that Madrid fully supports Albania’s bid for European Union membership, citing the applicant’s “commitment and the reforms it has made.”

His comments come after tensions flared up over the weekend on the border between Serbia and its breakaway province, officially called the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija in the Serbian constitution, which received recognition by several Western powers in 2008.

The government in Kosovo planned to ban the use of Serbian-issued license plates and ID papers starting from August 1, and was to use its police force to enforce the measure. Belgrade officials called it an attack on Kosovo’s Serbian population as President Aleksandar Vucic accused Pristina of violating the rights of local Serbs.

READ MORE: Trump’s Kosovo envoy slams US over crisis

Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti in turn has accused local Serbs of opening fire on police, and claimed his government is facing “Serbian national-chauvinism” and “misinformation”from Belgrade.

On Sunday, Serbs in the north of the breakaway province set up roadblocks and rang alarm bells as heavily armed Kosovo special police took control of two administrative crossings with Serbia.

The situation received a temporary resolution after Washington called on Kosovo officials to postpone the implementation of the controversial law until September 1. Pristina agreed, on condition that Serbia remove barricades from the de facto border. Vucic has said that he hopes for tensions to ease and promised that Belgrade would do everything within its power to preserve the peace through compromise.

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