EU thanks Spain for role in stabilising the Balkans

26th March 2009, Comments 0 comments

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana thanks Spain for helping bring stability to the Balkans without mentioning the country’s decision to withdraw troops from Kosovo.

MADRID – EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana Wednesday thanked Spain, which last week announced the withdrawal of its troops from Kosovo, for its role in helping bring stability to the Balkans, the government said.

Solana held talks in Madrid with Spanish Defence Minister Carme Chacon, the ministry said in a statement.

The statement did not specifically mention Kosovo, and indicated the talks focused on Spain's defence objectives in its presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2010.

But it said Solana thanked Spain for "its contribution to the stability of the Balkans over the past 17 years".

Chacon is to meet in Brussels on Thursday with NATO chief Jaap de Hoop Scheffer to formally inform him of Madrid's decision, announced on 19 March, to withdraw its 630 troops from the NATO-led force in Kosovo.

Washington has said it was "deeply disappointed" and surprised by the move.

Kosovo proclaimed unilateral independence from Serbia in February 2008.

But unlike most of its European Union counterparts, Spain has declined to recognise Kosovo out of concern that it might set a precedent for separatists at home in the Basque region and Catalonia.

AFP / Expatica

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