Spain will not recognise Kosovo independence: government

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Spain said Friday it would not recognise Kosovo as an independent state, despite the UN's International Court of Justice (ICJ) backing for its unilateral breakaway from Serbia.

"We maintain our position to not recognise it and we continue to appeal for dialogue and an agreement between the different parties," Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega told a news conference.

Spain, which faces its own seperatist pressures at home in Catalonia and the Basque region, broke ranks with most of its European Union allies and refused to recognise Kosovo's February 2008 declaration of independence from Serbia.

De la Vega rejected the suggestion that Madrid's refusal to recognise Kosovo was a reaction to Basque and Catalan nationalism at home.

"I think it is unrealistic to compare Spain with the Balkans," she said.

ICJ president Hisashi Owada on Thursday said the court ruled by 10 votes to four that ethnic Albanian-majority Kosovo's independence declaration did not violate international law.

The other EU members opposed to Kosovo's independence in addition to Spain are Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia -- either in solidarity with Serbia or so as not to create a precedent for their own separatist challenges.

© 2010 AFP

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