March 19, 2008 / 11:27 AM / 11 years ago

Serbia appeals to nations not to recognize Kosovo

ATHENS (Reuters) - Serbia appealed to nations on Wednesday not to recognize the month-old republic of Kosovo, saying the breakaway state was part of its territory.

Demonstrators wave Serbian flags while holding a banner that reads "Will stay ours" during a protest in front of Serbian Parliament building in Belgrade March 17, 2008. REUTERS/Ivan Milutinovic

“Don’t do it. This is an appeal,” Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic told reporters in Athens after meeting his Greek counterpart Dora Bakoyanni. “Countries that take this decision cannot have good ties with Serbia.”

Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia were preparing on Wednesday to become the first neighbors of Serbia to recognize the republic.

“I see with sadness now that there are states in our region that have recognized or will recognize it,” Jeremic said. “I say don’t do it. Do not touch on the sovereignty of Serbia by recognizing Kosovo.”

In a statement obtained by Reuters and due to be made public on Wednesday, the three countries said their decision was based on “thorough consideration” and noted the importance of protecting the Serb minority in the overwhelming ethnic Albanian territory.

Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Charles Dick

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