July 22, 2010 / 6:15 PM / 10 years ago

Serbia and Kosovo should set aside differences: Clinton

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Serbia and Kosovo should set aside their differences now that the World Court has found that Kosovo’s 2008 unilateral secession from Serbia did not violate international law, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Thursday.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague issued the nonbinding ruling, a blow to Serbia, which lost control over Kosovo in 1999 when NATO bombed it to halt the killing of ethnic Albanians in a two-year counterinsurgency war.

“We call on all states to move beyond the issue of Kosovo’s status and engage constructively in support of peace and stability in the Balkans, and we call on those states that have not yet done so to recognize Kosovo,” Clinton said in a written statement.

“Serbia and Kosovo are both friends and partners of the United States,” she added. “Now is the time for them to put aside their differences and move forward, working together constructively to resolve practical issues and improve the lives of the people of Kosovo, Serbia and the region.

“This is the path toward their future, as part of a Europe, whole, free and at peace, and we welcome the European Union’s efforts to assist both countries in realizing their European aspirations,” Clinton said in the statement.

Writing by Arshad Mohammed, Editing by Howard Goller

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