The de facto independent Republic of Abkhazia, which lies in Georgian territory, was among the first to call for its independence to be recognized alongside that of Kosovo. Its president, Sergei Bagapsh, asked Russia to back the self-proclaimed republic. In the run-up to Kosovo's declaration of independence, Moscow attempted to put pressure on the international community by threatening to recognize the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, also in Georgia. On Saturday, The New York Times reported that Russian officials met with leaders from both unacknowledged republics last Friday.
International recognition of Kosovo
Countries across the globe, including the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Afghanistan and Turkey, were quick to recognize the new Kosovar state one day after the country declared its independence. The European Union, unable to reach a consensus, is letting each member state decide whether to recognize an independent Kosovo. Some states, including Russia, Serbia, Cyprus, Romania and Spain - which described the unilateral declaration as being "as illegal as the Iraq war" - have reiterated their refusal to recognize the new state.
The Basque Government has been particularly enthusiastic about the news of Kosovo's independence and in an official statement released yesterday described the path Kosovo has taken to independence as "an exemplary case of finding peaceful and democratic solutions to identity conflicts." A spokeswoman for the Basque Government, Miren Azkarate, declared that the 21st century would be "the century of nations and identity, the century of respect for citizenship." It is this context, she said, that "a definitive resolution to the Basque conflict can be found."