The Government of Iceland formally recognizes Kosovo
The Government of Iceland has formally recognized Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state. The announcement was made this morning in a letter sent by H.E. Ms. Ingibjörg Sólrún Gísladóttir, Minister for Foreign Affairs, to H.E. Mr. Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo. She has also notified the Government of Serbia of this decision.
"We expect Kosovo to fulfill the obligations set out in its declaration of independence to fully respect human rights and the rights of minorities," said Minister Gísladóttir, who is in Brussels for a NATO Foreign Ministers meeting and an international conference of women leaders on women's participation in peace and security. In her letter the Minister emphasized that Kosovo is a multi-ethnic democracy and underlined the importance of having equality and justice for all as guiding principles. Indeed, this was in line with the status proposal of Martti Ahtisaari, UN Special Envoy on the final status of Kosovo, which the Kosovo Authorities have undertaken to abide by.
Kosovo declared independence on 17 February 2008 following fruitless negotations on future status. Foreign Minister Gísladóttir said that it was important that efforts continue to find a settlement on the future status of Kosovo that all UN member states can live with. This was important for the ongoing international reconstruction efforts in Kosovo, to which Iceland contributes. The Icelandic Crisis Response Unit has seconded the director of the Council of Europe office in Kosovo and ICRU sponsored representatives of UNIFEM are working in neighbouring countries. The Icelandic Civil Aviation Authority provides quality control and certification at the airport in Pristina.