Germany rules out Kosovo partition on ethnic lines

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle, December 8, 2010.

From Fatos Bytyci, Reuters:  Germany will oppose any partition of Kosovo, its foreign minister said Thursday following a warning by Kosovo Albanian leaders that Serbia wants its former province divided along ethnic lines.

Guido Westerwelle said the map of the Balkans had been decided and the issue of territorial changes was closed.

"For us it is clear that the situation and territorial integrity in this region is decided; this means this is out of discussion for us," Westerwelle said at a news conference with Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian premier during a visit to Pristina.

Westerwelle said German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pass on the same message during a visit to Serbia later this month.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO bombing halted a Serbian military crackdown on separatist ethnic Albanians. But 60,000 Serbs in north Kosovo rejected the breakaway and still deem Belgrade their capital.

Some Serbian officials have floated the idea of partitioning Kosovo, effectively hiving off its northern Serb enclave. . . .

With 1,023 troops, Germany has the biggest military contingent in Kosovo’s NATO peacekeeping mission (KFOR). It is sending another 500 after the recent violence.  (photo: Reuters)

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