The United Nations International Court of Justice advised decisively on July 22 that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence is in accordance with international law. In 1999, Kosovo was placed under U.N. supervision, following a 78-day NATO air campaign that ended President Slobodan Milosevic’s brutal police and military campaign against the ethnic Albanian majority in Kosovo. The United States strongly supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Kosovo as an independent state and has reiterated that view in the wake of the court's opinion.
U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon said the court's opinion was closely tailored to the unique circumstance of Kosovo. "This was about Kosovo," said Assistant Secretary Gordon. "It was not about other regions or states. It doesn't set any precedent for other regions or states."
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said it is time for "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." 69 countries have so far recognized Kosovo as independent, with more expected to do so following the opinion.
The United States believes it is especially important for both Kosovo and Serbia to move forward in support of peace and stability in the Balkans. In a recent meeting with Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci, Vice President Joe Biden welcomed the progress that Kosovo's government has made in carrying out essential reforms, including steps to strengthen the rule of law and successfully integrating minority communities. These efforts, he said, must be sustained. The U.S. also commends Kosovo for its willingness to work with all of its neighbors, including Serbia, to advance stability, freedom, and prosperity for the entire region.
The United States wants to continue to work with Serbia and Kosovo to turn the page on the past and work toward a better future.