Czech, Slovak presidents: Kosovo sets precedent

BRATISLAVA -- The Czech and Slovak presidents say that Kosovo’s unilateral independence will have unforeseeable consequences.

During his visit to Bratislava yesterday, Vaclav Klaus categorically rejected the argument that Kosovo was a special case.

“It is not an isolated question which is only applicable to that small part of the Balkans,” he said at a joint press-conference with Ivan Gašparovič.

“For me Kosovo is, above all, a precedent. We’ve opened a Pandora’s Box in Europe that could have disastrous consequences. That’s why I am afraid,” said the Czech president.

Gašparovič stressed that Slovakia did not think it was obliged to immediately recognize Kosovo, until it had formed its own position on the consequences of the province’s unilateral independence.

“I think some time for reflection is necessary, because Kosovo has given the 21st century a clear signal that it once again has to discuss questions concerning national minorities, their rights and even the revision of territories. For that reason, our decision will not follow quickly,” said the Slovakian president.

Klaus's short visit to Slovakia yesterday was in accordance with an unwritten but iron rule that, on the first foreign visit after his inauguration, the Czech president should visit the second metropolis of the former country of Czechoslovakia.