"Malaysia freezes recognition procedure"

Kuala Lumpur -- FM Vuk Jeremić says Malaysia decided to freeze the process of recognizing Kosovo’s unilateral independence.

The foreign minister said in Kuala Lumpur today that Malaysia will decide shortly before the gathering in New York in September whether to support Serbia’s initiative before the UN General Assembly to seek the opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) on the ethnic Albanians' declaration of secession.

"Malaysia has put a halt to the procedure of the recognition of Kosovo’s unilaterally proclaimed independence, and the process is frozen at this time,” Jeremić said after talks with Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmed Badawi and other senior officials.

“Malaysia’s prime minister said that he supported peaceful solutions and agreements made by consensus. He expressed his country’s support for the respect of international law and understanding for Serbia’s initiative before the UN General Assembly,” he continued.

Jeremić said although this country would reach a final decision on supporting Serbia’s ICJ move, the halted recognition procedure was "an encouraging sign".

"I expressed hope that Malaysia would decide whether to recognize Kosovo or not, only after the ICJ decided what further steps to undertake,” the minister said and added that he expected that the procedure "would not be renewed".

This was the first meeting of Serbia’s and Malaysia’s senior officials since 1991.

The foreign said afterwards that it was agreed that Serbia should send an ambassador to this influential Asian country while Malaysia had already posted its ambassador to Serbia.

Jeremić said he and his interlocutors agreed that improvement of relations between the two countries was needed, and that a number of bilateral agreements would be signed.

“Malaysia decided to ease up its visa regime for Serbian citizens. It is a significant step towards establishing closer ties we talked about. They are very interested in the southeastern European market and they proved today their wish to further the economic cooperation,” he said.

Jeremić, on his way back from Beijing as a part of Serbia's diplomatic offensive to provide wider support for the ICJ initiative, will travel from Malaysia to Singapore tomorrow.