Milos Zeman
© Reuters / David W Cerny
Czech President Milos Zeman (file photo)
Speaking in Serbia, the anti-mainstream Czech President Miloš Zeman said he'd like his goverment to withdraw recognition of the breakaway Kosovo province as an independent state. This has immediately attracted attention in the US.

Zeman expressed his Kosovo wish on Wednesday, during his official visit to Belgrade. He also said that he would discuss the issue with Czech lawmakers when he gets back to Prague.

The president would "ask the Czech government if it's possible to review the recognition of Kosovo," his spokesman Jiri Ovčaček wrote on Twitter.

Should Prague follow through on Zeman's desire, Czechia would become the first European country to withdraw the recognition of Kosovo, as well as the first EU and NATO member to do so.

This isn't the first time Zeman has bucked EU and NATO political consensus over an issue. His most notable departures include the migrant crisis and Ukraine, which he called a "mafia state."

It didn't take long for Zeman's comments to attract American attention. Dan Baer, US ambassador to the OSCE during the second Barack Obama administration, called the proposal "destabilizing" and added the US should privately tell the Czech president "what consequences will befall" him if he proceeds.


Kosovo has been under the control of an international peacekeeping force since a NATO war on Yugoslavia in 1999, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1244. Its provisional government declared independence from Serbia in 2008, and has been recognized by more than 100 countries, mostly US allies.

Since then, a number of nations have had second thoughts, with more than 10 countries formally revoking recognition.

Five EU countries - Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece and Romania - are among those who have refused to recognize Kosovo, in addition to Russia, China, and Serbia itself.