Washington, DC -- In response to the U.S. Goverment's officially recognizing Kosova's newly independent status today, Acting Chairman Howard Berman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee issued the following statement:

“I support the Administration’s announcement that the United States will extend full diplomatic recognition to the independent state of Kosova. I am proud to welcome this new member into the community of sovereign states, and I congratulate the people of Kosova on this historic day.

“Now the hard work begins. Much remains to be done to ensure that Kosova’s transition is successful. The challenges ahead include tackling high unemployment and bolstering the country’s weak economy, strengthening political institutions and the rule of law, and preserving security throughout the region. Kosovar leaders must be tireless in their efforts to ensure that the country remains safe and hospitable for all citizens, including the Serbian minority population. The United States should remain fully engaged in ongoing efforts by the international community to facilitate the economic and political development of Kosova.

“I also recognize that today is painful for many in Serbia. I call on the government there to respond in the way a sovereign and respected nation would to this resolution of Kosova’s status. My strong wish is that the Serbian people will remain focused on achieving a prosperous future in the Euro-Atlantic community.”