The EU's Javier Solana has welcomed the decision by Macedonia and Kosovo to settled a long-running border dispute. It paves the way for the two Balkan countries to establish full diplomatic ties. Parliamentarians in Kosovo and Macedonia on Saturday ratified an agreement ending an eight-year dispute over a border region that was used by Albanian guerrillas during Macedonia's rebel Albanian insurgency in 2001. The deal demarcating the 150-kilometer frontier comes after months of negotiations under the auspices of the European Union and the United States.
Details of the agreement were not immediately available, but Kosovo's Prime Minister Hashim Thaci said that it respected "the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and the peaceful settlement of disputes."He also said the deal would make it easier for Kosovans who own land in Macedonian territory to cross the border.
Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski said the agreement would bring greater stability to the region. "I'm deeply convinced that this is a great success for Macedonia, because we are closing the border issue that for years nobody could solve," Gruevski said.
Javier Solana, the EU's foreign policy representative, hailed the agreement as a "a welcome sign of maturity, responsibility and mutual respect." Sweden, which currently holds the EU presidency, welcomed the news as "an encouraging sign of responsibility and maturity" in the relationship between the two governments.
Macedonia recognized Kosovo's independence in 2008, but refused to establish diplomatic relations with the new state before a satsifactory agreement was reached to resolve the border dispute. (Deutsche Welle).