Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov Saturday hailed a ruling of the International Court of Justice that Kosovo's independence declaration did not violate international law, saying that it ushers in a new period in Serbia-Kosovo relations.
In a statement released to media Mladenov says: "I welcome the Advisory Opinion and hope that it will lead to a new stage in the relationship between Serbia and Kosovo. The Court's Opinion does not affect Bulgaria's decision to recognise Kosovo's independence, on the contrary - it is a good reason for more states to recognise the newly independent country. The Opinion relates exclusively to Kosovo's specific situation after 1999 and should not be considered to set an international legal precedent.
Bulgaria calls on Belgrade and Pristina to begin a dialogue that would address specific problems related to the daily lives of their citizens. We have and will continue to develop good neighbourly relations both with Serbia as well as with Kosovo, and will continue to promote their European perspective.
Bulgaria supports and will continue to contribute to the development of democratic state institutions that guarantee Kosovo's multi-ethnic character.
We confirm that both Serbia and Kosovo, as well as the rest of the Western Balkans, have our full support for their European perspective. Its successful realisation however depends on the achievements of each country in the region. Bulgaria recently ratified Serbia's Stabilisation and Association Agreement, which is an important step on the European path of our neighbour.
Bulgaria understands the emotions that the Opinion has evoked in Serbia. We believe however that emotions should gradually be overcome and that both countries should quickly make up for the missed time and opportunities to attain their strategic objective - membership in the European Union. We expect that Belgrade and Pristina will, through dialogue and in the interests of peace, stability and cooperation in the region, bring their bilateral relations in line with the principles and values on which the EU was founded."