Olympics: IOC has no concerns over Kosovo recognition

Thu Oct 23, 2014 10:03am EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - The International Olympic Committee's provisional recognition of Kosovo will not have political consequences despite Serbia lodging an official protest, IOC President Thomas Bach said on Thursday.

The IOC on Wednesday surprisingly announced its recognition of the Balkan region with full membership set to follow in December.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after a NATO air war to halt the massacre and expulsion of ethnic Albanians by Serbian forces waging a two-year counter-insurgency under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Belgrade rejects sovereignty for its former southern province, which has a majority Albanian population, and has attempted to block Kosovo's international recognition.

Serbia's position has been backed most notably by Russia and China.

"There will be different degrees of happiness in different parts of the world, that's for sure," Bach said in a conference call on Thursday.

"There are no concerns because we have had broad consultations for some time concerning this issue and the autonomy of the IOC is widely acknowledged."

"By taking that decision we have just applied the Olympic Charter. I am not worried about these kinds of reactions."   Continued...

International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Thomas Bach delivers a speech during the closing ceremony of the 2014 Nanjing Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, Jiangsu province August 28, 2014. REUTERS/Aly Song