US, Germany Agree to Recognize Kosovo After Serbia Elections

They will try to get rest of Europe to follow, officials say

The United States and Germany have agreed to recognize Kosovo and get the rest of Europe to follow suit after the province declares independence following the Serbian elections next month, according to senior European Union diplomats close to negotiations over the future of Kosovo.

In a recent conversation about the future of Kosovo, EU officials said President Bush and Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had agreed it was imperative to secure the stability of the western Balkans by coordinating the recognition of Kosovo after the second round of Serbian elections planned for Feb. 3.They said Washington was aggressively pressing the EU to ensure that the recognition of Kosovo was not delayed by even a week.