BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Czech President Milos Zeman dislikes Kosovo, a former Serbian province whose declaration of independence Serbia does not recognize.
As he landed in the Serbian capital of Belgrade on Tuesday, greeted by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Zeman said in English:”I like Serbia and Serbian people.” He then added in a lower voice: “And I dislike Kosovo.”
Vucic responded with “Thank you.”
The Czech Republic is among 23 European Union nations that have recognized the independence of the former Serbian province of Kosovo after it split from Serbia in 2008 following a bloody war in 1998-99 that ended with NATO air strikes. The U.S. also backs Kosovo’s statehood, while Russia and China have sided with Serbia and refused to recognize it.
The 74-year-old Czech president is known for his offensive statements and diplomatic gaffes.