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Kosovo's Independence Recognized By 74th Country

West Africa's Guinea-Bissau has become the 74th country to recognize Kosovo's independence, RFE/RL's Balkan Service reports.

Kosovar acting Foreign Minister Vlora Citaku confirmed the information to RFE/RL on January 13.

Guinea-Bissau is the second country to recognize Kosovo in 2011, with Qatar having done so on January 4.

The two early recognitions for Kosovo are in contrast to 2010, when only eight countries recognized the former Serbian region.

The low number of recognitions was despite a ruling by The Hague-based International Court of Justice in July that Kosovo's 2008 declaration of independence did not violate international law.

But only three countries recognized Kosovo after the July 22 court ruling, in what was viewed as a disappointment for Kosovar diplomacy.

Kosovo declared independence on February 17, 2008. The United States, Japan, Canada, and 22 European Union states are among the countries to have recognized Kosovo.

Guinea-Bissau's decision comes amid a political crisis in Kosovo as it goes through a long series of repeat votes as a result of fraud accusations during snap elections on December 12.

Additionally, Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci is facing accusations that he was involved in organ and drug trafficking. A report on the issue by Council of Europe member Dick Marty will be discussed at the Council of Europe in Strasbourg on January 25.