The Czech Foreign Ministry says the government has recognized Kosovo as an independent state.

The ministry says in a statement that the government approved the move Wednesday. It says the Czech Republic believes recognition of Kosovo will help stabilize the region.

The United States and many European Union countries have already recognized Kosovo's Feb. 17 declaration of independence from Serbia.

Czech leaders had indicated the country would recognize Kosovo at some point — but not too soon after the declaration of independence, because the Czech Republic did not want to harm its relations with Serbia.