SKOPJE, Macedonia – Macedonia and Kosovo established diplomatic relations Sunday, hours after their respective parliaments ratified a deal that settles a border dispute between the two Balkan countries.
Macedonia's foreign ministry said in a press release that Macedonian Foreign Minister Antonio Milososki and his Kosovo counterpart Skender Hiseni signed a joint communique in which both countries pledge to "strengthen the friendly relations on the basis of mutual respect of the national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity".
The border deal, signed on Friday following months of negotiations, clearly demarcates the 93-mile frontier between Macedonia and Kosovo.
Macedonia recognized Kosovo's independence a year ago, but refused to establish diplomatic relations with the new state until the dispute was settled.
The border was initially demarcated between Macedonia and Yugoslavia in 2001, when Kosovo was under U.N. administration. At the time ethnic Albanians had set up roadblocks to protest the move.