President Bush extended formal recognition Monday to Kosovo as "an independent and sovereign state," The Associated Press reports.
Bush, traveling in Africa, promised in a letter to the new nation's president, Fatmir Sejdiu, that "the United states will be your partner and your friend," according to the news service.
"In your request to establish diplomatic relations with the United States, you expressed Kosovo's desire to attain the highest standards of democracy and freedom," Bush wrote. "I fully welcome this sentiment. In particular, I support your embrace of multi-ethnicity as a principle of good governance and your commitment to developing accountable institutions in which all citizens are equal under the law."
The move to recognize Kosovo, a former Serbian province, drew protests from Serbia, Russia and China. It appears communism is alive and well in at least a few places on the globe.
Russia and its Serbian puppet don't want any other territories formerly under communist occupation to get get ideas about independence. China has that Taiwan problem that is still unresolved.
Most European Union nations also recognized Kosovo on Monday.
U.S. officials noted that nearly 17,000 NATO troops are stationed in Kosovo, including 1,600 U.S. soldiers, so it's unlikely the Serbs can do much more than protest Kosovo's independence.