Seven countries have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo's independence amid an impasse over border rules with the Balkan country, Serbia's president claimed on Saturday without naming them, as with an earlier allegation.
Addressing a news conference in the capital Belgrade, Aleksandar Vucic said the representatives of Pristina worked actively to ensure that some large countries in Africa and Asia recognize the independence of Kosovo.
"Belgrade didn't sit idly by either, so now the number of the countries that have withdrawn their recognition has increased from four to seven," said Vucic.
He also commented on the recent remarks of the US Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, who, in an interview with local media, said: "I think we have to forget the narrative that Kosovo is Serbia and move to the one that Kosovo and Serbia are actually Europe."
The Serbian leader defied his remarks, saying: "As president, I neither can nor want to forget that Kosovo is Serbia. But we are talking about a fair man who represents American politics. What do you expect from him? Is this something new? Well, that's what they (from the US) have been telling us for 23 years."
In May, Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said four countries had withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo's independence.
The countries' names, he said, would be announced when it was necessary.
Earlier this month, Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti took part in talks chaired by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, aimed at defusing tensions over Kosovo's plans to make it mandatory for everyone in Kosovo, including Serbs living in the north, to have a Kosovar ID card and license plate. Implementation of the new policy was postponed until next Thursday.
Vucic objects to Kosovo's application for European membership
Kosovo in May applied for official membership in the Council of Europe, an international organization of 46 member states to promote democracy and protect human rights and the rule of law in Europe.
However, Vucic accused Pristina of violating the Washington Treaty, Brussels Treaty, and UN Security Council Resolution 1244 by taking this step.
The Serbian president said the major Western countries were behind this application and Belgrade would do everything to politically respond to it.
The exclusion of Russia from the organization after its war on Ukraine boosted Kosovo's prospects to apply for the council membership.
Support from two-thirds of the member states of the organization, all of which recognize Kosovo in the absence of Russia, will allow the Western Balkan country to become a member.
Kosovo, which is predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared its independence in 2008. Serbia has not recognized it and continues to lay claim to the territory. Kosovo also aims to achieve full EU membership.
Serbia, Russia and China are among the countries which have yet to recognize Kosovo's independence.