BERLIN (Reuters) - Kosovo has been granted provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee and could achieve full membership as early as December, the IOC said in a statement on Wednesday.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO went to war to halt the massacre and expulsion of Albanians by Serbian forces waging a two-year counter-insurgency under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.
Belgrade refuses to recognize Kosovo, saying the territory, which has a majority Albanian population, is a heartland of the Serbian nation.
(Corrects next month to December in first para)
(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; Editing by Ken Ferris)