The International Olympic Committee granted Wednesday a provisional recognition to the Kosovo Olympic Committee, six-and-a-half years after Kosovo declared independence from Serbia.

The committee said in a statement that the executive board proposed the Kosovo Olympic Committee to be granted full recognition at its next session to be held in December in Monaco.

The committee said it would allow Kosovo athletes to take part in qualifications for the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and in future editions of the games.

Kosovo Prime Minister Hashim Thaci commented on his official Facebook page that "this is the dream of many generations of athletes in Kosovo and we today thank those who have kept the Olympic spirit during the most difficult times."

The executive board noted the Kosovo Olympic Committee, which has more than 30 affiliated national federations, met the requirements for recognition as outlined in the Olympic charter.

"These include the sport and technical requirements as well as the definition of ‘country’ as defined in Rule 30.1 -- an independent state recognized by the international community," it said.

Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in February 2008, is recognized as a country by 108 of the 193 UN member states, including the U.S., Germany, France, U.K., Italy and Turkey.

Anadolu Agency