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Serbia’s aggressive campaign to deny Kosova’s existence

According to information on the official website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 117 nations throughout the world have recognized Kosova as a sovereign and independent state since its declaration of independence on February 17, 2008. On the other hand Serbia has never stopped trying to discredit Kosova’s citizenship; on the contrary, it gets more active every time. Serbia has never stopped trying to discredit Kosova’s Independence; on the contrary, it gets more active every time. 

After ongoing tensions between the two countries in recent years, Serbia has often threatened to invade Kosova. Recently, Serbian president Alexandar Vucic, tried to use a “courtesy” card by requesting that the NATO peacekeeping organization, KFOR, permit the entry of around onethousand Serbian military troops into Kosova’s territory, north of Mitrovica, in order to (as Vucic had claimed) uphold the peace in this zone. Although KFOR dramatized for nearly two months before eventually responding negatively to the official Belgrade’s request for the deployment of Serbian military forces in Kosova. In fact, nobody expected another response from the NATO-led multinational peacekeeping force in Kosova, which in July 1999 successfully drove the Serbian army from the territory of Kosova, to stop the Serbian genocide that was taking place in Kosova at that time. 

Serbia lately has resumed an aggressive campaign against the recognition of Kosova after the situation in the north temporarily calmed down with the removal of the barricades. This campaign had actually been in progress since 2017, when Kosova refused to carry out the creation of the Association of Municipalities with a Serbian majority.

The Serbian government has claimed that 27 countries have stopped recognizing Kosova since its declaration of independence in 2008. At the beginning of January, Serbian President Alaksandar Vucic asserted that nine nations had already revoked their recognition for Kosova; these nations included Somalia, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Eswatini, Libya, Guinea, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, and the Maldives; a tenth was anticipated to follow, according to Vucic. Although Serbia continuously campaigns with fake news and such propaganda, a de-recognition act for Kosova was recently seized by Togo, a country in West Africa, through its Foreign Minister, during a meeting with his counterpart from Serbia, Ivica Dacic. 

Withdrawing recognition from one state to another may occur for a number of reasons, such as when a state joins another or loses territory, when international law is broken, or as a result of changes in the political environment. De-recognitions for Kosova, however, are taking place as a result of Serbia’s strong advocacy and sponsorship, none of which have yet occurred. Economically weak countries are mainly targeted, so practically Serbia is buying de-recognition of Kosova.

On the other hand, Kosovar diplomats have been enlisted to defend Kosova from de-recognition or even to combat Serbia’s fabrication of the de-recognition of Kosova, by publishing meetings with the representatives of the supposed de-recognizing countries that Vucic named. 

Considering that its foreign policy has been slow in recent years, Kosova will undoubtedly experience negative consequences as a result of the non-recognition issue, even if it is merely a fabrication of Serbia. Serbia’s blackmail campaign against Kosova may have repercussions on the diplomatic level and Kosova integration because the tendency of non-recognition may deepen and, as a result, may have implications in other political, security and economic aspects. Kosovar diplomacy unfortunately does not seem to be at the right level, it is needed a concrete plan against Serbia’s campaign to undermine Kosova statehood. In order to increase the recognition of Kosova’s independence, diplomatic efforts, planning, and lobbying must be intensified. Israel is the last country who recognized Kosova, two years ago, as part of the Washington agreement of September 4, 2020, which deals with the normalization of economic relations between Kosova and Serbia. There have been no indications of new recognition since then for Kosova. Additionally, five EU members—Spain, Romania, Slovakia, Greece, and Cyprus—have not yet acknowledged Kosova’s independence. Their refusal to do so has influenced and continues to influence Kosova’s road toward integration.