Kosovo looks towards a relationship with the UN, despite warnings that domestic issues need to be solved first.
By Muhamet Brajshori for Southeast European Times in Pristina -- 29/01/13
Some believe that Kosovo should apply to become an UN observer member state. [UN]
Since declaring independence five years ago, Kosovo has secured recognition from 98 countries worldwide, including about 50 percent of UN member countries. The government has turned its focus to garnering recognitions from northern Africa and other Islamic countries, as well as to advancing its relationship with the UN despite warnings that the timing could end up hindering the country.
Some officials and experts said that the country should wait to foster its UN relationship until Russia and China do not threaten to use their veto powers against Pristina, while others said Kosovo should apply to become an observer member state.
Skender Hyseni, former foreign minister and current MP, told SETimes that it would be a strategic mistake for Kosovo to apply for UN observer status.
"It is better not to join [the UN] for 10 or 15 years, rather than to join earlier as an observer, because Kosovo [would] be thrown into the group of those countries with a halved identity," Hyseni said.
Kosovo's membership to the UN depends mostly on the position of the permanent members of the Security Council, he said.
"Even if [Kosovo] had 190 recognitions …Russia and China still technically have the opportunity to block the membership process," Hyseni said.
Fisnik Gashi, a researcher at the Institute for Political and European Studies, told SETimes that Kosovo must avoid any action that would spark a negative response by the UN Security Council.
"The diplomacy of Kosovo should work in two areas: increasing the number of recognitions and enhancing co-operation with countries with veto power in the UN Security Council," Gashi said.
Hyseni said the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs a foreign policy strategy.
"I say with regret that in the field of recognition for Kosovo, Kosovo's diplomacy in the past two years … was close to failure," Hyseni said.
But Foreign Minister Enver Hoxha disagreed.
"During the year, the foreign ministry had a measurable agenda," he told reporters. "Based on this agenda we made maximum effort throughout the year to present the national interest of Kosovo, to present our political interests, economic and cultural life in every part of the world and of course to represent the interests of the citizens of Kosovo."
Gashi said that Kosovo's actions in international politics will depend very much on domestic developments.
"I think that Kosovo should focus on creating a functional state, stable and sustainable in all areas, and to use all these achievements to get support for integration processes and its membership in different mechanisms," Goshi said.
Albin Kurti, leader of Vetvendosje and chairman of Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, agreed. "The more [the foreign ministry] was focused on participation in international organisations and forums, [we were] left without the keyword 'republic'," Kurti told SETimes.
International officials have also weighed in to the debate.
German Ambassador to Serbia Heinz Wilhelm said Kosovo's UN membership is one of the issues that should be discussed in Brussels.
"The issue is very important to us but I cannot say at the moment if it is going to be crucial for the granting of the date. We will first wait for a decision of the European Commission and [EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs] Catherine Ashton on the progress in dialogue," Wilhelm told Belgrade-based B92.