By K. Kaan Renda and Ozgur Tufekci | 03 October 2010
In this exclusive interview with CESRAN’s K. Kaan Renda and Ozgur Tufekci, Dr. Muhamet Hamiti, the first Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the UK, discusses Kosovo’s independence process, its role in the Balkans and international system, its past and future, and the relationships with Serbia, European countries, and Turkey.
CESRAN: Let me start with the first question. Actually, it is a very cliché question you have probably been asked many times. It is about the international recognition of Kosovo.
Seemingly, the main international political priority of Kosovo is to be recognised by other states. In fact, Kosovo virtually reached a certain level of success on this issue. Nonetheless, there are still a number of states resisting the recognition. What do you think the main biases and hesitations of some states not to recognize Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state in the Balkans?
Dr. Hamiti: Well. The process of recognition started immediately after we declared our independence. 70 countries that have recognized Kosovo to this day [14 September 2010; the latest one being Honduras which recognized Kosovo earlier in September] amount to more or less two thirds or perhaps 70 percent of the GDP of the world. 22 out of 27 EU countries have recognized us. 7 out of the G8 countries have recognized us. We have obtained recognitions from all continents. The internal dynamics of each and every nation, of course, has an impact in the process of recognitions. The initial stage of recognitions was, of course, more intensive because it was about the countries that saw in Kosovo the birth of a nation in its own right as a sui generis case, which indeed Kosovo is. And the 70 recognitions that we have received have been made on the basis of this. Now some countries have got their own reasons for either taking longer to review the request and take a decision, which I believe is the case with most of the countries, or simply have their own concerns, apprehensions for a few. Russia’s earlier opposition to Kosovo’s independence is easing. Kosovo has embraced the world and the world is almost universally reciprocating by welcoming Kosovo in its fold.
Let me conclude this answer by saying that an important UN body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) has legitimised Kosovo’s independence. In an opinion the ICJ rendered on 22 July 2010, it said Kosovo’s declaration of independence did not violate international law or indeed any UN related document. The ICJ ruled at the request of Serbia and indeed the UN General Assembly, which had referred the matter of Kosovo’s declaration of independence to the top judicial body of the UN.
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* Published in the Third Issue of Political Reflection Magazine (PR).