Radio Free Europe on the 'Russian connection' in Kosovo recognition withdrawal

So far, 13 states had decided to revoke Kosovo's independence recognition, claims Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Source: Radio Free Europe
Foto: EPA-EFE / Valdrin Xhemaj
Foto: EPA-EFE / Valdrin Xhemaj

Those are the following countries: São Tomé and Príncipe, Surinam, Guinea-Bissau, Burundi, Liberia, Papua New Guinea, Lesotho, Commonwealth Dominica, Grenada, Union of Comoros, the Solomon Islands, Madagascar and Palau for which the Ministry submitted to the Radio Free Europe (RFE) copies of diplomatic notes in which they inform the Ministry on their decision.

After some of the states addressed the note on revoking Kosovo's recognition, Serbian Government brought decisions on abolishing visas for their citizens, "Radio Free Europe" states.

With the six out of total 13 states, according to RFE findings - Russian Federation also signed bilateral agreements, unlike Serbia, prior to their withdrawal of Kosovo's independence recognition.

Did Russia take part in the Serbian campaign of recognition withdrawal and in what way?

According to the publicly available information on the official webpage of the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Serbian Government had abolished visas for the citizens of Surinam, Burundi, Commonwealth Dominica, Grenada and Palau, while it signed cooperation agreement with Lesotho in the field of agriculture.

The decisions on visas were brought after those countries had revoked Kosovo's recognition. According to RFE findings, with the insight into official documents, Russian Federation had signed agreements on bilateral cooperation with Surinam, Burundi, Commonwealth Dominica, Grenada, Madagascar and Palau prior to their allegedly revoking Kosovo's independence recognition.

In the case of Burundi, for instance, Russia had signed agreement on visa abolishing on February 6, 2018, while 9 days later, on February 15, 2018, Burundi informed Serbian Foreign Affairs Ministry on its decision to withdraw Kosovo's recognition.

RFE had addressed the official institutions of the countries in question asking them what was the basis for their decision to revoke Kosovo recognition, and whether Russian Federation played any role in this process. The only response we got so far was from the President's Office of Commonwealth Dominica. In an email submitted to RFE, it is written that President of Commonwealth Dominica is not entitled to respond to this question.

Vice President of Serbian Government and Foreign Affairs Chief Ivica Dacic denies any role of Russia in the withdrawal of Kosovo recognition. When asked by RFE what role the Russian played in Serbia's campaign for Kosovo recognition withdrawal, Dacic said on July 22, 2019, in addressing journalists, immediately preceding the session of the Main Committee of the Socialist Party of Serbia he chairs:

"I believe that those are just rumors. No one assisted us, we had done it on our own, and we will continue to do so, and if someone helps us along the way, we are grateful. I would like to know who it was".

Out of still 28 European Union member states, five – Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia – refused to recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

Kosovo declared its independence on February 17, 2008. In the first year since its declaration of independence, Kosovo was recognized by 54 states, while Pristina today claims that 117 countries recognized Kosovo's independence.


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