Serbia claims 9 countries withdrew recognition of Kosovo

Difficult challenges ahead of us as far as Kosovo is concerned, says Aleksandar Vucic

Talha Ozturk  | 04.01.2023 - Update : 04.01.2023
Serbia claims 9 countries withdrew recognition of Kosovo


Nine countries have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo's independence, Serbia's president claimed on Wednesday.

"We are small, but as things stand in the world, as many as 106 countries do not recognize the independence of Kosovo. Nine of them have withdrawn their recognition: Somalia, Burkina Faso, Gabon, Eswatini, Libya, Guinea, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia, Maldives," Aleksandar Vucic said in his annual address in the capital Belgrade.

"We are waiting for the 10th. A total of 94 unequivocally recognize, three countries are not clear," he said, adding that challenges on Kosovo will remain in 2023.

"There are difficult challenges ahead of us as far as Kosovo is concerned. We have barely preserved the peace ... we have not made a single unilateral move ...," he added.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared independence in 2008. It aspires to EU membership and aims to gain a visa-free regime for the EU zone.

But Serbia has not recognized Kosovo’s independence and sees its former province as its territory.

Kosovo is also not a member of NATO or the UN.

Serbia objects Kosovo's application to international organizations, claiming that the move violates the Washington Treaty, Brussels Treaty and UN Security Council Resolution 1244.

In 2020, Serbian and Kosovar leaders met in a US-sponsored two-day dialogue in Washington where they agreed to normalize economic ties.

Both sides agreed to freeze diplomatic recognition/de-recognition campaigns.

Recent tensions have appeared to ease following a decision to remove barricades blocking the main border crossing.

Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo began erecting the blocks on Dec. 10 in protest of ex-police officer Dejan Pantic's arrest.

Earlier, there was a row over number plates. The government in Pristina demanded that ethnic Serbs surrender the Serbian-issued vehicle license plates, and replace them with plates issued by Kosovo.

Vucic announces end of mandate

Vucic said he will not change the Constitution of Serbia to stand for another term, adding that he will also be no longer head his political party, the Serbian Progressive Party.

"This is my last mandate, I'm not going to change the Constitution, nothing like that ... In the first half of next year, I won't even be the president of my political party," he said.

Vucic won a landslide victory in general election last April, his second five-year term.

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