International reaction to the 2008 declaration of independence by Kosovo

International reaction to the 2008 declaration of independence by Kosovo

Kosovo's declaration of independence from Serbia was enacted on 17 February 2008 by a unanimous quorum fact of the Kosovar Parliament, with 109 in favour and 0 in opposition, but all 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings. [cite web | url= | title=Transcript: NGA SEANCA PLENARE E JASHTËZAKONSHME SOLEMNE E KUVENDIT TË KOSOVËS ME RASTIN E SHPALLJES SË PAVARËSISË, TË MBAJTUR MË 17 SHKURT 2008 | publisher=Republika e Kosovës Kuvendi – Republika Kosova Skupština – Republic of Kosovo Assembly | work=Legjislatura III | location=Pristina | language=Albanian | date=2008-02-17 | accessdate=2008-10-12 ]

On 27 February 2008, Germany became the first country to formalise its recognition of Kosovo by renaming its diplomatic office in Pristina as an embassy and on 8 March 2008, the Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt became the first foreign minister to officially visit Kosovo since it declared its independence. [ [ Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt to visit Kosovo and Macedonia] , Ministry for Foreign Affairs, 6 March 2008.]

Current state

As of 9 October 2008, 50 out of 192 sovereign United Nations member states have formally recognised the Republic of Kosovo. Notably, a majority of European Union member states have formally recognised Kosovo (22 out of 27); EU member states decide individually whether to recognise Kosovo, whereas the EU has commissioned the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) to ensure peace and continued external oversight. 22 out of 26 NATO member states, and both acceding member states, have recognised Kosovo. Of its neighbours, only Serbia refuses to recognise it. As of 9 October 2008, Albania, Montenegro and the Republic of Macedonia have all recognised the independence of Kosovo, and all accept the Kosovan passport, which Serbia refuses.cite web | url= | title= Kosovo receives recognition boost | work=Official website | publisher=BBC | year=2008 | accessdate=2008-10-10 | language=English ]

A UN resolution adopted 8 October 2008 backed (with 77 votes for out of a possible 192) the request of Serbia to seek an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on "the legality of Kosovo's independence."

A number of states expressed concern over the unilateral character of Kosovo's declaration, or announced explicitly that they will not recognise an independent Kosovo. The UN Security Council remains divided on this issue: of its five members with veto power, three (the United States, United Kingdom, France) have recognised the declaration of independence, while the People's Republic of China has expressed concern, urging the continuation of previous negotiation framework. Russia has rejected the declaration and considers it illegal. [cite news|url=|title=Kosovo breakaway illegal, says Putin|The Guardian|date=2008-02-15|accessdate=2008-03-18] On 15 May 2008, Russia, China, and India released a joint statement where they called for new negotiations between the authorities of Belgrade and Pristina.cite news|title= Russia, India, China urge resumption of Kosovo talks|publisher=Xinhua|url=|date=2008-05-15|accessdate=2008-06-19]

Due to the ongoing dispute in the UN Security Council, the planned reconfiguration of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) and partial handover to the EULEX mission met with difficulties. In spite of Russian and Serbian protests, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proceeded with the reconfiguration plan. On 15 July 2008, he wrote in his quarterly report on the evolving situation in Kosovo: "In the light of the fact that the Security Council is unable to provide guidance, I have instructed my Special Representative to move forward with the reconfiguration of UNMIK ... in order to adapt UNMIK to a changed reality and address current and emerging operational requirements in Kosovo". According to the Secretary-General, the "United Nations has maintained a position of strict neutrality on the question of Kosovo's status". [cite news|title=UNSG Report on the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, 15 July 2008 (S/2008/458)|url=|publisher=United Nations|date=2008-07-18|accessdate=2008-07-18]

On 10 October 2008, former President of Finland Martti Ahtisaari received the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize "for his important efforts... to resolve international conflicts" [cite web |url= |title= The Nobel Peace Prize 2008 | |accessdate=2008-10-10] , including his work in Kosovo as a UN special envoy where he helped to develop the framework used to launch the declaration of independence, thus forming the basis for Kosovo's indpependence and EU integration.cite web | url= | title=Global troubleshooter Ahtisaari wins Nobel Peace Prize | date=2008-10-10 | accessdat=2008-10-10 | work=Agence France Press | ] cite web | url= | title=Peace Prize for Martti Ahtisaari, a lifelong diplomat | work=Los Angeles Times | author=Marjorie Miller and Henry Chu | date=2008-10-11 | accessdate=2008-10-11 | publisher=Seattle Times | location=Seattle ] The Nobel committee secretary Geir Lundestad said afterwards that the committee believed "there is no alternative to an independent Kosovo". The Ahtisaari plan, however, was not agreed to by Serbia and Russia, and his selection by the Nobel peace prize committee was criticized by Russian politician Vladimir Zhirinovsky: "He [Ahtisaari] destroyed Serbia. He is like Gorbachev, who destroyed the Soviet Union and received the peace prize. Now this Finn receives the prize for helping create a state within Serbia." [ cite web|url=|title=Russians slam Nobel choice of Ahtisaari|publisher=B92|date=2008-10-11|accessdate=2008-10-11]

Serbia's reaction

Serbia claims Kosovo as part of its sovereign territory.

Among its reactions, Serbia recalled its ambassadors from countries that recognised Kosovo for consultations for several months, indicted the Kosovar leaders on charges of high treason, and announced plans to litigate the case at the International Court of Justice. Serbia also expelled ambassadors from countries that recognised Kosovo after the vote in the United Nations General Assembly in which the initiative of Serbia to seek opinion of the International Court of Justice was accepted. [ [ "Serbia Expels Macedonia Envoy over Kosovo"] "" 10 October 2008 Link accessed 10/10/08] [ [ "Serbia Expels Montenegro Envoy over Kosovo"] "" 9 October 2008 Link accessed 10/10/08]

States which formally recognise Kosovo as independent

UN member states

Non-UN member states

Non-governmental organisations

International Court of Justice advisory opinion proceedings

On 26 March 2008, the Government of Serbia announced its plan to call on the International Court of Justice to advise on the declaration of Kosovo's secession.

On 15 August 2008, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremić officially filed a request at the United Nations seeking advisory opinion of the International Court of Justice. The United Nations General Assembly voted on this proposal on 8 September 2008. [ [ Serbia to go to ICJ over Kosovo] ] [ [ UN: Jeremić sutra zvanično predaje predlog rezolucije] ]

The text of the resolution filed in the UN (A/63/L.2) reads as follows [ [ A/63/L.2] ] ::Reflecting on the goals and principles of the UN, bearing in mind the functions and power in line with the UN Charter, we recall that on February 17, 2008 the provisional institutions of self-government of Kosovo proclaimed independence from the Republic of Serbia.

:Aware that this act was received differently by UN members in relation to its harmonisation with the existing legal order,

:We decide to request from the ICJ, in line with Article 96 of the UN Charter and Article 65 of the ICJ Statute, to give an advisory opinion on the following question:

:"Is the unilateral declaration of independence by provisional institutions of self-government in Kosovo in accordance with international law?"

The United Nations General Assembly officially adopted this proposal on 8 October 2008.

show|There were 77 votes in favour, 6 votes against and 74 abstentions, out of 192 possible. [cite news|url=|title=UN seeks World Court Kosovo view|publisher=BBC|date=2008-10-08|accessdate=2008-10-08] |The 77 countries that voted for the Serbian initiative were: Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Chile, China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, East Timor, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Fiji, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guyana, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mexico, Montenegro, Myanmar, Namibia, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, North Korea, Norway, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Philippines, Republic of the Congo, Romania, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Syria, Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vietnam, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The 6 countries that opposed the initiative were: Albania, Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Palau and the United States.

The 74 countries that abstained from voting were: Afghanistan, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Haiti, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Oman, Pakistan, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Vanuatu, and Yemen.

Representatives of 34 countries did not take part in the vote. These were: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burundi, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Côte d'Ivoire, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Iraq, Kiribati, Kuwait, Laos, Libya, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, São Tomé and Príncipe, Seychelles, Somalia, Tajikistan, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu and Venezuela.

Additionally, Liberia voted against the initiative, but due to technical reasons this vote wasn't counted. [cite web|url=|title=Backing Request by Serbia, General Assembly Decides to Seek International Court of Justice Ruling on Legality of Kosovo’s Independence|publisher=United Nations|date=2008-10-08|accessdate=2008-10-09] [cite news|url=|title=Velika diplomatska pobeda Srbije u UN|publisher=Blic|date=2008-10-09|accessdate=2008-10-09|language=Serbian]

See also

* 2008 post-declaration of independence unrest in Kosovo
* Controversy over Kosovo independence
* Diplomatic missions of Kosovo
* Foreign relations of Kosovo
* List of diplomatic missions in Kosovo
* List of unrecognised countries
* Membership of Kosovo in International Sports Federations
* International recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia independence

Notes and references

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