Kenya’s move toward recognizing Kosovo gained momentum earlier this year when it officially recognized Kosovan passports in March
Kenya has expressed its readiness to recognize Kosovo, a breakaway state in Southeast Europe.
Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua made this announcement during a press briefing in Nairobi, confirming that discussions are underway for Kenya to fully recognize Kosovo’s independence.
This announcement comes on the heels of President William Ruto’s meeting with Kosovan leader Vjosa Osmani during the recent United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.
Kenya’s move toward recognizing Kosovo gained momentum earlier this year when it officially recognized Kosovan passports in March. While this development was not widely publicized at the time, it marked a pivotal step in formalizing diplomatic ties between Kenya and the Balkan nation.
Minister Mutua confirmed upcoming visit by Kosovo’s Osmani to discuss recognition.
During the UNGA in New York, President Ruto and President Osmani engaged in a cordial meeting, exchanging pleasantries and expressing their shared commitment to resolving the Kosovo-Serbia conflict.
President Osmani conveyed her gratitude to the Kenyan leader for agreeing to meet her, citing an earlier encounter in London. President Ruto welcomed her warmly and expressed his optimism about finding a mutually beneficial solution for both Kosovo and Serbia.
Kenya’s steadfast support for this diplomatic effort was reiterated during this meeting.
While these diplomatic moves have raised eyebrows in Belgrade, with Serbian officials expressing their discontent, President Ruto seems to be signaling a subtle shift in Kenya’s policy towards Kosovo.
During his stay in New York, President Ruto also met with Kosovo’s former President and Foreign Minister, Behgjet Pacolli. According to Pacolli, President Ruto played a pivotal role in helping him gain access to high-level delegations and heads of state from various countries.
This access was instrumental in Pacolli’s efforts to garner international recognition for Kosovo.
Diplomatic sources, speaking confidentially to Kenyan Foreign Policy, revealed that Pacolli utilized Kenya’s United Nations Mission offices in New York during some of his meetings with foreign delegations. The billionaire Kosovan politician confirmed this information on his official Facebook page.
This recent turn of events suggests that Kenya is on the path to recognizing Kosovo as a sovereign state.
Kosovo declared independence 15 years ago from Serbia.
Serbia does not recognise Kosovo’s statehood. Neither does Russia, China and five European Union countries – Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania and Greece, which have halted its path to EU membership.
Russia, an ally of Serbia, has vetoed Kosovo’s membership at the United Nations.
Where is Kosovo?
Kosovo is a country in southeastern Europe bordered by Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. It has a population of 1.9 million people, with ethnic Albanians accounting for 93% of the population and Serbs accounting for around 6%.
The remainder are Turks, Bosniaks, Roma, and Goranis, a Slavic Muslim ethnic minority.
Following the disintegration of Yugoslavia, Kosovo sought its own independence. Serbia, on the other hand, cracked down on ethnic Albanians seeking independence, prompting a NATO intervention against Serbia in 1999. Serbian forces subsequently withdrew from Kosovo.
In 2022, a dispute over automobile licence plates escalated into bloodshed.
Kosovo wanted anybody entering the country with Serbian identity to exchange it for a temporary document, and it planned for Serbian drivers to show Kosovo number plates on their vehicles.
Western governments are pushing for a peace deal between Kosovo and Serbia to end tensions, but critics say the proposal is flawed because it fails to address mutual recognition between the two republics.
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