Croatia Supports Kosovo’s Accession to International Institutions

Total Croatia News

ZAGREB, March 14, 2018 – Croatia wants Kosovo to join Interpol and UNESCO as soon as possible, Foreign Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said in Priština on Wednesday, supporting the international affirmation of Europe’s youngest state.

Kosovo’s independence, declared in 2008 after a war between ethnic Albanian guerrillas and Serbian forces, has been recognised by more than 110 countries, including the US and a majority of European Union member states such as Croatia. But Serbia is trying to prevent the accession of its former southern province to international organisations with the support of allies Russia and China.

Croatia is a friend of Kosovo “and friends are necessary in all branches, notably when a state and its international status are being built,” said Pejčinović Burić. “We support Kosovo in all multilateral organisations which it has not joined for reasons known, first and foremost Interpol and UNESCO,” she said after talks with Kosovo Foreign Minister Badxet Pacoli.

“We advocate that Kosovo should join these organisations as soon as possible. Full participation in international political forums will strengthen Kosovo as a state and enable it to assume all the functions of a modern state,” she added.

Speaking of Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, key for their Euro-Atlantic integration, Pejčinović Burić recalled Brussels’ position that the dialogue must conclude with a legally binding agreement. “I stress, if an agreement is not sustainable, then it’s better that there’s no agreement. There must be an agreement which both sides can accept.”

She said that Croatia, as the newest EU member state, would continue to lobby for Kosovo’s European perspective, including visa abolition for Kosovars. “The physical restrictions which come because of the visa regime prevent young people and businesses to achieve their and Kosovo’s potential.”

The two ministers also talked about the status of the Croat minority in Kosovo, which has shrunk dramatically since the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. Only 230 Croats remain in Janjevo and 50 in Letnica, whereas 8,800 lived in Kosovo in 1991.

Unlike Croats in Kosovo, the Albanian minority in Croatia is represented in parliament and is even part of the ruling coalition. “We would like the status of the Croat minority to be improved,” Pejčinović Burić said, adding that Pacoli had vowed that the Kosovo government would work on that.

They also talked about boosting economic cooperation, notably in energy, the defence industry, transport, railway upgrade and telecommunications.


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