Checking facebook this morning I saw many friends had posted about Kosovo having some sort of anniversary. Kosovo means a lot to Albanians because even though Kosovo and Albania are different countries, Kosovars are ethnic Albanians. I had no idea what may have happened 5 years ago considering that the war there between NATO and Yugoslavia/Serbia ended 14 years ago in 1999. So, I looked it up.
Today, February 17th 2012, is the 5th anniversary of when negotiations broke down between the USA, Russia, Serbia, and NATO regarding Kosovo’s political self-determination (vetevendosje) after the 1998-1999 war. As a result, the national assembly of Kosovo passed a declaration of independence without the approval of Serbia or Russia.The declaration of independence was recognized the next day by the USA, France, Albania, the UK, and a few others countries. This declaration was recognized by the UN as legitimate some years later, however Kosovo remains to this day without a seat in the UN because of Russia’s veto.
Thus started the divide between countries that do and don’t recognize Kosovo. It always makes the news here that a country, however important, has recognized Kosovo. 98 out of 193 UN member states have recognized Kosovo since February 18th 2008.
The countries that refuse to recognize Kosovo are an interesting mix. Some wont because they have their own secessionist movements they want to suppress, such as Spain. Others are cold war enemies such as Cuba and Former USSR. And then there is Serbia who still considers Kosovo to be a part of Serbia.
To be honest I really didn’t know anything about Albania and much less Kosovo until I moved to Albania. The opportunity to live and work here has been an amazing opportunity to learn the culture, language, and history of another part of the world. Sometimes I wonder if Peace Corps volunteers are the main beneficiary of the program because of this experience.
If you want to know how to pronounce “Kosovo” correctly check out his grammar post about Kosovo