Central and Eastern Europe

20th anniversary of the liberation of Kosovo and NATO/KFOR’s entry

This year Kosovo celebrates 20th anniversary of the liberation of its country and NATO/KFOR’s entry.

The Kosovo Force (KFOR) – NATO-led peacekeeping force responsible for establishing a safe and secure environment in Kosovo entered Kosovo on 11 June 1999.

At the time, Kosovo was facing a grave humanitarian crisis,military forces from Yugoslavia fighting against the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). Kosovo’s 1998-99 armed resistance ended after a 78-day air strike campaign from NATO against Serbia.

The KFOR has gradually transferred responsibilities to the Kosovo Police and other local authorities. As of February 2019, 28 states contribute to the KFOR, with a combined strength of more than 3,500 military and civilian personnel.

In 2008, Kosovo declared independence from Serbia, which has been recognized by 117 countries, including the United States, but not by Serbia or Russia.Kosovo celebrates Anniversary of its Independence on February 17th being the youngest country in Europe.

Independence of Kosovo came at a huge cost: a systematic campaign of terror, including murders, rapes, arsons and severe maltreatments. The Kosovo War led to 13,500 deaths or people missing, displacement of between 1.2 million to 1.45 people.

Kosovo declaration of independence was adopted on 17 February 2008 by the Assembly of Kosovo. In a meeting attended by 109 of the total 120 members, the assembly unanimously declared Kosovo to be independent from Serbia. All 11 representatives of the Serb minority boycotted the proceedings.

Kosovo has been recognised by the United States and major European Union countries. Serbia which is backed up  by Russia, refuses to recognise it. Although Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as an independent country, in accordance with the Brussels Agreement (19 April 2013) has to begin normalise relations with Kosovo.

So far Kosovo has been recognised by 115 countries as an independent state, of which one has withdrawn (Suriname). 111 out of 193 (57.5%) United Nations member states, 23 out of 28 (82%) European Union member states ( Cyprus, Greece, Slovakia, Spain and Romania do not recognize Kosovo as an independent country),  25 out of 29 (86%) NATO member states, and 36 out of 57 (63%) Organisation of Islamic Cooperation member states have recognised Kosovo.

Kosovo is not yet member of the United Nations, EU and NATO.

Since becoming an independent country it has become a member of the international institutions such as the International Monetary Fund IMF (since 29 June 2009 ), World Bank (since 29 June 2009 ), World Customs Organization (since 3 March 2017), The International Road Transport Union (IRU) (since May 2009), The International Bar Association (IBA)  (since 28 May 2009), International Olympic Committee IOC (since 9 December 2014), Union of European Football Associations UEFA (since 2016), The Fédération Internationale de Football Association FIFA (since 13th of May 2016), and many other international sports organisations including The International Orienteering Federation (IOF). Kosovo has also signed the first Stabilisation and Association Agreement with EU.(read more here: Kosovo-EU_SAA_Final_2 (1)  
or here: http://www.kryeministri-ks.net/repository/docs/Kosovo-EU_SAA_Final_2.pdf)

In June 2014, Kosovo became a member state of the Venice Commission, an advisory body of the Council of Europe.

Source: Embassy of the Republic of Kosovo in the Hague, Website of the Office of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, BBC country profile, Wikipedia

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