Which countries recognize Kosovos statehood Al Jazeera English

Which countries recognize Kosovo’s statehood?

Kosovo declared itself a sovereign state 15 years ago. Which countries recognize it and how are its relations with Serbia today?

February 17 marks the 15th anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo’s statehood. Neither have Russia, China and five European Union countries – Spain, Slovakia, Cyprus, Romania and Greece, which have halted their path to EU membership.

Russia, an ally of Serbia, has vetoed Kosovo’s membership of the United Nations.

Where is Kosovo located?

Kosovo is a Southeastern European country bordering Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It has a population of 1.9 million people, and ethnic Albanians make up 93 percent of the population, while Serbs make up about 6 percent of the population.

The rest are Turks, Bosniaks, Roma and Gorani, who are a Slavic Muslim ethnic group.

history of independence

Kosovo was once part of Yugoslavia, which was formed in 1918 after World War I. It consisted of six Slavic groups and its official language was Serbo-Croatian.

After World War II, the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia was formed, a federation of six ethnically divided republics: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

In 1991 Slovenia and Croatia declared their independence. This marked the beginning of the breakup of Yugoslavia. Macedonia followed in 1992.

On March 1, 1992, Bosnia and Herzegovina held an independence referendum. The Bosnian Serbs wanted to remain part of Yugoslavia and boycotted the vote.

After the collapse of Yugoslavia, Kosovo sought its own autonomy. However, Serbia cracked down on ethnic Albanians seeking independence, leading to a 1999 NATO campaign against Serbia. Serbian forces then withdrew from Kosovo.

In 2022, violence erupted over a license plate dispute.

Kosovo wanted people entering the country with a Serbian ID card to replace it with a temporary document while in the country, and planned for Serbian drivers to put Kosovar number plates on their vehicles.

A peace deal between Kosovo and Serbia is being pushed by Western nations to ease tensions, but analysts say the deal is weak because it fails to address mutual recognition between the two states.