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Why is Kosovo not part of the OSCE?

Why is Kosovo not part of the OSCE?

In order to become a member state of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the agreement of all participating states is needed.

The largest regional security organization in the world currently has 57 member countries, spanning three continents: Europe, North America and Asia.

Among them are the states of the Western Balkans: Albania, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, but not Kosovo.

Serbia does not recognize Kosovo's independence - declared in 2008 - and opposes its participation in regional and international organizations.

Moreover, it also has the support of Russia, which is also a member of the OSCE.

Among the ranks of this organization are Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia and Spain - the five countries of the European Union that do not recognize Kosovo - as well as other non-recognizing countries.

Radio Free Europe asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora in Kosovo if it plans to apply for membership in the OSCE and where it sees the main obstacle in this process, but did not receive an answer.

Similarly, the OSCE mission in Kosovo did not respond to REL's request for comment on this topic, although it confirmed receiving questions.

The OSCE Permanent Council decided to establish the OSCE Mission in Kosovo in July 1999 - a few weeks after the end of the war in Kosovo.

The mission was given a leading role in issues related to institution building, democracy and human rights.

It is the largest field mission of the OSCE, while its mandate is defined in Resolution 1244 of the Security Council of the United Nations, as well as in the decision number 305 of the Permanent Council of the OSCE.

The mission currently has five regional centers - in Pristina, Prizren, Pejë, Mitrovica and Gjilan.

His website states that he is particularly engaged in protecting the rights of communities, protecting cultural and religious heritage, monitoring the judiciary, media freedom and development, promoting anti-discrimination mechanisms, improving youth participation in political and public life and others.

The OSCE mission also cooperates and supports the Central Election Commission and the Electoral Panel for Complaints and Submissions, with the aim of strengthening their capacities, in accordance with international standards and good practices.

The mission also supports the implementation of the agreements that emerge from the talks between Kosovo and Serbia, mediated by the European Union.

Currently, it is headed by Ambassador Michael Davenport, a career British diplomat.

Not being a member of the OSCE, Kosovo does not participate in the ministerial meeting of this organization, which is taking place today and tomorrow in Skopje, North Macedonia - the country that currently chairs the OSCE.

The summit gathers 76 delegations from 57 OSCE member countries and partner states.

Among those present is the US Secretary of State, Antony Blinken.

But the media's attention was taken by the presence of the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

Although sanctioned by the West, due to Russia's war in Ukraine, North Macedonia allowed his participation in the summit.

As a result, the Foreign Minister of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba, announced that he will not be present.

Last year, Kosovo applied for membership in the Council of Europe and the European Union.

In almost 16 years of independence, the country has managed to join several international organizations - among them: the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the Olympic Committee, the European Football Federation and the World Football Federation.

Kosovo is not yet a member of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization, the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and others.

Kosovo's independence is recognized by 117 countries.

Serbia, in some cases, has campaigned against the recognition or de-recognition of Kosovo, despite the fact that the International Court of Justice concluded in 2010 that Kosovo's independence "does not conflict with international law"./ REL

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