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Kosovo - Foreign Relations

Kosovo does not have an army of its own and relies on NATO to protect its administrative borders. Pristina does not have control over its northern territories, which are effectively still controlled by Belgrade. The bombing of Serbia by NATO forces in 1999 brought an end to the attacks of Serbian troops against the Albanians in Kosovo. However, the war lacked a UN mandate and remains a controversial subject.

Kosovo is a member of various regional bodies, such as the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) and Southeast European Co-operation Initiative (SECI). In its declaration of independence, Kosovo pledged 'to establish good relations with all [Kosovo's] neighbours'.

There are currently more than thirty international Embassies, resident liaison offices, diplomatic offices, or Representatives in Kosovo, as well as several non-resident Embassies and liaison offices. The Republic of Kosovo has twenty resident embassies abroad. Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), International Development Association (IDA) and International Finance Corporation (IFC)).

A number of international organisations advise and assist the Kosovo Government. The EU has two main representations. The Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) central aim is to assist and support the Kosovo authorities in the rule of law area, specifically in the police, judiciary and customs areas. It is a technical mission which monitors, mentors and advises the Kosovo authorities, whilst retaining a number of limited executive powers. The EU Special Representative to Kosovo advises on the political process towards European integration. The United Nations Mission (UNMIK) now has a smaller presence and is headed by the Special Representative (SRSG). The OSCE promotes human rights and good governance in Kosovo. The NATO-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) is deployed to maintain a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all citizens.

Shortly after Kosovos independence in 2008 the International Civilian Office (ICO), headed by Dutch diplomat Pieter Feith, was established to supervise the implementation of the Comprehensive Settlement Proposal (CSP), which is enshrined in Kosovos Constitution. On 10 September 2012 the ICO officially announced the end of supervised independence as Kosovo had substantially implemented the CSP.

The Republic of Kosovo aims an active foreign policy, which should be in concordance with the aims of the people of Kosovo for Euro-Atlantic integrations, preservation and strengthening of the relations with allied countries, establishment of good relations with countries of the region, and accomplishment of the status of a trustworthy partner in the fight against the threats to the international security.

Good neighborly relations and regional co-operation represent an essential aspect of Kosovo's journey towards European Union (EU) membership. Regional co-operation and good neighborly relations are a prerequisite for countries aspiring to join the EU. Cultivating better relations between the countries of the Western Balkans and South East Europe (SEE) generally means intensifying trade, encouraging the free movement of people and ideas, and co-operating towards the overall achievement of common goals. Regional co-operation in areas of mutual interest is found in the contents of many government programs, including MFA foreign policy priorities and the public diplomacy portfolio. Kosovo is a member of several important regional initiatives, in which it actively contributes within their respective structures in order to reflect the benefits of regional cooperation in the lives of its citizens.

The foreign policy of Kosovo is formulated and implemented by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo. The mission of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo is to protect the interests of Kosovo in relation with other countries and international organizations, to represent Kosovo in foreign countries, to preserve and protect the immunities and privileges of diplomatic missions and of persons entitled to them in accordance with international covenants and customs, to develop and coordinate the policies in relation to other countries, and to develop good relations with all neighbors. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo promotes and protects national, cultural, and economic policies of Kosovo throughout the world.

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Page last modified: 17-11-2019 19:12:27 ZULU