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Disputed territory seeks NATO and EU membership — RT World News

Kosovo wants to join EU and NATO, head of breakaway Serbia province tells Washington

Kosovo wishes to become a member of NATO and the European Union, the Prime Minister of the self-proclaimed republic, Albin Kurti, declared on Wednesday during a visit to Washington. The breakaway province of Serbia had declared independence with US backing in 2008, but was not recognized by Belgrade, the UN or even all EU member states.

Kurti made the announcement during a organized event by the Atlantic Council on Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, he met with Biden administration officials — including National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and USAID Chief Samantha Power — and several members of Congress.

One of them, Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Michigan) expressed “unequivocal support” for Kosovo’s aspirations to join “international and regional organizations, in particular NATO”, kurti mentioned on Twitter.

Kosovo is a province of Serbia temporarily occupied by NATO after the alliance’s 78-day air war in 1999. Its interim government declared independence in 2008 and has been recognized by the United States and many of its allies , but not by Russia, China and Serbia itself. Specifically, five EU members – Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain – have not recognized his independence, making Kurti’s EU bid a tall order.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has publicly revealed that Belgrade is under enormous pressure from the EU to join the anti-Russian sanctions regime and recognize Kosovo, in return for vague promises to possibly join the bloc one day.

Kurti is the leader of Vetevendosje, an ethnic Albanian nationalist party opposed to any negotiations with Serbia, whose platform at one time sought unification with Albania proper. The United States backed his ouster in March 2020 after just six months as prime minister, but he returned to win the February 2021 election in a landslide.

Wednesday’s announcement is actually the second time that Kurti has publicly stated EU and NATO membership as Pristina’s political goals. He did so for the first time on Saturday, at a conference sponsored by the Albanian Studies program at DePaul University in Chicago.

“Kosovo is a democratic achievement in the region, therefore it needs support to become a member of NATO, the EU and other regional and international organizations without further delay”, Kurti told DePaul, according to Albanian media.

Noting that Kosovo was the first to join the United States and the EU in imposing sanctions on Russia, Kurti argued that it would be a “great victory” for Russian President Vladimir Putin to see Kosovo “progress” reversed.

Putin had referred to Kosovo’s declaration of independence during last month’s meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in Moscow, stressing that the United States and its allies had set a precedent in international law that the Russia then applied to the people’s republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.


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