The new flag of Kosovo (illustrative image)

Kosovo shuns V4+West Balkans Prague summit after comments by Czech President Miloš Zeman

Kosovo has cancelled its participation in the September 12 summit of the prime ministers from the Visegrad Four (V4) group and the Western Balkans countries in Prague

Prague, Sept 11 (CTK) – Kosovo cancelled its participation in the September 12 summit of the prime ministers from the Visegrad Four (V4) group and the Western Balkans countries in Prague in reaction to statements Czech President Milos Zeman has made in Serbia, diplomatic sources told told CTK today.

Since his arrival for a state visit to Serbia on Tuesday, Zeman has repeatedly lashed out at Kosovo.

Today, he said he will want to meet Czech constitutional officials to discuss the possibility of the revocation of the recognition of independent Kosovo by Prague.

The Thursday summit of the V4 (Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) prime ministers with their Western Balkans counterparts in Prague was to be attended by the PMs of Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina, and a deputy prime minister of Kosovo.

According to CTK’s information, no Kosovan guest has been confirmed for the moment, but negotiations continue on Kosovo’s representation at the event.

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Later today, the Government Office confirmed that no member of the Kosovan cabinet will attend the Prague summit and said Kosovo will be represented by an official from its embassy in Prague.

On arrival in Belgrade on Tuesday, Zeman said he likes Serbia and Serbs but dislikes Kosovo.

Before departure for Serbia, he told Czech Barrandov TV that he does not consider Kosovo a democratic state.

Czech Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek (Social Democrats, CSSD) wrote to CTK today that Czechia has correct relations with both Kosovo and Serbia, and recalled that Czechia is among the 100 countries that have recognised Kosovo’s independence.

In January 2018, the Foreign Ministry said a revocation of a recognition of a state is a quite unusual and exceptional step in international law.

“In the case of Kosovo, there is no reason for such a step. In addition, the International Court in 2010 issued an assessment saying that the unilateral Declaration of Kosovo’s independence was in harmony with international law,” the Foreign Ministry’s press department told CTK at the time.

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After the split of Yugoslavia, Kosovo was a part of Serbia, but declared independence with the Western big powers’ support in 2008. Serbia still considers it a part of its territory. Most U.N. states have recognised independent Kosovo, but not some countries such as Slovakia, Spain, Russia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Greece.

The aim of the V4+Western Balkans summit in Prague is to enhance cooperation between the two regions, which Prague has set at one of the goals of its one-year V4 presidency that began in July 1. The Czech Republic supports Western Balkans states EU accession efforts.

rtj/dr/pv

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