European Western Balkans

Interpol – the first defeat of the new Government

Last week the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosovo announced that Kosovo gives up bid for Interpol membership this year scheduled for the September 26 Interpol General Assembly meeting in China.

The Government officials explained that a significant amount of time was wasted after the elections and waiting for the new institutions to be formed in September, so the result is the lost time that could have been used for lobbying for Kosovo’s membership in Interpol. Two third of members is needed to support membership of Kosovo.

However, some criticised this decision seeing it as the first betrayal of election promises by the new Government.

Situation this year was further complicated by the fact that General Assembly is in China, a country that does not recognise Kosovo, while it is presided by Russia, a strong Serbian ally in fighting Kosovo independence.

Currently Kosovo cooperates with Interpol through the UN Mission in Kosovo, UNMIK, however due to the bureaucracy and complex procedures Kosovo institutions are reluctant to use this channel.

On the other hand, Serbia declared this as a yet another diplomatic victory. The announcement of Pristina decision to apply for Interpol membership made in August this year stirred tensions in Belgrade. Particularly after one opposition leader said that it is in interest of Serbia that Kosovo becomes a member of Interpol. It immediately triggered accusations and condemnation from the ruling Serbian Progressive Party and also from the Serb list in Kosovo. According to the Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dačić, the country lunched a powerful diplomatic initiative to prevent membership of Kosovo in this organisation.

The next Interpol General Assembly meeting will be held in 2018 in Abu Dhabi. Hence another war of words between Serbian and Kosovo officials can be expected.

Publication of this article has been supported by the Balkan Trust for Democracy of the German Marshall Fund of the United States

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