European Western Balkans

Final decision on Kosovo’s associate membership in NATO PA expected by the end of May

Photo: NATO PA

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s (NATO PA) Standing Committe has decided during the meeting on 23 and 24 March in Tallinn to upgrade Kosovo Assembly from a parliamentary observed to an associate member.

Earlier, the head of the Kosovo Assembly delegation to NATO PA, Driton Hiseni, stated that Kosovo has now achieved the highest level of representation considering it is not a member of NATO. “For many years, Kosovo has had the status of an observer member. This decision will be formalized by a vote in NATO Parliamentary Assembly at the spring session of the Assembly, which will be held on 27 May“, Hisen explained.

The President of Kosovo, Vjosa Osmani, welcomed this decision and stated that this will enable the voices of people who are most for NATO in the world to be heard. “We will continue to move towards full membership“, Osmani said.

As stated by the NATO Parliamentary Assembly to Kosovo Online, confirming that the final decision on Kosovo’s status in this organization will be made at the end of May, associate membership would provide Kosovo with „additional benefits“.

„As an associate member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, the Kosovo Assembly, would be granted additional benefits. This would include an additional representative for the Delegation of the Kosovo Assembly to the NATO PA, as we all the right to automaticaly take the flloe in NATO PA procedures, to submit amendments to NATO PA draft resolutions, and, under certain circumstances, to participate in NATO PA committee visits to other countries“, stated from NATO PA.

They recalled that this organization is „independent of NATO“, but that it „provides a link between NATO and parliaments of member countries“.

Since its creation in 1955, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly has provided a unique specialised forum for members of parliament from across the Atlantic Alliance to discuss and influence decisions on Alliance security. Through its work and activities, the Assembly facilitates parliamentary awareness and understanding of the key issues affecting the security of the Euro-Atlantic area, and supports national parliamentary oversight over defence and security. NATO PA helps to strengthen the transatlantic relationship and the values which underpin the Alliance.

The Assembly is institutionally separate from NATO, but serves as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of the NATO nations. It provides greater transparency of NATO policies, and fosters better understanding of the Alliance’s objectives and missions among legislators and citizens of the Alliance.

Since the end of the Cold War, the Assembly has assumed a new role by integrating into its work parliamentarians from countries seeking a closer association with NATO. Through this form of parliamentary diplomacy, the Assembly contributes to mutual understanding and to the strengthening of parliamentary democracy throughout the Euro-Atlantic region and beyond, thereby complementing and reinforcing NATO’s own programme of partnership and cooperation.

President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić said that Kosovo’s advancement in the NATO PA, on the anniversary of the NATO bombing, is an “indicator that Pristina and the international community are a well-coordinated team”.

“For them, dates are significant because they forced our wretches to hand over Milošević on Vidovdan, today they made a decision about Pristina as an associate member of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, and they will again choose a special day to accept them into the Council of Europe”, Vučić said.

Head of the Serbian delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, Vladimir Đukanović, announces that Serbia will consider its further participation in the NATO PA if Kosovo becomes an associate member of this organization.

Serbia strongly opposes this decision and hopes it will not be confirmed at the next NATO PA session, Đukanović wrote in an letter, adding that he expects firm guarantees from the chairman that this issue will not be placed on the agenda of the next session.

“We are confident that you will once again carefully consider this sensitive issue, taking into account all the facts stated. Otherwise, the delegation of the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia will be forced to carefully consider the expediency of its further participation in the work of the NATO PA”, Đukanović’s letter concludes.

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Nikola Burazer