Kosovo Lacks Ambassadors In Times of Diplomatic Hardship

Only 19 of Kosovo’s 31 embassies abroad currently have ambassadors. This marks a significant failure on the part of the government just as the country needs diplomatic strength to fortify its position as an independent state.
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An article published by Balkan Insight on September 22 revealed that Kosovo’s new government has failed to appoint ambassadors to 12 embassies at a time when Kosovo is in dire need of diplomatic muscle to wrestle global shifts and expand its international recognition as an independent state.

Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti, with the approval of President Vjosa Osmani, sacked 12 ambassadors in May claiming that they had gained their posts thanks to political connections and family ties. The two pledged to appoint career diplomats to these posts.

The government has yet to fill the positions, leaving nearly half of Kosovo’s 31 diplomatic missions without chiefs. Embassies in Washington, London, and Berlin number among those without head diplomats despite these countries’ significant support of Europe’s newest state, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008.

Experts warn that changes are rapidly approaching on various fronts in the European and American political ecosystems, including upcoming German elections and the new US administration. Kosovo is diplomatically unprepared for these changes.

Most importantly, the country is lacking diplomatic chiefs at a time when EU-brokered talks between Serbia and Kosovo are gaining pace. Furthermore, Serbia has commenced a new international campaign to have states withdraw recognition of Kosovo and to prevent it from joining international organizations.

The Serbian Foreign Ministry claimed in March 2020 that there are eighteen nations that have withdrawn their recognition of Kosovo as an independent country. Kosovo’s membership in international institutions such as UNESCO and Interpol were also earlier rejected because of Serbian efforts.

In Kosovo, finger pointing has ensued and the buck continues to be passed. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs claims that the Kosovar parliament’s foreign affairs committee, which evaluates ambassadorial candidates, has hit a bureaucratic roadblock, but Time Kadrijaj, a member the committee, said that the Ministry has been late to offer proposals, reported by Balkan Insight.

In reality, even if Pristina concluded all of the procedures today, many months would pass before the host countries would grant the agréments required for new ambassadors to begin working at their diplomatic posts.

The Kosovar government’s hasty decision to sack ambassadors in an effort to erase the influence of former governments could end up costing the country dearly. Its failure to provide new ambassadorial appointees works against the country’s interest as it continues to lack proper representation abroad.

Kosovo must work to fill this gap. Kosovars paid a very high price for independence and recognition on the international stage, and it is high time that the defense of their interests abroad are prioritized.