Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić demanded Prime Minister Edi Rama to withdraw Albania’s recognition of Kosovo. In a letter sent to the majority of the UN member states, Brnabić further intensified Serbian governments push to undo Kosovo’s statehood.
The latest move by Brnabić comes amidst raised tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, following Serbia’s hostility in international relations against its neighbor, and Kosovo’s latest response by doubling import taxes of Serbian products.
Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić has been leading at full throttle the campaign to block Kosovo’s membership in international organizations. In October 2017 Kosovo’s bid to join UNESCO failed due to Russia-backed Serbian campaign. One year later, in November 2018, Kosovo was also denied membership in INTERPOL. Meanwhile Minister Dačić has often claimed his successful lobbying resulting in alleged withdrawals of Kosovo’s recognition by several states. Whilst in many of the cases such allegations are hard to confirm through sources other than Minister Dačić, what remains clear is Serbian government’s constant intensive work to undermine Kosovo’s statehood and membership in regional and international organizations.
Serbia’s active engagement in this direction has been thriving whilst the two countries are supposedly holding a Dialogue for Normalization of Relations since 2011.
Under the pressure of Kosovo’s latest failure to join INTERPOL, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s government responded by doubling taxes on all products imported from Serbia.
The Albanian government has not made any public statement regarding the Serbian Prime Minister’s letter to Rama or the latter’s response.
Rama and President Vučić of Serbia have met several times in the recent years. They have seemingly struck a good relationship on a personal level, which is unprecedented in bilateral relations between the two countries since Albanian dictator Enver Hoxha broke relations with Yugoslavia’s Tito in 1948.
Yesterday Rama reshuffled his cabinet. Among the dismissed was the Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEFA), Ditmir Bushati. He was replaced by Gent Cakaj, an Albanian from Kosovo, who has previously served as Rama’s adviser, and recently as Deputy Minister of MEFA.
Whilst it remains to be seen how the change of Albania’s top diplomat will affect the respective bilateral relations between Albania, Serbia and Kosovo, the Albanian public opinion will be eagerly waiting for Rama’s response to Serbia’s Brnabić’s challenging demand.