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Latest news from Kosovo

Albania President: Kosovo will be member of UN

September 08, 2010

President of Albania, Bamir Topi, during a meeting he held with Deputy General Secretary of the United Nations, Asha-Rose Migiro, said the time for Kosovo becoming member the United Nations is very near. Speaking about the world's newest state, Kosovo, the Albania's President said that "we value the importance for the support of independence Kosovo and the necessity of its recognition by other countries, as most appropriate decision after the advisory opinion given by the International Court of Justice ", Kosovo's daily newspaper Koha Ditore reports. Furthermore, Topi emphasized Albania's stance on regional cooperation and its role as stability factor in building healthy neighborly relations as common cause in the integrated EU.



Kosovo wins ICJ ruling on legality of its independence

July 24, 2010

The International Court of Justice gave resounding approval to the independence of Kosovo today, as it stated that the February 2008 declaration of independence by its assembly did not violate the international legal order. The judges voted 10-4 in favor of Kosovo. Reading the opinion Thursday, International Court of Justice President Hisashi Owada added that “international law contains no "prohibition on declarations of independence." In September 2008, the court was asked by the United Nations General Assembly to advise on a question sponsored by Serbia, which asked “whether the declaration of independence by the provisional self-ruling institutions of Kosovo was in line with international law.” The court found that international law did not have applicable rules on this subject and refused to draw similarities with other cases around the world. The court decision described the lengthy negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia and the successive failures to reach any conclusion. The court referred to the 109 out of 120 votes of the delegates of the Assembly of Kosovo for independence and specified that this body was not part of the legal order built by UNMIK and UN Resolution 1244, as the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo, nor was this declaration published in the UNMIK Official Gazette. The Court ruled that while UNSC Resolution 1244 is part of the international legal framework, its scope was of temporary nature and consisted in stopping the violence, building the self-rule capacities of Kosovo and assisting with dialogue that would lead to a final status. Whereas the provisional legal framework built by UNMIK did not have international legal character and at any rate the institutions that declared the independence were not part of it. “The Court cannot accept the argument that Resolution 1244 hinders the Declaration of Independence...the declaration of independence did not violate Resolution 1244”, Owada stated. While this is a sad day for the nationalist chauvinists in Belgrade, and especially for the young foreign minister who has built his politics around this sensitive issue for the Serbian people, it is a chance for them to break with the past and move on towards a future of peaceful relations with their Kosovar neighbors. Although the Serbian minister was the main actor pushing for the decision, he has already stated that Serbia might not accept the decision if it contradicts its own views, seen as a peculiar view on international law by Kosovo observers. For Kosovo, it is a resounding reaffirmation of the legitimacy of their cause and an argument that will add many more recognizing states to the current list of 70. The young Balkan nation, the Republic of Kosovo, which declared Independence on February 17, 2008, and has been recognized by 22 out of 27 EU member states, United States of America, Canada, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Malaysia, Jordan, Malawi, Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Burkina Faso, Djibouti, Somalia, Panama, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Peru, Belize, including all its immediate neighbors, Montenegro, Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, etc,.



Kosovo has been offered IMF membership

July 19, 2010

The International Monetary Fund has offered Kosovo membership, giving one of Europe's poorest nations access to millions of dollars in IMF-backed loans.

The IMF announced on Friday that the executive board had certified a vote by the fund's Board of Governors to offer membership to the the small landlocked country, that broke away from Serbia last year. It said Kosovo would officially become an IMF member when its representatives sign the relevant papers in Washington, where the 185-member fund is headquartered. Kosovo's finance minister said recently that while it was close to joining the IMF, it had no plans to ask for money right away. Kosovo broke away from Serbia in February 2008 and applied for IMF membership even though it is not a UN member. The IMF recognized Kosovo's secession last year and said it would consider its membership application, as a sovereign Balkan state, "in due course". The IMF's voting structure allowed Kosovo to gain membership despite the objections of Serbia, Russia and others that have refused to recognize its independence. Only the United States has an effective veto over the IMF's decisions, unlike the United Nations, where Russia could block Kosovo's efforts to join. Fifty-eight countries have recognized Kosovo's secession, including the United States and most European Union countries, which have the majority voting power at the IMF. Kosovo has also applied for World Bank membership.



Kosovo's economy grew 4% in 2009

March 31, 2010

Central Bank of Kosovo (CBK) reported that during 2009 Kosovo had 4% economic growth. According to CBK, the economic growth in Kosovo comes mostly from financial system and the private sector. Valentin Toci, chief economist of the CBK said that Kosovo and Albania were the only countries in Southeastern Europe to have economic growth in 2009. According to CBK, Kosovo imported €1.9 billion of goods and services while it exported €162 million in 2009. CBK statistics show that during the second half of 2009, Kosovo had an increased level of foreign direct investments. 69.9% of FDI were capital investments, 23.2% were reinvestments of existing foreign investors in Kosovo, while the rest of FDI were other investments. The Republic of Kosovo Central Bank reported that during 2009 Kosovo had a balanced budget, in terms of national income and expenditure. Budget revenues in 2009 were €1.05 billion, while expenditures were €926 million. According to this report, the banking sector in Kosovo continues to grow and expand. Loans of Kosovo banks increased for 9%, while deposits increased for 21%. The microfinance institutions and insurance companies (+21.2%) continued to grow and expand in the market.


Kosovo and Sweden sign development cooperation agreement


On Tuesday, Skender Hyseni, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, signed an Agreement for Development Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Kosovo and the Government of the Kingdom of Sweden. According to this Agreement, the goal of development cooperation between the Republic of Kosovo and Sweden is to contribute toward European integration, stability and economic growth in Kosovo. Development will be concentrated in the key areas of the environment and climate, education, and also democratic governance and human rights. According to this Agreement, the representatives of these two countries will meet regularly, to define shared priorities and principles of cooperation, as well as to offer advice on the implementation of joint programs and projects in areas of development cooperation. During Minister Hyseni’s discussions relating to the signing of the Agreement with the Swedish Ambassador in Skopje, he talked about deepening further cooperation between our two countries, emphasizing its significance. In addition, Minister Hyseni informed Ambassador Freden about Kosovo’s most recent achievements, especially the successful progress of the elections. He also mentioned the importance of regional cooperation, Kosovo’s role and its participation in regional initiatives, as well as the need for Kosovo to represent itself more often in international forums.



Over 100 countries support Kosovo's World Bank


Kosovar President and the Prime Minister today confirmed they have received confirmation from the World Bank that the Republic of Kosovo has been admitted to this important international financial institution with more than 100 countries voting "YES." "We received today confirmation from the World Bank that the board of governors of the World Bank has passed a resolution on the admission of the Republic of Kosovo in this organization," Thaci told reporters during a special press conference. "This is successful for the Republic of Kosovo, its institutions and people and is a demonstration of our commitment to become a member of all international organizations,", Prime Minister Thaci said and announced that in the next days a state delegation from the Republic of Kosovo shall travel to the headquarters in Washington D.C. to sign the admission agreements with the International Monetary Fund and World Bank. President of the Republic of Kosovo through a statement has welcomed this development characterizing it as "a very important and historic development for Kosovo." President Sejdiu has highlighted as very important the fact that more than 100 countries voted in favor of Kosovo, more then during the IMF admittance process. The Republic of Kosovo in May was admitted in the IMF with 96 countries supporting its admittance. The fact that the World Bank admittance was supported from even more countries is characterized as very important for Kosovo’s international standing.


Kosovo implements EU standards on border police


The Republic of Kosovo Government has officially launched the Strengthening the Rule of Law–Border Police Twinning Project which aims to enhance the capacity and capability to genuinely implement the EU standards on Kosovo Border Police. The project will improve the rule of law in the Republic of Kosovo, by enhancing the professional capacities and capabilities of the Kosovo Police and in particular the Border police. European police experts will work together with their Kosovar counterparts in order to exchange experiences and best practices and, as a result of this mutual commitment, Kosovo will improve its ability to intercept and seize contraband and prevent illegal border crossings. Kjartan Björnsson, Chargé d'Affaires, a.i said: "Twinning is a very valuable tool of the enlargement process, enabling us to send officials from EU Member State administrations to work together with their counterparts in the administration of a partner country. The experts from Europe help preparing for the implementation of the acquis communautaire, European legislation, in a particular sector. It demands thorough preparation and long-term commitment, as well as a dedicated support structure from the partner." Fatmir Xhelili, Deputy Minster of Internal Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, said, “Kosovo as well will be a part of the best standards of the EU in regards to Integrated Border Management. The direct cooperation between Kosovo Police and European Commission through this project impacts the implementation of the IBM Strategy and fulfils one of the criteria of the visa liberalization process. This project helps us build capacities to lead these important processes forward.” Twinning instrument proved to be an effective tool to enhance capabilities of local institutions in the drafting, adopting and enforcing EU standards and legislation. This particular twinning project is part of a larger EU strategy directed to deal with the challenges of securing Kosovo borders and boundaries, also by improving information technology infrastructure and equipping Kosovo police. The project is expected to last for 18 months and it will improve the legal framework, management and operational capacity of the Kosovo border and boundary police, improve the coordination with other agencies and neighbouring countries on Integrated Border Management (IBM) and identify which are the necessary investments to better secure borders from illegal trafficking.


Sarkozy reconfirms France's support for Kosovo


French President Nicholas Sarkozi, in a cordial letter sent to Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu, reconfirms France's continual commitment to support the strengthening Kosovo's state institutions and deepening relations between two nations. “Nearly a year and a half after Kosovo achieved independence, your country was able to affirm itself in the international stage and the irreversibility of the existence of your country is something which is acknowledged by all. The last recognitions of independence of your country as well as the admission into the most important financial institutions are the best examples of the accelerated dynamics of the process your country is in,” says the letter. Sarkozy appreciated President Sejdiu’s personal contribution and commitment to lead delicate reforms needed to consolidate the democracy and the rule of law in Kosovo while fully respecting European values, as well as his efforts to secure the rightful place for the various communities living in Kosovo, strengthening thus regional stability. “France fully supports the new Republic of Kosovo and I am happy with the conversation I had with your Prime Minister Mr. Hashim Thaci on 8 June.We went together through everything your country has achieved and the future progress yet to be achieved. I would be happy to invite you for a moment, to be determined carefully together, to mark passing into a new epoch of relations,” says the letter. France was among the first nations in the world and the first EU member country which recognized the Republic of Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state.


Kosovo becomes member of IMF and World Bank


On June 29, the Republic of Kosovo became full member of International Monetary Fund and World Bank Group as Kosovar leadership signed the original Articles of agreement with both institutions. The Republic of Kosovo became the 186th member of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Monday when President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi signed the IMF’s original Articles of Agreement at a ceremony in Washington D.C. Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn welcomed President Sejdiu and Prime Minister Thaçi into the Fund at IMF headquarters. “It gives me great pleasure to welcome Kosovo, the first new member to join the Fund during my tenure,” Mr. Strauss-Kahn said. “Kosovo’s decision to join the Fund highlights the enduring importance of multilateralism in today’s world.” The Managing Director expressed satisfaction with progress made in institution building in Kosovo. “I am particularly pleased with the commitment of the Kosovar authorities to further strengthening the sustainability of their policy framework.” Kosovo’s initial quota in the IMF is SDR 59.0 million, or about US$ 91.5 million. Kosovo's share of total Fund quotas would be 0.027 percent. With the admission of Kosovo, total members' quotas in the IMF rises to SDR 217.43 billion. The Republic of Kosovo became the newest member of the five World Bank Group institutions also, when Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu and Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi signed the Articles of Agreement of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). Kosovo’s Minister of Economy and Finance and World Bank officials witnessed the signing ceremony. In addition to becoming a member of IBRD, Kosovo joined the International Development Association (IDA), the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID). With the admission of Kosovo, membership now stands at 186 countries for IBRD, 169 for IDA, 182 for IFC, 174 for MIGA, and 144 for ICSID (Kosovo’s ICSID membership will become effective on July 29, 2009). “I am very pleased to welcome the Republic of Kosovo as the newest member of the World Bank Group,” said World Bank Group President Robert B. Zoellick. “Kosovo’s reconstruction and political transition since 1999 has progressed well, with a quicker than expected recovery and a positive economic outlook.” According to Shigeo Katsu, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia, “The World Bank, along with the IMF and other partners in the international community, remains committed to assisting the Government and people of Kosovo in overcoming the significant challenges they face.” The World Bank Group is working with the authorities and stakeholders in Kosovo to develop a new two year partnership strategy. In addition to financing and analytical and advisory services offered to Kosovo by IDA and IBRD, the Bank Group – through the IFC and MIGA – will also offer support to encourage private sector investments in Kosovo. The new strategy will work towards a range of efforts that are critical to supporting Kosovo’s development. These include: generating new sources of economic growth, and ensuring associated environmental and social improvements; ensuring fiscal sustainability, macroeconomic stability, and bettering the investment climate in the face of an adverse global economic environment; improving public administration; reducing poverty and unemployment by improving employment opportunities, particularly for youth; improving health and education outcomes; increasing the efficiency and equity of social service delivery; and reducing a sense of vulnerability among many members of the population, particularly ethnic minorities. The new Balkan nation, the Republic of Kosovo is expected to apply for membership at other


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