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16 February, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Diplomatic ties with Kosovo begin today

State Minister Shahriar leaves for Pristina today
HUMAYUN KABIR BHUIYAN

Bangladesh is going to establish diplomatic relationship today with Kosovo, a Balkan state that was recognised by Bangladesh about a year ago. The event coincides with the celebrations of declaration of Kosovo’s independence 10 years ago. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam is leaving for Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, today to attend the celebrations to mark the declaration of its independence from Serbia 10 years ago. “Yes, we are going to establish diplomatic relationship with Kosovo very tomorrow (Friday) at the United Nations headquarters in New York,” a senior foreign ministry official concerned told The Independent yesterday. “Bangladesh permanent representative to the United Nations and his counterpart from Kosovo will sign the recognition documents. Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque, now in New York, is likely to be present on the occasion,” he said.

According to officials concerned, the official establishment of diplomatic relationship will enable both the countries to engage in different sectors.

Before Kosovo, Bangladesh last established diplomatic ties with South Sudan that gained independence in 2011, they said.

“The decision to establish diplomatic ties with Kosovo is much tougher than that of South Sudan because the whole world was unanimous regarding the newest African state, while the east European country still remains a disputed territory to many countries including Russia and Spain,” said the officials.

Despite being a Muslim-majority country, quite a few nations belonging to the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) are yet to recognise Kosovo, they said.

The government of Kosovo, which has been recognised so far by 115 countries, had invited Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali to attend the celebrations to mark the declaration of the independence, said officials concerned.

As he cannot attend the programme due to his preoccupation with other engagements, State Minister Shahriar Alam will be representing Bangladesh, they added.

The state minister will be the first Bangladeshi senior official to visit the country after the recognition, they said.

While in Pristina, Shahriar will meet Hashim Thaci, the president of Kosovo.

Kosovo is a landlocked country in the central Balkan Peninsula with an area of about 11,000 square kilometres and about 19 lakh (1.9 million) people. About 95 per cent of its population are Muslim, most of which are of Albanian origin.

Kosovo's bloody war for independence from Serbia, which still claims Kosovo as its part, ended with a 78-day NATO air campaign against the Serbian forces in June, 1999.

According Thaci, the president of Kosovo, the war left 13,000 dead and 20,000 women of Albanian origin raped.

Although Kosovo got recognition from 115 countries so far, it is yet to be recognised by many countries including Russia, the main supporter of Serbia, which recognises administration of the territory by Kosovo's elected government but claims it as its own Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.

With its strategic position in the Balkans, it serves as an important link in the connection between central and southern Europe, the Adriatic Sea, and Black Sea. Its capital and largest city is Pristina, and other major urban areas include Prizren, Peć and Ferizaj. It is bordered by Albania to the southwest, the Republic of Macedonia to the southeast, Montenegro to the west and the uncontested territory of Serbia to the north and east.

The officials further said that State Minister Shahriar will also visit Tirana, the capital of Albania, before returning home on February 20.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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