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News 21 Sep 17

Kosovo Abandons Bid to Join Interpol This Year

Prime Minister Haradinaj says Kosovo will not get enough votes at this year’s Interpol assembly, held in the unfriendly environment of China.

Perparim Isufi

Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj has confirmed that the country is abandoning its attempts to join Interpol this year, after failing to secure enough support to join from existing members.

Haradinaj said membership of Interpol was an important “contribution to the fight against international crime and terrorism” and that Kosovo was “ready to assume its full responsibilities as an Interpol member”.

However, he added that while many countries had expressed support for Kosovo’s membership, it was “not in enough numbers for Kosovo to become a member.

“As Prime Minister, I have decided today to postpone Kosovo’s request for an Interpol vote at the next meeting of this organization,” he said.

He said he hoped to revive the issue at next year’s meeting, which is in Abu Dhabi.

Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Behgjet Pacolli, earlier hinted that Kosovo might withdraw its application, less than one week before the vote on it was due to take place.

“I am sceptical and not encouraged at all to say that everything will go smoothly with this application, because the host of the summit has barred everything. They have not [even] granted our representatives visas,” Pacolli told Pristina-based KTV on Wednesday.

A big problem for Kosovo is that the host of this year’s Interpol General Assembly on September 26-29 is hostile China.
Alongside Russia and Kosovo’s former ruler, Serbia, China is one of the staunchest opponents of the recognition of Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, proclaimed in 2008.

Pacolli also criticized Kosovo’s previous preparations. “Interpol membership requires hard work. When I assumed office, I saw that work had been done, but not as much as was needed,” he added.

“It is a great responsibility [for me] to say that we will withdraw. I am convinced people will understand that maybe, in cooperation with US, we should make a tactical withdrawal and get prepared for next year’s summit, which will be held in Abu Dhabi, where will have enough votes,” he said.

To obtain Interpol membership, a new applicant needs the backing of two-thirds of the 190 member states.

Serbia has been loud in opposing Kosovo’s application to Interpol arguing that the relations of its former province to Interpol were has already established through the UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK).

However, a recent European Parliament resolution called on Europol and Interpol member states to accept Kosovo as a new member, saying it “would improve the fight against corruption and organized crime”.

Kosovo has applied for Interpol membership twice before but was rejected, most recently in November 2016.

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