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10 Jan 13 Dispute Arises Over Kosovo's 98th Recognition

Confusion over whether African island state has actually recognised Kosovo or not raises wider questions about the recognitions process.

Edona Peci Pristina

Kosovo's 98th recognition is in question after media in the small African island state of Sao Tome and Principe reported that the President had denied the validity of Kosovo's recognition by the previous government.

The government of former Prime Minister Patrice Emery Trovoada recognized Kosovo on March 13, 2012.

But President Manuel Pinto da Costa says he was never consulted about it, while the government has since changed.

Torvoada’s successor as Prime Minister, Gabriel Costa, was quoted by local media as describing the decision on Kosovo as “an anomaly”. The decision has also not been ratified by parliament.

Kosovo’s Foreign Minister, Enver Hoxhaj, insists the recognition remains valid. “The verbal note received by Sao Tome and Principe on Kosovo’s recognition proves the country has been recognized as an independent state,” he told Balkan Insight.

“The fact is that Kosovo has been recognized by more than half of the [193] UN member states," he added.

But confusion over where this particular recognition stands is fuelling opposition complaints that the recognition process is not being managed as well as it should be.

Critics say there is no clear evidence about the precise number of states that have recognized the country’s independence, proclaimed in 2008.

“The Foreign Ministry list of recognitions mentions states like Nigeria or Uganda... but these recognitions remain contested, not only by the respective states, but also by the US State Department and so forth,” former Foreign Minister Skender Hyseni told Balkan Insight.

Hoxhaj, meanwhile, says he is certain that the precise number of states that have recognized Kosovo stands at 98.

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