29 Jan 10

Serbia, Kosovo Spar Over Ethiopia Visa Question

A Kosovo foreign ministry delegation couldn't attend the African Union council session in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia because the delegation members were denied entry visas, according to reports from the Serbian embassy. Kosovo's foreign ministry has dismissed the claims as untrue.
Bojana Barlovac

Fonet news agency reported that it learned from the Serbian embassy in Addis Ababa that the decision not to issue visas to the Kosovo delegation came after Serbia’s intervention.

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic reportedly thanked his Ethiopian counterpart Seyoum Mesfin on this principled gesture.

Kosovo's Foreign Ministry has dismissed the report as untrue. Albana Beqiraj, a spokesperson for the ministry, told Balkan Insight that there was no invitation sent to the ministry for the event and that Kosovo officials did not apply for visas to Ethiopia.

“We understand the nervousness and frustration of Serbia in relation to Kosovo and the irreversible process of Kosovo’s independence,” Beqiraj said. She added that Kosovo’s foreign ministry is in contact with the African Union.

Speaking at the opening of the session, Jeremic welcomed the fact that as many as 80 per cent of the member-states of the African Union have not recognised Kosovo's independence and called on them to maintain their stance.

"We ask all the countries represented in this room which have not recognized Kosovo to stay the course by not accepting Kosovo's attempted secession. We do so not only in the name of our traditional ties of friendship, but in the name of working together to consolidate a rules-based international order for the 21st century- one in which secession is clearly seen as a dangerous threat, and one in which reaching agreement between the parties is the only legitimate, sustainable way forward," Jeremic said.

He also recalled the history of strong ties between Serbia and the Non-Aligned Movement, the first session of which was held in Belgrade in 1961.

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