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12.11.2019 Africa

Ghana reverses 'premature' recognition of Kosovo

By AFP
A pedestrian walks behind the Kosovo flag ahead of last year's 10th-anniversary celebrations in Pristina of Kosovo's declaration of independence.  By Armend NIMANI (AFP)
NOV 12, 2019 AFRICA
A pedestrian walks behind the Kosovo flag ahead of last year's 10th-anniversary celebrations in Pristina of Kosovo's declaration of independence. By Armend NIMANI (AFP)

Ghana has revoked its "premature" recognition of Kosovo, the West African nation said, a move backed by Serbia, which opposes statehood for the former Yugoslav province.

"The Government of Ghana has decided to withdraw Ghana's recognition of Kosovo as an independent state,' the deputy foreign affairs minister, Charles Owiredu told AFP on Monday.

The reasons were communicated to Serbia in a letter, he said.

"The decision to recognise Kosovo turned out to be premature", the letter said of its recognition in 2012.

"Ghana has taken into account the ongoing dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at resolving the issue of the latter's quest to be recognized as an independent and sovereign entity and supports the ongoing process to bring finality to the matter," it said.

The announcement could further hinder the resumption of a long-running dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, led by the European Union (EU), which has been frozen for more than a year.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 in the final chapter of Yugoslavia's long and bloody breakup.

The former province is recognised by most of the West but needs Serbia -- and Belgrade's allies Russia and China -- to accept its statehood in order to get a seat in the UN.

The ministerial statement said Kosovo's unilaterally-proclaimed independence was "in contravention of the UN Security Council resolution 1244", a reference to the 1999 resolution that placed the ex-province under international protection.

That resolution gave Kosovo "substantial autonomy" within Yugoslavia, which Serbia was a part of at the time, and does not mention full independence.

Ghana said it expected its decision to "encourage also some other UN members" to follow suit. Sixteen countries, most of them small, have reversed their recognitions.

Kosovo says it is recognised by 116 countries.

Serbia said it hopes to bring the tally to below half of the UN's 193 members.

The special US envoy to the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, warned earlier this month against "efforts to delegitimize Kosovo".

Serbia's "campaign to incentivise countries to withdraw recognition of Kosovo and to block Kosovo's membership in international organisations must cease," Palmer said in a visit to Pristina.

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