Kosovo applies to join UNESCO amid Serbian disapproval

Kosovo applies to join UNESCO but Serbia objects saying Kosovo is not qualified as a state

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Kosovo's Prime Minister Isa Mustafa (R) sits next to Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci (L) during a parliament session in Pristina, Kosovo

Kosovo applied for membership to UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) on Friday despite Serbia opposing its application, saying that Kosovo is not an eligible state for membership to UNESCO.

The former commander of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA/UCK), ex-Kosovo prime minister and current Foreign Minister Hashim Thaci however said that Kosovo is eligible to become a member of the UNESCO before it becomes a UN member state.

Thaci also added that Kosovo is eligible for became a member of INTERPOL (The International Criminal Police Organization) and the Council of Europe.

Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic stressed that Kosovo is still governing by the UN. He also said that Kosovo's membership to UNESCO will violate UN rules.

The Chief of Serbian diplomacy also accused Kosovo of allowing the desecration of Serb churches as one way "of intimidating the remaining Orthodox population in the province."

"Since June 1999, 236 churches, monasteries, and other sites owned by the Serbian Orthodox Church, as well as cultural-historical monuments, have been targets of attacks," Dacic told the council.

Thaci responded to Dacic’s assertions saying that UNESCO World Heritage sites in Kosovo “are safe, or safer than they have been in the last 1000 years."

He also added that Kosovo's police force "protects 95 percent of the sites of the Serbian Orthodox Church."

A state that runs for membership to UNESCO has to win two of third of the votes of its members.

A donation from  the European Union (EU) to UNESCO to contribute to a revitalisation of a castle began in mid-July, Al Jazeera Balkans reported.

The reconstruction of the walls of the castles in Novo Brdo will take several years.

In 1999, a NATO-led air war fortified ethnic Albanians in the territory and Kosovo came under UN and NATO administration.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in February 17, 2008 and from that time both countries have had territorial disputes as a result of Serbia's non-recognition of Kosovo.

The Russian Federation, a close ally of Serbia, vetoed Kosovo’s recognition a state.

Ultimately, 111 states recognise Kosovo as self-determined state.

TRTWorld and agencies