21 December, 2012

Kosovo Now Recogized by Half of U.N. (97/193)

Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state, updated for December 2012 with most recent additions highlighted
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, with the five most recent additions to the list labelled. Kosovo in magenta. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).
Flag of the Republic of Kosovo Country Name:  
• Kosovo (English, Serbian)
• Kosova (Albanian)
Official Name:  
Republic of Kosovo (English)
Republika e Kosovës (Albanian)
Republika Kosovo (Serbian)
Capital: Pristina/Prishtina
Kosovo Recognition Update
Since our last report on recognition of the Republic of Kosovo, five more U.N. members have endorsed independence for the disputed country in southeastern Europe. This brings the list of member countries recognizing Kosovo to 97, or just over 50% of the U.N. (there are currently 193 sovereign states in the U.N.).

One country, the Southeast Asian island state of East Timor, actually recognized Kosovo back in September, before our last report. However, we didn't know that at the time, so it didn't make it into that update.

The other four U.N. member countries which have granted recognition to Kosovo since last time are Burundi in West Africa, Fiji in the South Pacific, and two small Caribbean island states, Dominica and St. Kitts and Nevis. A full list of countries recognizing Kosovo, including references and dates of recognition, is available on Wikipedia.

The Republic of Kosovo seceded from Serbia in 2008, but has been blocked from U.N. membership by objections from Serbia, Russia, and other countries which see its secession as invalid. In addition to the 97 U.N. members who individually recognize Kosovo, its independence is also acknowledged by one non-U.N. member, Taiwan. For more on Kosovo's special situation, see our first Kosovo recognition report from earlier this year.

Stay Up to Date: Check for further updates to this story by viewing all Kosovo articles on Political Geography Now. 

Flag graphic by Cradel (source). License: CC BY-SA


  1. You use the Serbian language name for the capital; it should be spelled "Prishtina" to reflect the Albanian spelling.

  2. Thanks for the comment, David. Since I've only listed the capital's English name, I try to use the most common English spelling. However, I seem to have included the Serbian "š", which I understand implies the Serbian spelling. I'll change it to "Pristina", which seems to be the most common English form.

  3. It should be written PriSHtina, as David correctly says.

  4. Perhaps I should start writing the capital in multiple languages, as I do the country names? Otherwise, I don't see why it "should" be spelled "Prishtina" when that's clearly not the most accepted English spelling.

  5. Hi Evan,

    Regarding Prishtina, the "sh" sound is made in both Serbian and Albanian. I have heard it compared to saying Wasington instead of Washington. Note that National Geographic uses Prishtina as the primary name at http://www.natgeomaps.com/balkans (zoom into Kosovo). Also, the airport (http://www.airportpristina.com/en/) and the airline (http://info.airprishtina.com/content/index.php?id=20&no_cache=1&L=1) use Prishtina. Of course, there is some inertia, as many sources use the old Serbian spelling (Priština) or simply remove the diacritic, Pristina. The Kosovo goverment uses Prishtina, but sometimes Pristina appears on official websites (http://kk.rks-gov.net/prishtina/home.aspx?lang=en-US). Kosovo is a country with multiple official languages, and as a young government, they are still working to standardize their spellings. Your suggestion of using multiple spellings to reflect the two major languages (Albanian and Serbian) might be best.

  6. Hi David,

    Thanks for these sources - it does look as if English usage may be shifting. Since this is obviously a matter of some contention, I'm starting to agree it may be best for me to present both spellings, even if I'm not making the "Capital" field multilingual per se.

    -Evan (PolGeoNow)

  7. Hi Evan & David,
    there is no mistake in "Serbian language name" or in spelling of Priština, because this is pure Serbian word. This is the fact, and the same facts are in other Kosovo cities, villages, rivers, hills and mountains ... every point in this province has only Serbian name without any trace of Albanian language. Kosovo itself, has Serbian name and it is derivative of "Kosovo polje" which means Blackbird Field. In Albanian language word Kosovo (or as they like to pronounce Kosova) means nothing.
    Best regards from Belgrade (White City) :)

  8. Hi Milan,

    Thank you for your comment. Place names are among the most borrowed words between languages. It's true that the names "Kosovo" and "Pristina" are both apparently of Slavic origin - and there are almost certainly pre-Slavic place names surviving in Kosovo as well, as in every part of the world. But the fact is that their derivations are now also Albanian and English words, since Albanian speakers and English speakers use them even without being able to speak Serbian (and without proncouncing them in the Serbian way).

    Since this article lists the capital only in English, I have listed the two common English forms, one of which is borrowed directy from Serbian and one of which is borrowed from Albanian.


  9. since almost all toponyms throughout the whole territory of Kosovo i Metohija, which is the real name of this southern serbian province ( temporarily under foreign occupation ) are serbian there can be no discussion about "which form is borrowed" ...there is only one correct form.

    given that there are no albanian names, the Albanians themselves use the serbian names too.

    here and there they try to impose new names which are figments of their imagination, such as "Dardania" which is/are intended to establish some kind of connection to the ancient Illyrians, which todays Albanians claim to be their ancestors.. but due to lacking scientific proof with less than little success.

    the bottomline is: KiM, or in short Kosovo is serbian territory to the core, and all those attempts to create a new, forged "history" will fail utterly.

    what I mean with these attempts is that Kosovo is called here " the last country that seceded from what was the former Yugoslavia" - it never was a country, it was southern Serbia. and it also never was a republic, so there can be no "republic that seceded from Serbia in 2008".

    it´s only acceptable if you intend to deliberately mislead your readers.

    1. There exists something resembling, or at least claiming to be, a republic in the region, even if we are to take the position that it's illegitimate and/or propped up by foreign occupation. Use of the word "seceded" doesn't really imply that the claim of secession is legitimate. This article is about the international relations of that organization, not about who is "correct" or what the situation is on the ground.