Friday, October 24, 2014

Map Update: Kosovo Now Recognized by Every Country in Oceania (107/193 UN members)

Premium members click here to view this article in the ad-free members area. Not a member yet? Subscribe now!
Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state, updated for October 2014, with the most recent addition (Solomon Islands) and disputed recognitions highlighted
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, highlighting recent additions. Disputed recognitions in yellow. 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
By Caleb Centanni

Solomon Islands Recognizes Kosovo
Kosovo, a small breakaway state in the Balkan Region of Southeastern Europe, was recently recognized as an independent country by Solomon Islands (the country's name is officially singular, with no "the"). This completes Kosovo's recognition by every UN member country in the Oceania region, which includes Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the South Pacific.

Solomon Islands, a former British protectorate in Melanesian cultural region of the South Pacific, recognized Kosovo on August 13, 2014. The foreign minister of the island country indicated that a decision was made based on “the improvement of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.” Kosovo’s foreign ministry announced the recognition on the same day.

In the past, many recognitions have been announced only by the Kosovan government, sometimes calling their validity into question (See also "Disputed Recognitions" below). In this case, however, the comments of the Solomon Islands foreign minister leave little doubt.

Solomon Islands' recognition is Kosovo's fourth this year, and the twelfth since the beginning of 2013. Prior to this, the most recent recognition was by Togo this past July. Kosovo is now considered a sovereign state by 107 of the 193 UN member countries (just over 55 percent).

Disputed Country
The Republic of Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but has been blocked from UN membership by objections from Serbia, Russia, and other countries who see its secession as invalid. In addition to the 107 UN members recognizing Kosovo, its independence is also acknowledged by non-UN member Taiwan. For more on Kosovo's special situation, see our first Kosovo recognition report, which also includes a map of Kosovo's location relative to Serbia.

Disputed Recognitions
There are a few countries that appear on lists of UN members recognizing Kosovo, but whose actual recognitions have been called into question. The most contentious case is the African island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, which announced its recognition of Kosovo on March 13, 2012. However, on January 7, 2013, the country's president declared the recognition invalid on the grounds that he had not been informed of the decision. Despite this, Kosovo's government still claims recognition from São Tomé and Príncipe. Political Geography Now has chosen not to include São Tomé and Príncipe in its tallies of recognition until the dispute has been resolved.

The Kosovan foreign ministry also still includes Uganda and Nigeria in its list of “Countries that have recognized the Republic of Kosova", despite these two recognitions having been strongly refuted. However, as discussed in our previous Kosovo article, even the Kosovan government seems not to actively claim recognition from Uganda and Nigeria anymore.

After Solomon Islands’ recognition took effect in August, the South Pacific country's foreign minister stated that 109 nations had recognized Kosovo (two more than our tally of 107). This likely indicates that the Solomon Islands was including São Tomé and Principe, bringing the total up from 107 to 108. The figure of 109 could be a reference to the recognition of Kosovo by Taiwan, another disputed non-UN member state that Solomon Islands considers to be an independent country.

Stay Up to Date: Check for further news and map updates related to Kosovo's recognition by viewing all Kosovo articles on Political Geography Now.

Related Articles:
Kosovo Recognition Map Update: July 2014
North Kosovo Status Changing After Serbia Deal
Which Countries Recognize Palestine as Independent?
Flag graphic by Cradel (source). License: CC BY-SA