Friday, September 18, 2015

Map Update: Kosovo Recognized by 3 More Countries in 2015 (108/193 UN members)

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Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state, updated to September 2015, with the most recent additions (Antigua and Barbuda, Cook Islands, and Niue) highlighted. Also shows countries that have refuted claims that they recognized Kosovo: Sao Tome and Principe, Nigeria, and Uganda.
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
Article by Evan Centanni, with additional reporting by Caleb Centanni

New Recognitions for Kosovo
Since our last Kosovo recognition map report nearly a year ago, the breakaway republic's independence has been endorsed by three more countries. However, only one of these three new recognizers, Antigua and Barbuda, is a fully independent country and UN member. The other two, the Cook Islands and Niue, are semi-independent states often considered to be overseas territories of New Zealand.

Antigua and Barbuda, a small two-island country in the Caribbean, reportedly recognized Kosovo as independent on May 20, 2015, after several years of talks between the two states' foreign ministers. Kosovo is now recognized by about half of the island countries in the Caribbean.

Also in May, the Cook Islands recognized Kosovo, with nearby Niue joining a month later. The Cook Islands and Niue are two nearly independent Pacific island countries in "free association" with New Zealand. They are often considered dependent territories rather than independent countries; their people retain New Zealand citizenship, and they have never declared independence or tried to join the UN. However, they are self-governed, with the choice to become independent at any time, and there's no rule against them diplomatically recognizing other countries or being recognized in return.

Before this year, the last country to recognize Kosovo was Solomon Islands in August 2014. With the addition of Antigua and Barbuda, Kosovo is now considered independent by 108 of the 193 UN member countries (about 56 percent).

What is Kosovo?
The Republic of Kosovo, located in southeastern Europe, controversially declared independence from Serbia in 2008. It has been blocked from UN membership by objections from Serbia, Russia, and other countries who see its secession as invalid. In addition to the 108 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.

Refuted Recognitions
In the past, the government of the Republic of Kosovo has been accused of exaggerating its numbers by claiming recognition from countries that didn't really intend to recognize it. Three African countries - São Tomé and Príncipe, Uganda, and Nigeria - have denied recognizing Kosovo, and are not included in our numbers. However, they are often included in lists compiled by pro-Kosovo sources, so we have illustrated them in yellow on the above map.

And what about the most recent additions to the list? Antigua and Barbuda's recognition of Kosovo has not been confirmed by sources outside Kosovo's government, but because it has not been denied either, we are presuming its truth for now. The Cook Islands and Niue, on the other hand, both have online documents confirming that they've established diplomatic relations with Kosovo. Diplomatic relations aren't always the same thing as recognition, but the documents make it fairly clear that the two states indeed consider Kosovo 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.
Flag graphic by Cradel (source). License: CC BY-SA