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Kosovo seeks various forms of cooperation with Latin America

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, in cooperation with the British Council in Kosovo and the embassies of Great Britain and Norway, has conducted research on several Latin American countries’ position towards Kosovo. Representatives from Brazil and Uruguay visited Kosovo last year to gain first-hand experience of the country, while the representative from Chile came to Kosovo for the first time this year.

In a workshop held in Prishtina, attended by members of local-based think tanks, the Executive Director of the British Council, ArjetaEmra, opened the proceedings. She welcomed the participants by stressing this initiative was the joint work of stakeholders from members of all sectors of society who came together to draft of action plans for each country separately.

She informed the guests about the commitment of the British Council and its partners to promote Kosovo in EU countries that have not recognised Kosovo through the exchange of members of their respective parliaments.The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo, PetritSelimi, said that the MFA, along with its partners, continues its lobbying activities with non-recognising countries. “As a result of these efforts,” Selimi said, “a book was published with the findings about the position of the five EU countries who have not recognised Kosovo’s statehood.” Selimi added that the goal is to find different forms of interaction, and that the ongoing studies have borne fruit as the MFA has expanded its portfolio for the promotion of Kosovo through non-traditional forms such as digital diplomacy.

The three guests from Latin America stressed in unison the importance of visits from Latin American MPs to Kosovo, who would then share their findings with their respective governments and the civil society.

Monica Grin, is coordinator of the graduate programme in Social History and Associate Professor of Contemporary History and Doctor of Political Sciences at the Research Institute at the Rio de Janeiro State University. Grin said that the essence of Brazil’s foreign policy is based on the level of multilateral cooperation and that sovereignty is very important. She stressed that the 2005 UN resolution on the “Responsibility to Protect” –which claims that sovereignty is not a right but a responsibility – opened the door to a more flexible approach. A final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, according to Grin, or even a more pronounced role of Brazil as a mediator in this process, could accelerate Brazil’s recognition of Kosovo. She said that there should be exchanges between Kosovo and Brazil in academia, media, social sciences, culture,
tourism, economy and international relations.

Oscar Bonilla represented Uruguay. He is a photography editor, lecturer and a visual artist who has exhibited in the United States and in Europe. Bonilla said that the foreign policy of Uruguay upholds the strengthening of multilateral organisations and non-alignment.

He stressed that Uruguay treats the issue of territorial integrity through a Soviet interpretation, which is preferred by Serbia. Bonilla said that cultural cooperation between Kosovo and Uruguay is needed, and considering the rich history of
the two countries, this is likely to break the barriers that arise often from misinformation. The guest from Uruguay added that exchanges are also necessary in the area of education and the media.

Roberto Duran, is a professor and researcher at the Institute of Political Sciences at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, which is one of the economically most powerful countries in Latin America. He said that academics and professionals can give the most tangible contribution to raising awareness of of the Kosovo issue in Latin America.

Duran said that exchanges can be made between students of Kosovo and Chile, and that he will engage in bringing two young Kosovan students to Chile to benefit from new experiences in the field of contemporary diplomacy. He added that various forms of promotion of Kosovo can be used, including cooperation with German organisations and the Croatian and Slovenian diaspora in Chile.

All the participants agreed to jointly plan a strategy for further action to sensitize the public in Latin America to the issue of Kosovo.