Prague, Czech Republic – President Milos Zeman suggested the Czech Republic should revoke its recognition of Kosovo as an independent state.
On a two-day state visit to Serbia, which doesn’t recognize Kosovo’s independence, the Czech head of state argued he would like the Czech Republic to repeal its recognition of Kosovo as an independent nation.
“I’m not a dictator. But… I will ask the question of whether [a reversal] can be done”, Zeman, who has repeatedly expressed his dislike for Kosovo, said during a press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Known for his abrasive rhetoric and diplomatic gaffes, Milos Zeman also said Kosovo was “run by war criminals”.
The Czech government, however, quickly dismissed the president’s comments. Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek said there wasn’t any reason for the country to reconsider its position on Kosovo, a country it recognizes as an independent state like the vast majority of European countries.
“The Czech Republic is a friend and strong partner of Kosovo”, reacted its outgoing Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli on Twitter.
Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis also insisted he saw no reason to revoke Kosovo’s recognition but said he was open to discuss the issue with the president.
In reaction to Zeman’s comments, Kosovo cancelled its participation to a summit in Prague gathering Visegrad Group leaders and representatives from the Western Balkans aimed at strengthening ties between the two regions and expressing their common stance in favour of the EU’s enlargement to the south-east.
A former autonomous region of Serbia mainly populated by ethnic Albanians and Muslims, Kosovo broke away from Serbia/Yugoslavia in the 1990’s and declared independence in 2008. Tensions and violent incidents occasionally resurface between the two neighbours, while negotiations brokered by European nations over the years have largely stalled.
Apart from Serbia, many other countries don’t recognize Kosovo as an independent and sovereign nation. This includes Russia and China, as well as five EU member states (Spain, Slovakia, Romania, Cyprus and Greece).