The Balkans: Macedonia and Montenegro Recognize Kosovo

On Oct. 9, Montenegro and Macedonia recognized Kosovo's independence.

Douglas Muir of A Fistful of Euros noted that “coincidentally, this raises the number of countries recognizing to exactly 50.” He described the significance of the event in general terms:

[…] Macedonia and Montenegro are small countries, but they have outsized importance because (1) they’re neighbors of both Serbia and Kosovo, (2) they’re EU-members-to-be, and (3) they’re former Yugoslav Republics. So while this is no surprise, it’s still interesting. […]

Viktor Markovic of Belgraded (a blog formerly known as Belgrade 2.0) presented a humorous “short version of what happened and what could happen”:

[…] Now, both Montenegro and Macedonia decided to recognize Kosovo. Kosovo will probably return the favour by recognizing them back. While they’re at it, they could decide to recognize South Ossetia and Abhazia, provinces who decided to declare independence from Georgia (not the American one, but the one next to Russia) this year. That way Kosovo would support Russia in helping South Ossetia and Abhazia break away, but it would upset the United States and the rest of the world who oppose Russia, but support Kosovo, Montenegro, and Macedonia in their independence efforts. Serbia should support Georgia because we know what it’s like to be deprived of territory, right, but that way we would upset Russia, our best friend when it comes to not recognizing Kosovo. Georgia, US already recognized Kosovo, but Georgia (the country) should definitely not recognize it, because they clearly do mind provinces breaking away from countries. But if they don’t recognize it, they could upset the US and the other countries who recognized it.

Russia first said that it’s not ok for a province to break away, but now says it’s ok. USA first said that it’s ok for a province to break away, but now says that’s a bad thing and a big no-no. […]

One of the readers, Owen, posted this comment to Viktor's post:

I think you’ve over-simplified.

Viktor responded by proposing a way “to make things even more confusing and interesting” – which would be for Serbia to “un-recognize Montenegro and Macedonia”:

[…] I don’t know if that’s even possible, to un-recognize a state, but that’s what we are trying to persuade other countries that recognized Kosovo to do, right? So we should set an example and un-recognize Macedonia and Montenegro. […]

Vitaly of The 8th Circle mentioned some of the consequences of Serbia's neighbors’ decision to recognize Kosovo – clashes in Montenegro and the expulsion of the two states’ ambassadors from Belgrade – but ended his post on a rather positive note:

[…] My guess is that the protests are an immediate expression of rage, and should not become a problem in the long-run, but that may change depending on whether the animosity is permitted to crystalize and become imprinted in people’s memory. Or, will the parties choose to look to the future where borders, under the auspices of the EU, matter little?

Jonathan Davis of LimbicNutrition Weblog wrote that he is “for an independent Kosovo,” wants “Serbia in the EU as soon as possible” – but is “sickened by lies, foul play, hypocrisy and bullying” of “the EU/US/Kosovo bloc.” To him, the prospects of Macedonia and Montenegro did not seem too bright:

[…] Now, however, they will also have to live with the anger of their largest trading partner and the destabilising effect that their recognition will have on their internal political situations. […]

Writing about “the massive vote in favour of allowing Serbia’s challenge to Kosovo’s legality at the International Court of Justice” that preceded the recognition of Kosovo by Macedonia and Montenegro, Jonathan suggested that “the pre-prepared plan to force Serbia’s two tiny neighbours […] to recognise Kosovo within a day of the vote” was “designed for psychological and propaganda effect”:

[…] (1) To ruin the party for the Serbs and (2) to reset the frame by getting the global media’s focus away from Serbia’s UN victory and focussed on Serbia supposedly by being “stunned” by Montenegro and Macedonia’s “betrayal”. […]

He also wrote about “the follow-up insult-to-injury gambit”:

[…] the Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to Martti Ahtisaari, a loathed figure in Serbia, widely considered to be blatantly pro-Albanian and the man who handed Kosovo its (illegal) independence. The prize was expected to be awarded to imprisoned Chinese dissident Gao Zhisheng, but the committee decided instead to continue its tradition of politically motivated awards, almost certainly in my opinion as part of the co-ordinated response to Serbia’s UN victory. […]

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