Posted on Wednesday 16th February 2011
Professor Stefan Wolff and Dr Gezim Alpion interviewed Dr Muhamet Hamiti, Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo to the UK ahead of the POLSIS research seminar "Kosovo: A New Nation on the Political Map – Achievements and Challenges" where Dr Hamiti spoke about Kosovo’s rise to nationhood, focusing on the achievements and challenges in its post-independence period. He also spoke about the nation-building process; the democratic process and local government reform; inter-ethnic relations; relationship with current international civilian and military presences in the country; Kosovo’s international relations and challenges in its bid to consolidate its statehood internationally.
The questions asked during the interview included:
1. As we approach the third anniversary of Kosovo’s declaration of independence, what would you consider as the major changes that Kosovo’s population has seen over the past three years?
2. The declaration of independence on 17 February 2008 was, of course, not the first such attempt. In July 1990, ethnic Albanian members of Kosovo’s parliament demanded that Kosovo should become a republic within Yugoslavia on par with, rather than subordinate to, Serbia. In February 2003, the Kosovo Assembly, as established under UN framework for provisional self-governance, was preparing a declaration of independence whose pronouncement was quickly blocked by UNMIK. What do you think had changed by 2008 that made it possible for Kosovo to achieve independence and, by now, international recognition from 74 states?
3. During the so-called final status process in 2007, many scholars, analysts, and policy makers argued against independence for Kosovo because it would set a dangerous precedent. Looking at events in Georgia in August 2008, do you see these concerns as valid?
4. How do you see the current state of relations between Prishtina and Belgrade? How can relations be improved?
5. Closer links with, and eventual accession to, the EU is a declared foreign policy goal of the Kosovo government. What are the areas in which closer links can be achieved in the near future and what do you think is a realistic timeframe for Kosovo’s eventual membership in the Union?
Listen to the full interview (MP3, 20MB, 22mins, opens new window)