Kosovo–Republic of Macedonia relations
Informal relations started on 9 October 2008 when Macedonia recognised Kosovo after its declaration of independence from Serbia on 17 February of the same year. In October 2009, Kosovo signed an agreement to re-adjust its border with the Republic of Macedonia by exchanging some lands. On 17 October 2009, Skopje and Pristina officially established diplomatic relations. On 12 November 2009, Macedonia upgraded its Liaison Office in Pristina to an Embassy; an Ambassador is to be appointed soon. Kosovan Embassy in Albania is accredited to Macedonia.
Macedonia recognised the Kosovar passport on 12 July 2008 prior to full diplomatic recognition of the Republic of Kosovo. Citizens of the Republic of Kosovo can stay 90 days visa free in Macedonia. Macedonian citizens can stay in the Republic of Kosovo for 90 days visa free also.
Before the recognition, the President Branko Crvenkovski said "The Republic of Macedonia will decide its view when we deem it most appropriate for our interests. Macedonia would follow the position of NATO and the European Union on Kosovo, but nations in the two organisations have to yet to assume a common stance." The Democratic Party of Albanians left the government coalition on 13 March 2008 after it failed to meet their six demands, recognising Kosovo's independence being one of them. However, it returned on 24 March 2008 after demanding the recognition of Kosovo. On 27 March 2008, Macedonian minister of Foreign Affairs Antonio Milošoski issued the following statement: "In welcoming the constructive position of the Republic of Macedonia concerning Kosovo, the Commission on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament has expressed concern because of delay in the technical demarcation of the Republic of Macedonia-Kosovo borderline and has asked that this issue be solved in accordance with the Ahtisaari proposal.". This reiterated Macedonia's support for the Ahtisaari plan for Kosovo, which was endorsed by the foreign affairs ministry a year earlier, on 30 March 2007. On 10 July, Foreign Ministry spokesman Petar Culev announced that Macedonia will accept new Kosovan passports. Ali Ahmeti, leader of the ethnic Albanian Democratic Union for Integration party, said Macedonia would recognise Kosovo after problems over the border demarcation were resolved. (The Democratic Union for Integration is a member of the governing coalition; however, Ahmeti has no role as minister in the government.) Macedonia has 158.7 km (98.6 mi)-long border with Kosovo. On 12 May 2009 Gjorge Ivanov became the new president of Macedonia. Soon after his inauguration Ivanov invited the president of Kosovo Fatmir Sejdiu to be the first statesman to visit Macedonia in his mandate, but Sejdiu cancelled his visit to Macedonia, because the visit was planned to be a non-formal meeting. The Kosovan side expected a full official meeting between two statesmen. The following weeks saw something of a crisis in the relations of the two countries. There were even speculations that Macedonia might revert its decision to recognise Kosovo as an independent state. However, Skopje officially denied that it wants to revert the recognition of Kosovo. Relations were normalised soon at a regional meeting.
Notes and references
|a.||^ Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has received formal recognition as an independent state from 113 out of 193 United Nations member states.|
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