The Dominican Republic recognized Kosovo last week, which brings the number of recognizing countries to 62. Kosovo has been collecting recognitions at the rate of 1 or 2 per month lately — this is the tenth since the beginning of this year — and while recognition by Palau or the Comoros may not count for much, getting Malaysia and Saudi Arabia on board is no small thing.
That said, 62 is still a lot less than 192, which is the total number of UN member states. And — for reasons I went into a while back — quite a lot of UN members unless either (1) Serbia consents, or (2) the UN recognizes it. Since Russia and China are both committed to a veto of recognition, that’s unlikely to happen any time soon.
Still, there are a couple of interesting questions.
1) Can Kosovo possibly reach 92 recognitions, and so claim recognition by a majority of UN members?
2) If yes, then can it do so before the International Court of Justice renders its decision on the legality of Kosovo’s unilateral declaration of independence (expected next summer)?
3) Can Kosovo get a majority of members on the UN Security Council any time soon?
I’d say the answers are “probably, but not soon”; “very probably not”; and “quite possibly, but not in this Security Council, nor the next”.
Meanwhile, here’s an interesting article on how Kosovo’s independence is encouraging various separatist movements in Africa. — One of the arguments advanced by Kosovo’s supporters has always been that Kosovo is unique, and granting it independence won’t be a meaningful precedent. This has always been a rather weak argument; the world is full of separatist movements. Many of them represent groups that have suffered oppression as bad or worse than the Kosovars. I support Kosovo’s independence, but I don’t see the point of pretending it won’t set a precedent.
No, strike that. I see the point — it makes independence more palatable to nervous governments around the world. But it is, at best, a polite fiction.
Anyway. I wrote up my thoughts on who deserves independence, and who doesn’t, several years ago. Some of the facts have changed since then, but the underlying reasoning hasn’t. Independence shouldn’t be allowed lightly, but that doesn’t mean it should never be allowed.
I don’t envy the ICJ the Kosovo case: however they decide, a lot of people will be very upset, and rightly so.