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“The Kosovo Conference” Hosted Representatives from Non-Recognizing Countries TEPAV Foreign Policy Analyst Dr. Erhan Türbedar  delivered a speech during the Conference titled “South East Europe in a Multipolar Era” organized by the Foreign Ministry of Kosovo.
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19/11/2011 - Viewed 1959 times

 

PRISTINA – The Foreign Ministry of Kosovo co-organized the first international conference since the independence, with the European Council of Foreign Relations (ECFR). The conference held in capital city Pristina on November 18 and 19, 2011 with the theme “South East Europe in a Multipolar Era”, was attended among others by the representatives from countries that did not recognize the independence of Kosovo, among others. TEPAV Foreign Policy Analyst Dr. Erhan Türbedar delivered a speech during the Conference.

Making assessments about the conference, Türbedar stressed the importance of the event in terms of improving Kosovo’s image in the eyes of the countries that did not officially recognize its independence. He said, “Among the participants were representatives from Russia, Greece, Romania, Moldova and Spain, and even Serbia, which are countries that did not recognize Kosovo’s independence.” He stressed that there were many steps that Kosovo had to take in order to announce the world that it is a fully independent country and promote its name.

The opening remarks of the conference were delivered by Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo, and Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister of Kosovo. Jahjaga, argued that Kosovo should be involved in all international mechanisms, NATO and the European Union (EU) in particular while Thaci stressed that the EU membership was the chief target of the country and called the countries of the region for cooperation in this field.

The impact of the EU and other relevant actors was discussed

During the conference, other speakers too stressed Balkan countries’ commitment to integrating into the EU. Recent negative developments concerning the European economy such as the Euro crisis damaged the image of the EU across the West Balkans and countries of the region maintained that they did not receive enough attention from the EU. Still, panelists stressed that the EU membership was the only option for the region. They also addressed the role of the actors other than the EU in the region. During a panel session, the effect of the growing political and economic prominence of China, Russia and Turkey on the region was debated. It was maintained that China and Russia were in a position to influence developments in the Balkans being permanent members of the UN Security Council and via bilateral relations developed via regional initiatives. On the other hand, it was identified that China generally sought economic interests whereas Russia invested on conservative Serbian population to gain economic and political influence. It was also stressed that Russia was trying to compete with the west over the Balkans.

Ankara and Brussels share the same goal…

Assessing Turkey’s possible role in the Western Balkans, TEPAV Foreign Policy Analyst Dr. Erhan Türbedar, stressed that Ankara, which follows a multidimensional foreign policy framework, aimed to develop relations with the Balkans as well as other countries of the region and maintained that Turkey and the EU should enhance their cooperation in the region. Stating that there was a common belief in Turkey that Europe tries to exclude Ankara from the Western Balkans, he said that this was an erroneous approach. He added that Turkey supported the NATO and the EU membership of the Western Balkan countries, sharing the same goal with Brussels about the future of the region.

The conference which brought together diplomats, military experts, academia and journalists as well as ministers of foreign affairs from Europe is planned to be organized every year with different themes under the title “Germia Hill.”

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