Czechia announces first-ever ambassador to Kosovo

Czechia recognized Kosovo's independence from Serbia in 2008, when it opened an embassy in Pristina. Staff ČTK

Written by StaffČTK Published on 25.07.2023 16:04:00 (updated on 25.07.2023) Reading time: 1 minute

The Czech government announced that it will appoint Bohumil Mazánek as its first ambassador to Kosovo, marking a historic milestone in the relationship between the two countries. Mazánek has previously served as the Czech Republic's ambassador to Lithuania. Czechia recognized Kosovo's independence in 2008, the same year it formally declared independence from Serbia. Czechia's embassy in Pristina opened that same year.

Since 2008, more than 100 countries recognized Kosovo's independence, although some reversed their decision. Major powers like Russia and China, as well as EU countries Romania, Slovakia, and Spain, have not recognized Kosovo's statehood.

Strained relations at times

Several former Czech presidents pushed for a reversal of Czechia's support for Kosovo's independence in a bid to strengthen the relationship with Serbia, which still sees Kosovo as its own territory. One was former President Václav Klaus, who was in office during Kosovo’s declaration of independence.

Another was former Czech President Miloš Zeman, who repeatedly proposed withdrawing the recognition of Kosovo's independence during his tenure. Zeman said that Kosovo was "a terrorist regime financed by narco mafias," and in 2013 also called for the withdrawal of a Czech liaison officer in Pristina.

In 2019, Kosovo canceled its participation in a September summit of the prime ministers from the Visegrád Four Group and the Western Balkans countries in Prague in reaction to Zeman's inflammatory statements.

Czechia's support for Kosovo

The government of the Czech Republic has long supported Kosovo's efforts to integrate into the EU. The Czech Army has been operating in Kosovo since the start of the multinational NATO peacekeeping operation in 1999. Czechia recently had around 400 troops serving in Kosovo as peacekeepers in the NATO-led Kosovo Force.

The Czech government has financed some projects to improve the infrastructure in Kosovo, focusing on the environment, water management, and helping the blind. For example, Czechia helped fund the construction of a wastewater treatment plant in Kosovo and recently ratified a double-taxation treaty with the Balkan country. 

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