I met Kosovo’s foreign minister Behgjet Pacolli in a hotel lobby not far from the United Nations last week, as world leaders gathered in the New York for the annual UN General Assembly.
Kosovo is in a unique diplomatic situation. About 116 countries recognize Kosovo as an independent state. This includes major powers like the United States and most of Europe. Russia and many other countries, however, do not consider it an independent country. Rather they consider Kosovo to be a breakaway region of Serbia. The United Nations is ground zero for Kosovo’s quest for universal statehood recognition, but so far that has hit a roadblock at the Security Council, where Russia holds a veto.
I was interested in learning from the foreign minister both some of the substantive issues on his plate during UN Week, including Kosovo’s foreign policy priorities today. I also wanted to learn just what life is like during UN week for the foreign minister of a small state like Kosovo. The conversation you about to hear veers between those two threads.
As you’ll see from our conversation Foreign Minister Pacolli’s paramount is to gain full status for Kosovo at the UN and secure bi-lateral recognition from as many states as possible and it was interesting to hear from him how he goes about doing that.