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Jamaica Rejects Thaci's Claim It Has Recognized Kosovo's Sovereignty

Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith (file photo)
Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith (file photo)

Jamaican Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith has rejected a claim by Kosovar President Hashim Thaci that her Caribbean island country has recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state.

Thaci, a former guerrilla commander in Kosovo’s 1998-1999 war, made the claim late on February 20 in a statement posted on Twitter.

Thaci said he'd been notified by Kosovo's ambassador to the United States, Vlora Citaku, that Jamaica "has recognized" the Republic of Kosovo as a "sovereign and independent" state.

"I know this is a result of hard work and lobbying of several years," said Thaci, who also expressed gratitude to U.S. Representative Eliot Engle, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Vjosa Osmani, the speaker of Kosovo's parliament, also thanked Jamaican authorities on February 20 "for recognizing Kosovo."

Osmani said that, "without any doubt," Jamaica’s government had made "the right and just decision."

But Jamaican’s foreign minister responded to the announcements from Pristina with her own statement early on February 21, saying: "To date, Jamaica has not recognized Kosovo as an independent state."

Kosovo, formerly an autonomous province of Serbia, unilaterally declared its independence from Belgrade in February 2008.

But Serbia does not recognize Kosovo as a sovereign state, nor does Russia -- a key traditional ally of Belgrade.

Since 2008, much of Kosovo’s foreign policy agenda has focused on attempts to gain international recognition of its independence.

More than 110 countries have recognized Kosovo as a sovereign state.

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