Kosovo–Saudi Arabia relations
Kosovo and Metohija was an autonomous province of the Republic of Serbia during the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1946–92), and then of Serbia during the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. During the Kosovo War (1998–99), the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) received foreign mercenaries from, among others, Saudi Arabia. During UN administration, Saudi Arabian organizations sought to establish a cultural foothold in Kosovo.
Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia on 17 February 2008 and Saudi Arabia recognised it on 20 April 2009. Saudi Arabia has a Liaison Office in Pristina and Kosovo planned to open an embassy in Riyadh later. On 22 December 2009, Saudi ambassador Abdullah Abdulaziz (who is also ambassador to Albania and to the Republic of Macedonia) presented his credentials to Kosovar President Fatmir Sejdiu.
On 25 May 2009, at the Organisation of the Islamic Conference's 36th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers in Damascus, the 57 member states adopted a resolution that noted Kosovo's declaration of independence, upheld the role of the United Nations in Kosovo, reaffirmed the strong interest of the OIC regarding Muslims in the Balkans, welcomed the co-operation of Kosovo with the OIC Economic and Financial institutions, and called on the international community to continue contributing to the fostering of Kosovo's economy. Saudi Arabia was one of the main Islamic states backing this resolution and it has been reported that an earlier draft of the resolution (tabled by Saudi Arabia) had called for recognition of Kosovo by Islamic countries, but this was rejected by some member states, including Syria, Egypt and Azerbaijan.
Like Saudi Arabia, Kosovo has a mainly Muslim population. The traditional Islam in Kosovo is the Hanafi school, described as 'liberal' and 'moderate'. Since the Kosovo War, there has been an increasing radicalization of Islam in Kosovo. Wahhabism, which is dominant in Saudi Arabia, has gained a foothold in Kosovo through Saudi diplomacy. Saudi money has paid for new mosques, while Saudi-educated imams have arrived since the end of the war in 1999. Wahhabi schools have been founded. Hundreds of Kosovo Albanians have joined jihad in the Middle East.
- Kosovo is the subject of a territorial dispute between the Republic of Kosovo and the Republic of Serbia. The Republic of Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on 17 February 2008, but Serbia continues to claim it as part of its own sovereign territory. The two governments began to normalise relations in 2013, as part of the Brussels Agreement. Kosovo has been recognized as an independent state by 113 out of 193 United Nations member states, 10 of which have subsequently withdrawn recognition.
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