Nigeria yet to recognise Kosovo as independent country – Minister

The minister said Nigeria does not support secessionism.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Aminu Wali, on Friday said that Nigeria still does not recognise Kosovo as an independent state.

Mr. Wali made the clarification while addressing journalists when he received a group of EU ambassadors in Nigeria.

In February 2008, Kosovo Albanians unilaterally declared independence from Serbia.

In July 2010, the UN International Court of Justice, ICJ, said that Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia was legal.

Prior to the declaration by the ICJ, Nigeria had a non-recognition status on Kosovo, based on its principle of not supporting a secessionist movement.

Mr. Wali told journalists that Nigeria’s non-recognition status for Kosovo still subsists in spite of the ICJ ruling.

“Our position has always been consistent on issues of that nature and Kosovo, we have not recognised and we are still waiting for an agreement between Belgrade and Kosovo.

“Unless that happens we still maintain our position,” he said.

On Nigeria’s position on Ukraine, the minister said Nigeria supports a UN General Assembly resolution which declared Russian annexation of Crimea as illegal and affirmed Ukraine’s territorial integrity.

He said Nigeria’s position is based on principles and respect for the UN Charter and the principles of international law.

“We have gone through our own civil war and we have learnt our lessons in that respect.

“Therefore Nigeria will be the last country to accept forceful break-up of any country,” he said.

Mr. Wali also told reporters that Nigeria would participate at the AU/EU summit scheduled for April 2 and April 3 in Brussels, Belgium.

He acknowledged that there were calls for AU member countries to boycott the summit because the organisers, EU, withheld invitation to some AU countries.

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“Right now there are countries at work, trying to sort out the hitch that has come up but I believe that should not stop the summit from taking place,” he said.

Mr. Wali thanked the EU for its support to Nigeria on security and elections, and appealed for more international cooperation to counter insurgency in some parts of the country.

On Kosovo and Ukraine, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria, Michel Arrion, said the situation in Kosovo had sometime been referred to as an equivalent of the situation in Crimea.

“Some member states of the UN had taken inconsistent views on Crimea, compared with the view they have on Kosovo.

“For us, Kosovo is very different from Crimea, there has been a deal in the nineties on the future of the whole question of former Yugoslavia after years of war.

“The case of Crimea is totally different; the crisis just erupted and in one or two weeks in what we believe is a violation of international law occurred,” he said.

He expressed delight that several countries voted in favour of the UN General Assembly resolution on Thursday in New York on Crimea.

The resolution calls on countries to not recognise any alteration of the status of the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol based on the March 16 referendum.

Mr. Arrion also confirmed that trade deal agreement between EU and ECOWAS countries was on the agenda of a meeting of ECOWAS leaders in Yamoussoukro, Cote d’ Ivoire, on Friday and Saturday.

“It is impossible for me to comment on what will be the outcome of the summit but as far as the EU is concerned the negotiations between EU side and ECOWAS are closed.

“They have made a lot of progress and in October last year, a common external tariff was agreed among member states.”

According to him, the October agreement is linked to a transitional period of almost five to eight years.

Under the terms of the Economic Partnership Agreement, EPA, the EU would immediately open up its markets to West Africa. In return, ECOWAS and Mauritania, which would also be party to the agreement, will gradually open up their economies to Europe.



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