Ghana and Serbia in Diplomatic Row over Kosovo – By Jerome Kuseh

The Serbian government has expelled Samuel Valis-Akyianu over Ghana’s decision to recognise Kosovo. Kosovo, which is largely dominated by ethnic Albanians, declared unilateral independence from Serbia in 2008 citing decades of inhuman treatment meted out to them by ethnic Serbs. The declaration was condemned by several countries around the world including Spain and Italy but was welcomed by the United States.

Kosovo is both a strategic and emotional place for Serbs. It has been referred to as the ‘heart of Serbia’. In the 14th Century, it was in Kosovo that a Serbian army stood against an invading Ottoman army in what is now known as the ‘Battle of Kosovo’. This battle is an important part of Serbian history and national identity. In 1998-1999 an armed conflict was instigated by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) (it was then listed as a terrorist organisation by the US) in their quest for independence. This move was inexplicably supported by the US which delisted the KLA as a terrorist organisation and rallied NATO support for them. After the forced expulsion of the Serbian army by NATO bombs, Kosovo was left as a protectorate of the United Nations.

The issue of Kosovo is one very sensitive to the Serbian people, and any nation that recognises Kosovo has placed itself  in a hostile position with Serbia. Judging from the good relationship Serbia has enjoyed with Ghana over the years, it comes as a surprise to me that Ghana has recognised Kosovo. We stand to gain very little or nothing at all from diplomatic ties with Kosovo. This move is also in contrast to the AU, which does not recognise Kosovo.

Why Ghana will take such a decision, I don’t know. For years I’ve been proud of the fact that Ghana recognises Palestine as a country even with our friendship with Israel. It is rather unfortunate that this is however not possible in the case of Kosovo. The only guess I can hazard for this move is some kind of irresistible goodies promised by the USA if Ghana complies. Could this have anything to do with the president’s invitation to the USA by president Obama? I don’t know, but one thing is for sure: this move is not going to sit well with China at all.