Kosovo becomes South-East Coop. Process member


– Seven years after declaring its independence from Serbia, Kosovo was granted full SEECP parliamentary assembly membership

ANKARA – Kosovo was granted full membership to South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) parliamentary assembly membership on Saturday, authorities said.

Albanian parliament speaker Ilir Meta said that the decision to grant Kosovo full membership was taken in the SEECP Parliamentary Assembly summit in Tirana, Albania.

The South-East European Cooperation Process is a forum for diplomatic and political dialogue launched in Sofia in July 1996 during the meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of South-East European countries. The First Conference of Speakers of Parliament was held in Athens in 1997.

Meta held a joint press conference in Tirana with the Kosovo parliament speaker, Kadri Veseli, who said that the decision was “historic” and will help in raising the number of countries that recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

The president of the SEECP for 2014-2015 is Albania. Kosovo becomes the 13th member of the organization, with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, Turkey, Croatia, Moldova, Montenegro and Slovenia.

Kosovo is a former Serbian province populated by nearly 1.8 million people, over 90 percent of whom are Kosovo Albanians.

Kosovo declared its independence on Feb. 17, 2008 and is recognized by about 110 countries, including the U.S., the U.K, France, Germany and Turkey. Serbia, Russia and China are among countries that have not recognized the country’s independence.