The first-ever ambassador of Kosovo to Bangladesh tells Dhaka Tribune
Bangladesh recognized Kosovo, the newest country in Europe, on February 17, 2017, the day the Balkan nation celebrated the ninth anniversary of declaring its independence. Exactly a year later, Bangladesh and Kosovo, the second youngest country in the world after South Sudan, established diplomatic ties on February 17, 2018.
Kosovo, a formerly autonomous province of former Yugoslavia, emerged as an independent country after a bloody war instigated by Serbia that wanted to thwart Kosovo’s aspiration for freedom.
On August 28 this year, Güner Ureya presented his letter of credence to the president to become the first ambassador of Kosovo to Bangladesh. In an exclusive interview with Dhaka Tribune recently, Ambassador Ureya talked about different aspects of the newly-established relationship and pointed towards the avenues of cooperation in different fields through which both countries can benefit.
He also expressed satisfaction over the cooperation from the government in running the embassy and the hospitality of the people of Bangladesh, and said that both the countries are working on some agreements to enhance cooperation, including trade.
“The Republic of Kosovo has been formally recognized by 116 member states of the United Nations. The geographic scope of recognitions is global. Also, Kosovo is formally recognized by all the neighbouring countries, except Serbia. Kosovo has been recognized by every state that has been most directly affected by the process of dissolution of the former Yugoslavia,” said the envoy when asked about the international standing of his country, which has yet to become a member of the UN.
“Today, the Republic of Kosovo is a functional, prosperous, stable and multi-ethnic state with a diverse society and steadily growing economy. As the newest state in Europe, the Republic of Kosovo vigorously aspires to become a full member of the international community, including membership to the United Nations as soon as it is convenient and possible,” he said, adding that his country is already a member and part of different international and regional organizations.
Referring to Serbia’s opposition to Kosovo’s membership in various multinational organizations, Ureya said: “I would like to emphasize strongly that the independence of the Republic of Kosovo is an irreversible reality and an indispensable factor.”
Asked why Kosovo chose to open an embassy in Bangladesh, he said: “Opportunities for enhancing our bilateral cooperation, development trends, the increasing importance of Bangladesh in the international arena, the cooperation of Bangladesh with European countries, the strategic position of Bangladesh, and also friendly environment in Bangladesh were the main determinants for opening of the Embassy of Kosovo in Dhaka.
“Both countries will benefit from every aspect. For example, we have opportunities to enhance our economic and trade cooperation. We have the interest to enhance cooperation in the fields of defence, especially in global security, education and culture. Knowing each other more closely will enable us to capture opportunities for cooperation in other areas as well,” the ambassador said when asked what benefit both countries could reap from cooperation between each other.
When asked to describe the potentials in terms of trade and commerce between Dhaka and Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, he said: “Unfortunately, we have only around 11 million euro trade volumes between our countries. We need to work more to increase existing trade figures, at least to double our trade volume.
“Soon, both the countries will initiate bilateral agreements for enhancing cooperation between our countries, including the economic field as well. We already have around 70 companies with Bangladeshi capital registered in Kosovo. I'm pretty sure that with bilateral agreements, and with the support of our two governments trade relations between Kosovo and Bangladesh will enhance rapidly,” he added.