Cultural agency UNESCO has narowly voted against granting membership to Kosovo.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, a decade after NATO airstrikes drove out Serbian forces from Kosovo. That halted massacres and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians during a two-year brutal counterinsurgency campaign.
Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s secession, along with UN Security Council members Russia and China.
Serbia claims the vote was a moral victory.
“I think this is a sort of triumph of truth and triumph of virtue, perhaps a small step but a step that could lead to the healing of international organisations and international relations,” said :26 Darko Tanaskovic, Serbian Ambassador to UNESCO.
To become a member of UNESCO, Kosovo needed a two-thirds majority, but Monday’s bid fell short by just three votes.
“The rejection to Kosovo’s membership bid into UNESCO, it is a missed opportunity in order to advance the vision, the values, and the goals of this organisation, and their promotion within Kosovo,” said Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo.
Kosovo is recognised by more than 111 states and is already a member of the World Bank, the IMF, and the Olympic Committee.
But it’s been struggling to join other international organisations because of objections from Serbia.