In a simple ceremony held at the Cook Islands High Commission in Wellington on Monday, the Cook Islands and the Republic of Kosovo formalised diplomatic ties through the signing of Joint Communiqués by Cook Islands High Commissioner to New Zealand Tekaotiki Matapo and Kosovar Ambassador to Australia Dr Sabri Kiqmari.
The Joint Communiqué outlines the agreement of the two governments to develop friendly relations and cooperation on the basis of the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.
Kosovo, previously part of the former Yugoslavia, declared its independence from Serbia in February 2008.
Despite its relative youth as an independent country, since 2008 Kosovo has established diplomatic relations with 108 of the 193 member states of the United Nations including the United Kingdom, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
Like the Cook Islands, Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations, however it is a member of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank and has received significant support from the European Union since 2008 in the rule of law area.
With a population of 1.8 million, Kosovo’s main economic activities are agriculture, mineral mining and base metals.
On the eve of celebrating 50 years of self-government in free association with New Zealand, Kosovo’s development experience provides the Cook Islands a useful example of the political and economic opportunities that can be created for small countries and its citizens by engaging broadly, in a targeted and strategic manner with the international community on issues of interest to that country.
“I look forward to working closely with Ambassador Kiqmari in the coming months to explore what opportunities there might be for cooperation and collaboration between our two countries and peoples, both on the bilateral front and through the multilateral fora,” said High Commissioner Matapo.
The signing ceremony was attended by members of the diplomatic corps in Wellington, including the High Commissioners for Samoa and Papua New Guinea.