It’s been a week of one step forward and one step back for partially recognized states in the Old World trying to solidify diplomatic support in the Americas. The Republic of El Salvador became the 105th sovereign state to recognize the independence of the Republic of Kosovo, but the Republic of Haiti surprised observers by revoking its diplomatic recognition of the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic (S.A.D.R.) (a.k.a. Western Sahara), the former Spanish Sahara mostly occupied by Morocco.
The October 4th announcement on Kosovo came via the Twitter feed of Enver Hoxhaj, the country’s foreign minister, who learned of El Salvador’s decision through the Kosovar embassy in New York. Kosovo had most recently received recognition from Libya, Grenada, and Thailand. The former Serbian province, still claimed by the Republic of Serbia, has been steadily gaining diplomatic partners following the signal moment in December 2012 when the Commonwealth of Dominica, a former British colony in the Caribbean, became the 97th United Nations member-state to grant recognition, which pushed Kosovo over the 50% mark (as reported at the time in this blog).
|Countries that recognize Kosovo are shown in green.|
In the case of Greece, Kosovo’s secession still brings up ugly memories of the predominantly-Slavic Republic of Macedonia’s emergence from the wreckage of Yugoslavia in 1993. Athens still points out that Macedonia is historically a culturally-Greek region lying mostly within Greece (Alexander the Great was Macedonian, for example). Greeks also seem unable to shake memories of the Second World War, following which a new Macedonia within Yugoslavia—with the current republic’s borders—was founded by partisans of a fascist insurgent army which had connived in Nazi-allied Bulgaria’s invasion of Greece and had tried to seat an Aromanian nationalist as voivode (prince) of an independent Slavic state in the Macedonia region that would be a refuge for Greece’s Aromanian minority as well. (Aromanians speak a language related to Romanian.) Romania itself, a staunch European Union and NATO member, will probably come around. (See more detail on Kosovo’s status in my blog article from last year on the subject.)
|The dotted line shows the approximate extent of the traditional Greek region of Macedonia.|
Other European holdouts include Spain, which has its own internal Basque and Catalan separatist movements, and Slovakia.
|Countries that recognize the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic are in green. Dark grey are those, including Haiti, that have withdrawn recognition over the years. The S.A.D.R. itself is in red.|
|In red is the territory controlled by the partially recognized Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.|
|Haiti symbolizes freedom from colonialism for many sub-Saharan Africans—|
but this week not so much.
[Also, for those who are wondering, yes, this blog is tied in with a forthcoming book, a sort of encyclopedic atlas to be published by Auslander and Fox under the title Let’s Split! A Complete Guide to Separatist Movements, Independence Struggles, Breakaway Republics, Rebel Provinces, Pseudostates, Puppet States, Tribal Fiefdoms, Micronations, and Do-It-Yourself Countries, from Chiapas to Chechnya and Tibet to Texas. Look for it some time in 2014. I will be keeping readers posted of further publication news.]