Suriname’s decision to withdraw its recognition of Kosovo is important, James Ker-Lindsay, a professor at St. Mary’s University in Britain, has told b92.net.

According to him, this is the case because so far, there has been “a perception that Kosovo’s acceptance by the international community is a one way street – countries recognize it.”

“This is the first time a country has reversed that decision. This is undoubtedly significant,” said Ker-Lindsay.

Asked why Suriname chose to do so, he replied:

“It is hard to say. There may be several reasons. Part of it may be to do with Serbia’s lobbying. It has also been suggested that the country has moved closer to Russia recently, and that this could be linked to that. It could also be based on concern over sovereignty.”

And is it possible for a country to simply revoke its decision?

“The letter was strangely worded. Under international law, it is argued that revoking recognition is not in fact possible. This is the line that Kosovo has taken. In fact, revoking recognition and not accepting another country’s sovereignty over the territory in question would not seem to be possible. However, it is perfectly possible for a country to change its position on sovereignty. (If this was not possible, no states would ever be able to merge as other countries would not be able to recognize this change.) In this sense, Suriname can certainly choose that it no longer accepts Kosovo as an independent and sovereign state and that it regards Serbia as having sovereignty over the territory. This is what was not made clear in the letter. However, the fact that it was sent to the Serbian Government would suggest that this was the intention. The letter would seem to be valid,” Ker-Lindsay said.

Asked whether more countries could now revoke their recognition of Kosovo, he remarked, “Obviously, Serbia will be hoping so.”

“I am not sure if this is the start of a wider trend of whether it is a one off. My sense is that it is possible that some others may take a look at recent developments in Catalonia and Kurdistan and chooses to revise their recognition,” the British professor said, and added:

“However, I would expect very few to do so. It is more likely that countries that have not recognized Kosovo will become even more determined not to do so. However, it is also possible that Suriname’s decision may push Kosovo’s supporters to increase their efforts to persuade countries to recognize it. In recent years, the battle for recognition has been relatively quiet. We may now see it heat up again.”

B92