Kosovo hasn’t applied for IMF membership: spokesman

WASHINGTON – The International Monetary Fund said on Thursday Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia earlier this month, had not applied for IMF membership.

“Kosovo has not applied for membership,” IMF spokesman Masood Ahmed told a regular press briefing, adding that if the country were to seek membership it would have to be considered by the IMF’s board of member countries.

Kosovo’s possible membership in the world’s premier financial institutions like the IMF or World Bank is likely to be challenged by member countries that oppose its independence, especially Serbia and Russia.

China has said it was “deeply concerned” with Kosovo’s independence move while Cyprus, Slovakia, Romania, Spain, Georgia and Sri Lanka oppose the move.

The United States and some major European powers have said they recognized the independence of Kosovo.

The majority ethnic Albanian territory, once ruled as a part of Serbia, has been under United Nations supervision since 1999, when NATO bombing forced the withdrawal of Serb forces.

Since 1999, IMF staff periodically have visited Kosovo to monitor economic developments but the territory has never had access to IMF financial assistance without formal membership.

The European Union and World Bank are currently planning to hold an international donors conference for Kosovo, likely in June. It faces enormous unemployment, poverty and dilapidated infrastructure, with roads and railways in disrepair and water and power unreliable.

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