Kosovo granted provisional Olympic recognition by IOC

Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:25pm EDT
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By Karolos Grohmann

BERLIN (Reuters) - Kosovo is on track to take part in its first ever Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 after the region in the Balkans was granted provisional recognition by the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday.

It could now achieve full membership as early as the IOC session in December, the IOC said in a statement on Wednesday.

The decision angered Serbia's Olympic Committee which has lodged an official protest with the Olympic body.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, almost a decade after NATO went to war to halt the massacre and expulsion of Albanians by Serbian forces waging a two-year counter-insurgency under late strongman Slobodan Milosevic.

Belgrade refuses to recognize Kosovo, saying the territory, which has a majority Albanian population, is a heartland of the Serbian nation.

"The Executive Board noted that the National Olympic Committee of Kosovo has met the requirements for recognition as outlined in the Olympic Charter," it said in a statement.

"These include the sport and technical requirements as well as the definition of "country" as defined in Rule 30.1 – “an independent State recognized by the international community.” Kosovo is recognized as a country by 108 of the 193 UN Member States."

It will vote on its full membership at its session in Monaco in December.   Continued...