After the ouster of Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti over his handling of COVID-19, a top UN official urged the leaders to set aside political agendas to save lives. Zahir Tanin, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Kosovo, told the Security Council that the region is especially vulnerable to the threat of a wider outbreak.
Kosovo, a partially-recognised state in Southeast Europe, became the first nation in the continent last month to vote out its leader over the handling of coronavirus outbreak. Kurti had accused a United States diplomat of being “directly involved” in splitting the party and toppling the government.
Tanin, who is also the head of the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo, expressed his concern over the political instability in the region. He said that it is an unfortunate feature of the present circumstances that political divisions have distracted the attention of many leaders away from the evolving health crisis.
“These divisions have served to reduce public trust in political leadership during a time of heightened public anxiety and uncertainty,” said Tanin during the virtual briefing.
While the UN official welcomed the €100 million in loans from the European Union and a $56.5 million emergency loan from the International Monetary Fund, he called for more resources given the vulnerability of Kosovo. He acknowledged the heroic efforts being made by medical personnel but highlighted that the healthcare resources of Kosovo are stretched thin.
“I urge political leaders...to focus on unifying their energy while putting personal and political agendas aside”, said Tanin.
Kurti and President Hashim Thaci were at the loggerheads over the course of COVID-19 response to fight the pandemic. While the Prime Minister had ordered a curfew and banned public gatherings to contain the spread of coronavirus, President Thanci wanted the government to declare a national emergency. Kurti is currently continuing as the caretaker Prime Minister but the political crisis is yet to get over.
(Image: Twitter / @UNMIKosovo)