WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the leading Democrat on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today applauded the decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) bringing Kosovo closer to participation in the Olympics. In a letter to IOC President Thomas Bach, Rep. Engel encouraged the IOC to proceed with full and formal recognition of Kosovo’s National Olympic Committee at its meeting in December.

“The best path forward for Kosovo requires inclusion in major organizations in Europe and on the global stage. This includes the Olympic Games. The Olympics help strengthen ties among people from all over the world, and Kosovo’s athletes are ready to compete. I’m pleased that the IOC has taken this step, and I look forward to the completion of this process in December,” said Rep. Engel.

Text of the letter follows.

Mr. Thomas Bach

President, International Olympic Committee

Château de Vidy

Case postale 356

1001 Lausanne


Dear President Bach:

The decision of the Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee to grant provisional recognition to the Republic of Kosovo’s National Olympic Committee is cause for celebration. International sport is the continuation of diplomacy by other means as it unites people in friendly competition even when the spirit of good sportsmanship proves elusive among governments. This was a wise decision by the IOC, one which will provide an opportunity to compete for previously excluded athletes and for nations to meet on the field of peaceful, healthy competition.

Today, more than 100 countries across the world recognize Kosovo. As well, Kosovo is a member of the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and other prestigious international organizations. Adding the IOC to this growing list is a clear indication of the growing support Kosovo enjoys within the international community.

I understand that the IOC will ratify this provisional recognition with full and formal recognition at December’s session in Monaco and look forward to another opportunity to highlight this small, but significant country in Europe and its talented athletes. With this gesture, your organization will be making a positive difference and gaining new friends among the people of Kosovo as they look forward to rooting for their team at future Olympic Games.

Congratulations to you and the entire leadership of the IOC on this welcome decision.


Eliot L. Engel