Interpol again rejects Kosovo's membership bid

Interpol member nations picked South Korea's Kim Jong-yang to replace Meng Hongwei who went missing in his native China in September

Interpol's general assembly rejected Kosovo's bid for membership on Tuesday, a decision assailed by Pristina as the result of a "fierce campaign" led by its historic rival Serbia.

It was the third time since 2015 that Interpol's general assembly, meeting since Sunday in Dubai, had voted against allowing Kosovo to join the international police agency.

Interpol said in a statement from its headquarters in Lyon, France, that while the bids of Pacific island nations Kiribati and Vanuatu were approved by delegates, Kosovo had not secured the required two-thirds majority.

Kosovo's government expressed "deep disappointment" with the decision.

"The fierce campaign of the Republic of Serbia once again proved its character against Kosovo and against the idea of normalising relations with the Republic of Kosovo, as above all this membership was technical and not political," it said.

Majority-Albanian Kosovo broke away from Serbia after a bitter 1998-99 war which resulted in 13,000 deaths, and Pristina declared its independence in 2008.

Kosovo says 115 countries recognise it as a sovereign country, but Belgrade has staunchly refused.

Analysts say Serbia worries that if admitted into Interpol, Pristina would seek hundreds of "red notices" -- an international request for arrest -- for Serbian commanders suspected of war crimes.

Blocked by the vetoes of China and Russia, Kosovo has also been unable to join the United Nations, though it has joined other international forums like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.