Kosovo”s foreign minister has sent a letter to Apple, asking for her country’s borders to be displayed on maps.
On Sunday, Meliza Haradinaj posted an image of her letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on Twitter, urging the company to “take immediate steps to correctly present Kosovo’s internationally recognized borders in its AppleMap Service”.
On Apple Maps, Kosovo is shown as part of Serbia, something the minister said was in “in direct contradiction of the political and legal realities.”
“It is felt as [a] hurt by our citizens who suffered immense losses in our independence struggle,” said Haradinaj.
“It is also perceived as an insult to our state.”
The letter added that Kosovo’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs is ready to work closely with Apple on the matter.
Haradinaj also mentioned that other digital service providers — including LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook — had updated “their platform, menus, and options to correctly represent the Republic of Kosovo as a sovereign and independent state.”
Meanwhile, on Google Maps, Kosovo is depicted as a disputed territory with dotted lines.
Apple did not immediately respond to Euronews’ request for comment.
The debate about political cartography in the Balkans was recently heightened by a controversial tweet from UK singer Dua Lipa, whose parents are from Kosovo.
Lipa sparked a huge reaction online by tweeting a map of Kosovo, Albania and parts of some other surrounding countries with the definition of the word “autochthonous”, appearing to suggest Albanians belonged there.
Dua Lipa later said in a statement on Twitter that she did not support ethnic separatism, adding: “We all deserve to be proud of our ethnicity and where we are from.”
“I simply want my country to be represented on a map and to be able to speak with pride and joy about my Albanian roots,” she wrote.
The tweets came after an online petition was launched calling for Apple Maps to show Kosovo as an independent nation. On Tuesday, the petition has more than 170,000 signatures.
Another UK singer, Rita Ora, who was born in Kosovo’s capital Pristina, has also tweeted her support for the country to appear on Apple Maps.
Kosovo seceded from Serbia after a 1998-99 war that ended with a 78-day NATO air campaign against Serbian troops.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence in 2008, but Serbia has refused to acknowledge Kosovo’s statehood, and tensions have simmered ever since.
It is recognised by most European governments and the US, but not Serbia’s main allies, including Russia.
Earlier this month, the European Union praised the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo for resuming face-to-face talks after discussions had been frozen for over a year and a half.