Trump’s envoy visits Kosovo in push for new talks with Serbia

One America News Network 1 month ago

October 9, 2019

By Fatos Bytyci

PRISTINA (Reuters) – A special envoy of U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Kosovo on Wednesday three days after it held an election, in a new push to restart talks with Serbia to reach a final deal that would pave the way for Kosovo’s membership in the United Nations.

Kosovo, a former province of Serbia, declared independence in 2008, but this has not been recognized by Belgrade. Both countries have been strongly encouraged by the United States and EU to normalize their relations with each other.

Negotiations abruptly stopped a year ago when Kosovo imposed 100% import tariffs on goods produced in Serbia.

Kosovo will soon have a new government after a snap parliamentary election on Sunday. Albin Kurti, whose center-left Vetevendosje party narrowly won the most seats, has been given a mandate to form a government. He has said he would revoke the tariffs but impose other measures against Serbia.

Kurti, who met the visiting U.S. envoy Richard Grenell at the U.S. embassy, said: “The content and process of reaching a deal (with Serbia) are more important for the deal to be sustainable, rather than the timeline for reaching that deal.”

Last week, Trump appointed Grenell, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, as special envoy for talks between Belgrade and Pristina. Kosovo President Hashim Thaci said Grenell’s mission showed that Washington was committed to Kosovo.

“This gives us confidence and trust in searching for a peace deal with Serbia,” Thaci said in a statement after meeting the U.S. envoy. “Active participation of the U.S. will be decisive to find a final solution between Kosovo and Serbia.”

Grenell is due to travel to Belgrade to meet Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday.

Last year, Thaci and Vucic signaled that they might agree to a land swap to resolve territorial claims the two countries have against each other, but both faced strong opposition to the idea domestically and abroad.

Kosovo’s highest court ruled that talks between the two countries should be led by the prime minister, rather than Thaci.

Kurti said he will not support any land swap but that he was ready to take part in an EU-mediated negotiation with Belgrade.

Serbia lost control of Kosovo after 1999 NATO bombing to halt killings and expulsions of Kosovo’s majority ethnic Albanians by Serb forces during a counter-insurgency. The United States remains Kosovo’s biggest diplomatic and financial backer.

Kosovo is recognized by more than 110 countries, including the United States, but not by Serbia, Russia or China. Once Belgrade and Pristina reach a deal, Pristina could apply for membership in the United Nations, now blocked by Serbia’s traditional ally Russia.

(Reporting by Fatos Bytyci; Editing by Peter Graff)


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Reuters › 1 month ago
A special envoy of U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Kosovo on Wednesday three days after it held an election, in a new push to restart talks with Serbia to reach a final deal that would pave the way for Kosovo's membership in the United Nations.
The New York Times › 1 month ago
A special envoy of U.S. President Donald Trump arrived in Kosovo on Wednesday three days after it held an election, in a new push to restart talks with Serbia to reach a final deal that would pave the way for Kosovo's membership in the United Nations.
The New York Times › 1 month ago
U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for talks between Balkan rivals Serbia and Kosovo has traveled to Serbia's capital as part of a renewed push to restart negotiations to normalize relations between the two countries.
ABC News › 1 month ago
U.S. President Donald Trump's special envoy for talks between Balkan rivals Serbia and Kosovo on Thursday traveled to Serbia's capital as part of a renewed push to restart negotiations to resolve the region's key problem
The New York Times › 1 month ago
U.S. President Donald Trump's newly-appointed special envoy for talks between Balkan rivals Serbia and Kosovo has arrived on his first visit to the troubled region.
ABC News › 1 month ago
U.S. President Donald Trump's newly-appointed special envoy for the talks between Balkan rivals Serbia and Kosovo has embarked on his first visit to the region
The New York Times › 2 months ago
Kosovo is electing a new parliament amid calls for leaders to resume dialogue with Serbia over normalizing ties.
ABC News › 2 months ago
Kosovo is electing a new parliament amid calls for leaders to resume dialogue with Serbia over normalizing ties
ABC News › 2 months ago
Kosovo holds an early general election on Sunday amid calls for the resumption of dialogue with Serbia.
The New York Times › 2 months ago
Kosovo is holding an early general election Sunday amid calls for leaders to resume dialogue with Serbia over normalizing ties.
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