Palmer: U.S. seeks inclusive Kosovo-Serbia agreement

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 6, 2020 16:34

Palmer: U.S. seeks inclusive Kosovo-Serbia agreement

TIRANA, Aug. 6 - As the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has resumed, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer urged the need for an inclusive agreement between the two countries.

In an interview with the BalkanInsider, the Special Representative of the Secretary of State for the Western Balkans spoke of a number of positive developments in the region that he considered as steps forward on the path to the gradual Euro-Atlantic integration. According to Palmer, the United States wants to see an inclusive solution that will serve not only the countries in dialogue, but the entire region.

He emphasized that there have not been any talks of exchanging territories between the two countries.

"We are focused on supporting an EU-led process to reach an inclusive agreement that leads to the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo that, ideally, would have at its core mutual recognition. The rise of the idea of exchanging territories, I think, diverts attention from the main goal, which is for the parties to sit down, discuss these issues and identify the way forward towards normalization," Palmer said.

Palmer expressed support and trust from the U.S.' part towards international institutions committed to establishing justice for the Western Balkans, emphasizing the establishment of the Special Court for Kosovo.

"We hope that these institutions of justice will be able to fulfill their mission and mandate and eventually be dissolved in the future and that justice and the rule of law will be in the hands of the institutions of the respective states," he added.

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci was indicted on war crimes and crimes against humanity charges, by a special international prosecutor in The Hague, only three days before the special summit with Serbia was due to take place at the White House.

The Special Court, which operates in The Hague under the name Specialized Chambers, was approved in early August 2015 by the Kosovo parliament. Over 200 former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army have been questioned since the beginning of 2019. In July 2019, former Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj was summoned to the special prosecutor's office, who resigned, bringing the country to early elections.

Palmer further stressed that the United States remains committed to a Euro-Atlantic future for Serbia, but added that the country must meet the standards for that future, including democratic reforms. "We hope that Belgrade and the Serbian government will continue to see the United States as a partner in this process, but there is no question that they have a lot of work ahead," he said.

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times August 6, 2020 16:34