Kosovo & Serbia sign U.S-mediated agreement

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 4, 2020 17:47

Kosovo & Serbia sign U.S-mediated agreement

TIRANA, Sep. 4 - President of the United States Donald Trump has announced that Serbia and Kosovo have agreed to economic normalization, according to White House's official Twitter.

“Another historic agreement reached by this President to make the world a more peaceful, prosperous place”, tweeted Judd Deere, White House Deputy Press Secretary.

A photograph released by Reuters journalist Jeff Mason shows the signing ceremony with the delegations of Kosovo and Serbia in the Oval Office.

The agreement

Kosovo and Serbia agreed to implement the highway and railway constructions between the two countries, as signed earlier this year. As regards education, Serbia agrees to recognize Kosovo diplomas.

The agreement further states that Kosovo pledges to join the Mini-Schengen zone launched by governments of Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia "and fully utilize its benefits."

Both countries pledge to work closer on missing persons, exchange of information and fight against crime, and diversify their energy supplies - including the Ujman Lake. However, Kosovo agrees to stop attempts for membership in international organizations for one year, and Serbia agrees to stop its derecognition campaign for the same period of time.

They pledge to declare Hizballah a terrorist organization and as previously anounced by U.S. President Trump, Israel pledges to recognize Kosovo.

Both countries agree to prohibit the use of 5G equipment provided by untrusted vendors.

Finally, both countries pledge to protect religious minorities, in particular the Serbian Orthodox Church in Kosovo, and push for decriminalization of homosexuality in all 69 countries that haven’t done so.

Reactions

The president of Kosovo, Hashim Thaçi applauded the signing of the agreement and the leadership of Trump's administration for the achievement of this agreement.

"I salute the signing of agreement between ‪Kosovo‬ and Serbia today in Washington. Grateful to ‪the White House‬,‪ Donald Trump‬, and‪ Richard Grenell‬ for their leadership in this process. Kosovo now will continue working on economic development , jobs, and further domestic & international consolidation." Thaçi has written.

The President of the Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, Ramush Haradinaj also welcomed the agreement about which he previously expressed doubts due to the involvement of the issue of Lake Ujman located in northern Kosovo.

In a post on social media he wrote that “true friends always understand the right concern. Glad that our concerns at the point of contention for Ujman, have been reflected in the signed Agreement. Our belief in the role and commitment of the United States of America has always been unshakable and remains so!"

On the other hand, the Vetëvendosje Movement party harshly criticized the agreement, stating that “what was called economic normalization today, looks more like an "economization" of the failure of territorial exchange. Above all, the government lied in vain once again, because mutual recognition was not achieved, while Kosovo's internal affairs were once again dealt with by Serbia, which is unacceptable."

"The agreement brings Serbia closer to Kosovo, while recognition by Serbia is not approaching," LVV added in its statement.


During the week, there was talk about the possibility of President Trump meeting with the President of Serbia and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, but there was no confirmation until Thursday evening. After the first day of talks between Kosovo and Serbia in Washington, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that draft proposals which included mutual recognition were presented at the meeting, but he had rejected such a thing.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Abdullah Hoti did not answer whether such a thing was proposed but said that "harmful, unacceptable agreements for Kosovo, have never come and will not come from the White House."

Earlier, President Donald Trump's Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Richard Grenell denied that the issue of mutual recognition was raised at the negotiating table, as Serbian Finance Minister Sinisa Mali initially told the media.

On Thursday, the National Security Council wrote that it had “very good talks this afternoon with the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia. They made real progress. Economic normalization means jobs for young people, adding that talks would continue on Friday.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, said before the meeting that only mutual recognition would be discussed with Serbia, while the Serbian President said that he expected a difficult meeting, but "giving up is not an option."

Tirana Times
By Tirana Times September 4, 2020 17:47