Who’s in charge of Kosovo-Serbia talks?

Sallie Anderson

The United States is pressing Kosovo and Serbia to make a peace offer, over a year after the last EU-led talks happened.

In a brand-new gambit, senior American characters have actually threatened to take out United States soldiers from Kosovo unless it made concessions.

  • EU foreign service chief Josep Borrell was in Pristina and Belgrade in January (Image: consilium.europa.eu).

“Now, with historic progress in sight, Kosovo must do its part and abolish all duties imposed on Serbia. If Kosovo is not fully committed to peace, then the US should reconsider its presence there,” David Perdue, a Republican United States senator, tweeted on Tuesday (10 March).

Rand Paul, another Republican politician senator, likewise tweeted: “I encourage Kosovo to turn a page and work with Serbia for a lasting peace. Time to bring our troops home”.

Perdue’s remarks were retweeted by Richard Grenell, a United States unique envoy on the Western Balkans, triggering alarm in Kosovo.

The United States president’s boy, 42- years of age business person Donald Trump Jr., likewise retweeted Perdue, including:”There are 650 US troops in Kosovo. Time to get them home”


Perdue’s referral to “abolishing duties” follows Kosovo enforced a tax on Serbian imports in 2018 due to the fact that Serbia had actually obstructed its acknowledgment by international bodies.

The 650 United States soldiers are the biggest contingent out of 3,526 soldiers in a Nato peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

The United States likewise led the air campaign that ended the Kosovo War in 1999, offering the American flag added symbolic weight.

” Nato stays completely dedicated to our Kfor [Kosovo Force] objective, which … continues to offer a safe and safe environment and flexibility of motion for all neighborhoods in Kosovo,” a Nato official informed EUobserver in response to the United States tweets.

The United States pressure follows EU-led Kosovo-Serbia talks on “normalising relations” stalled in November 2018.

Kosovo president Hashim Thaçi and Serbian president Aleksandar Vučić often rubbed shoulders at international occasions, such as the Munich Security Conference.

However the official EU-led settlements never ever resumed despite the fact that EU foreign relations primary Josep Borrell had actually required it in when he went to Pristina and Belgrade in January.

At the exact same time, Grenell handled to arrange talks in between Thaçi and Vučić at the White House on 3 March.

” America has actually lastly taken control of the dialogue in between Kosovo and Serbia [from the EU]”, Thaçi stated in Washington.

Grenell, who is likewise the United States ambassador to Germany and acting director of United States national intelligence, declined to comment on whether Thaçi was right when gotten in touch with by EUobserver.

His own retweet of Perdue need to not be viewed as a danger to take out United States soldiers from Kosovo, Grenell informed thiswebsite And current reports by Kosovo paper Bota Sot that a draft United States offer consisted of the alternative of a territorial swap in between Kosovo and Serbia were incorrect, headded


When likewise asked about Thaçi’s remarks on the United States taking over the peace procedure,

“Of course not,” an EU foreign service spokesperson stated.

The EU “welcomed” the United States “engagement”, the spokesperson stated.

However “the EU is the only internationally tasked facilitator of the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue … No one else is organising it,” the spokesperson added, mentioning a UN required for the EU’s diplomacy.

“The talks the leaders from Serbia and Kosovo might have had in the US were not part of the EU-facilitated dialogue,” the EU spokesperson stated.

“Nato also fully supports the continuation of the EU-facilitated dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina,” the Nato official stated.

If it came at the expense of UN requireds,

Some EU sources thought the White House was pressing for a fast offer in between Kosovo and Serbia even.

However whoever was in charge, the EU foreign service voiced a gentler technique than the United States.

” We can not force them [Thaçi and Vučić] to take a seat behind one table if they do not wish to,” the EU spokesperson stated.

Land swap

Talk of a land swap in between Kosovo and Serbia has in the past drew in strong criticism from Germany, which cautioned that border changes simply 20 years after the Western Balkan wars might destabilise the area.

And German chancellor Angela Merkel has actually likewise attempted to take the effort by welcoming Kosovar and Serbian leaders to Berlin next week.

On The Other Hand, the United States line is that it depends on the 2 celebrations, Kosovo and Serbia, to pick areas, leaving the door open for the land-swap alternative.

However whether the United States or the EU foreign service was actually in charge of the procedure, that alternative appeared to stay on the table.

When asked if the EU foreign service backed the concept, the EU spokesperson stated: “The objective here is full normalisation of relations through a legally-binding agreement”.

“The content, extent, nature, and scope of such an agreement is to be determined by the two main actors (Belgrade and Pristina)”, he stated.

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