Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti on Thursday began a White House summit, which wants to promote “economic normalization” between the two Balkan countries at the heart of one of the thorniest European territorial disputes
“The United States is ready to facilitate economic normalization,” said Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, in a tweet illustrated by photos of the two leaders greeted on their arrival by the American envoy. for Serbo-Kosovar negotiations, Richard Grenell.
The talks are supposed to last two days, and it is not certain at this point that the US president will participate.
In statements to Kosovar media, Avdullah Hoti said he had “extremely positive” expectations.
But if he acknowledged that Washington’s agenda was an agreement on “economic cooperation”, he assured that it would only be “a step towards the final normalization of relations with Serbia, that is to say, mutual recognition “, which he says remains Kosovo’s sole objective.
President Vucic deplored the “many arrogant statements” about “the recognition of Kosovo”. “Surrender is not an option!” He warned in a video posted Thursday on his Instagram account.
The Serbian leader, however, promised to do his best “to reach a compromise on important economic issues.” “We want peace, we want stability, we want progress for Belgrade, Pristina and our whole region,” he insisted.
Belgrade refuses to recognize the independence proclaimed in 2008 by Kosovo after the war in the late 1990s, which left 13,000 dead. And Serbia is supported by its Russian and Chinese allies, while the Americans are among those who immediately recognized the new state.
So far, the Europeans have been at the forefront in the mediation, which must also continue from Monday, when Aleksandar Vucic and Avdullah Hoti will meet in Brussels the head of European diplomacy Josep Borrell.
Richard Grenell, Donald Trump’s emissary, assures him that he wants to break the deadlock by giving priority to concrete economic subjects, hoping that diplomatic normalization will ensue thereafter.
“We are going to reverse the scenario, first give people a little hope about economic growth, and reserve certain political questions for a second time,” said a special advisor to the White House on Tuesday.