Sunday, May 9

President Joe Biden Says ‘Mutual Recognition’ Key To Kosovo-Serbia Talks

President Joe Biden has said that mutual recognition between Serbia and Kosovo will be at the center of a future peace agreement between the two nations, and that normalization of relations with Belgrade will be essential to end the international isolation of Pristina.

In a letter to Kosovo’s new president, Vjosa Osmani, Biden said the United States would work with his administration on issues of corruption and strengthening the rule of law, as well as developing the country’s economy and fighting the COVID pandemic. -19.

But “equally important,” he wrote, “[are] efforts to secure a lasting peace through a productive dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and, ultimately, a comprehensive normalization agreement.

“Normalizing relations with Serbia is essential for Kosovo to realize its potential and fully integrate into Euro-Atlantic institutions. I know that achieving that goal will require flexibility and difficult compromises along the way.”

Osmani, who was elected president last month after Albin Kurti’s VetĂ«vendosje movement won overwhelmingly in the February elections, shared Biden’s letter on Twitter.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after Serbia’s invasion of the territory between 1998 and 1999 ended with a NATO bombing campaign. Biden led efforts in the US Senate to support NATO intervention, which ended an ethnic cleansing campaign by Serbian forces.

Serbia, along with Russia and China, still refuses to recognize Kosovo as an independent state and has actively lobbied for other nations to withdraw their support.

Both the European Union and Washington have participated in efforts to promote dialogue between the two countries that could result in a lasting peace agreement.

In 2020, President Donald Trump invited the leaders of both nations to the White House to sign a normalization agreement that did not include Serbian recognition of Kosovo.

Trump called the agreement “historic” and appeared to believe that Kosovo and Serbia were still at war during a strange press conference in Washington, but critics pointed out that the agreement was of little substance and left most of the main sticking points between the two. two. unresolved countries.

Kurti, who ran on an anti-corruption platform, did not prioritize Kosovo’s dialogue with Serbia during his campaign. One day after the elections Kurti told Euronews that any dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia depended on Belgrade recognizing Kosovo, apologizing for the war and paying reparations,

Those conditions are unlikely to be accepted by Serbian hardline President Aleksander Vucic, whose nationalist base considers Kosovo a province of Serbia.

In his letter, Biden spoke with emotion of his and his family’s close relationship with Kosovo, including that of his late son, Beau Biden, who worked in the capital Pristina after the war training judges. In 2016, Kosovo named a road in honor of Beau Biden, who died of cancer in 2015.

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