Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti

Petr Dubinsky

Serbia, Kosovo Agree To Normalize Economic Relations

Serbia and Kosovo have announced that they are normalizing their economic relations after today’s talks in Washington with US President Donald Trump. The arrangements also include agreements with Israel: Belgrade will move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Pristina and the Jewish state will establish official diplomatic relations, Reuters and AP reported.

After two days of talks at the White House, mediated by US officials, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti have reached an agreement that they say will contribute to job creation and foreign investment. Further details on the content of the deal were not disclosed immediately after the talks.

“This is a truly historic moment,” Trump said after signing the agreement at the White House Oval Office, where he stood by the two Balkan countries’ leaders. “I look forward to visiting both countries in the not too distant future,” he added.

According to the AP agency, this is Trump’s diplomatic victory before the November presidential election. It also moves forward its efforts to improve Israel’s position on the international stage. The Trump administration recognized Jerusalem as the Israeli capital in 2017 and calls on other states to do the same.

Vučić is to meet Hoti again on Monday when a meeting is planned in Brussels under the patronage of the head of the EU diplomacy Josep Borrell and the EU representative for this issue Miroslav Lajčák. The EU has been working to mediate the Kosovo-Serbian dialogue for about a decade.

Representatives of the Albanians, who make up most of Kosovo’s population, unilaterally declared the region’s independence in 2008. It happened less than a decade after Belgrade lost control of its province after an armed conflict ended by NATO airstrikes on Serbia. Negotiations on Belgrade’s normalization with Pristina, which were suspended two years ago, resumed in July.

Kosovo’s independence has been recognized by about half of the UN member states, including most EU countries, including the Czech Republic, and the United States. On the other hand, Serbia, China, India, and Israel, for example, support Serbia’s opposition. So far, Pristina has not received recognition from five EU members – Slovakia, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, and Romania.