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SEPTEMBER 2020

Kosovo And Serbia Sign Normalization Deal In U.S., Recognize Israel And More

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Kosovo And Serbia Sign Normalization Deal In U.S., Recognize Israel And More

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On September 4th, US President Donald Trump issued a statement on the “historic commitment” of the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia.

The deal was signed in the White House.

“After a violent and tragic history and years of failed negotiations, my Administration proposed a new way of bridging the divide.  By focusing on job creation and economic growth, the two countries were able to reach a real breakthrough on economic cooperation across a broad range of issues.”

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic said that “this is a good agreement for Serbia, and it would sound triumphant if I said congratulations, but I am sincerely pleased, like all members of our delegation, with what we have achieved.”

The Serbian side considers the categorical refusal to recognize the “republic” as a special victory – after all, the Kosovar prime minister Avdulla Hotti previously stated that he was going to discuss only the issue of recognition of independence in Washington.

One of the key points of the agreement is the inclusion of Kosovo in the Balkan “mini-Schengen”, which will put an end to the anti-Serb trade provocations of Pristina, which previously imposed 100% Duties on Serbian goods imported into the territory of the region.

It is also planned to build a number of highways and railways – in particular, railways through Kosovo to the Albanian port city of Durres on the Adriatic coast. Pristina promised to stop attempts to seize the property of the Serbian Orthodox Church and respect court decisions in her regard, and the United States promised to become the guarantor of the safety of Serbian shrines and clergy in Kosovo.

The US is using the chance to push some other agenda in the normalization of ties, these include: the participation of both sides in promoting the decriminalization of homosexuality, the recognition of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization and the ban on the use of 5G equipment from “unreliable suppliers” (this obvious relates to China) look rather strange.

Both sides agreed on the following points:

  • Implementation of the agreements on road and rail traffic between Belgrade (as well as Niš) and Pristina.
  • Participation of Kosovo in the “mini-Schengen”, previously announced in the agreements between Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia.
  • Mutual recognition of diplomas and qualification certificates.
  • Diversification of energy supplies. (what would that mean? is this a hint of Russian gas?)
  • A ban on the use of 5G equipment from “unreliable suppliers” (an obvious allusion to the Chinese company Huawei, which has already begun to deploy a network in Serbia).
  • Implementation of court decisions regarding the Serbian Orthodox Church.
  • Work with 69 countries that criminalize homosexuality to advance its decriminalization.
  • Recognize Hezbollah as a fully terrorist organization and fully implement measures to contain its operations and financial activity.
  • Pristina agrees to an annual moratorium on applications for membership in international organizations. Serbia agrees to a year-long moratorium campaign to revoke the recognition of independence, and will refrain from formal or informal requests from any countries or international organizations not to recognize Kosovo as an independent state.

A significant point in support of recent US foreign diplomacy is the support of Israel, recognizing Jerusalem as its capital, and approving of its annexations.

This is also a part of this normalization deal.

Serbia agreed to open a chamber of commerce office in Jerusalem on September 20, 2020, as well as move its embassy to Jerusalem by July 1, 2020.

Kosovo and Israel agreed to mutually recognize each other. It is unknown if Kosovo would also open an embassy in Jerusalem, but it should presumably happen sooner or later.

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