Ambassadors say US will help Belgrade, Pristina build trust

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The United States ambassadors in Belgrade and Pristina, Kyle Scott and Phillip Kosnett, wrote in an op-ed piece that Washington will do everything possible to help Belgrade and Pristina build trust in order to shape and implement a comprehensive agreement which would include mutual recognition.

In their piece, published by Politika in Belgrade and Zeri in Pristina, the two ambassadors said that a historic agreement to normalize relations could be reached in 2019 if both sides end their provocations, show a strong commitment to peace and return to the dialogue mediated by the European Union.

They appealed to Pristina to revoke the tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina and called Belgrade to respond in a constructive manner. “If you do that, we feel optimistic that you can reach a historic agreement to normalize relations in 2019,” the two ambassadors wrote.

They expressed the conviction that political leadership with a vision could bring about a comprehensive agreement between Serbia and Kosovo, adding that this would lay the foundations for a peaceful and progressive future for all the people in the region.

Scott and Kosnett wrote that Washington believes that a solution must be viable in both Kosovo and Serbia and has to contribute to long-term regional stability. “It is up to the leaders and their teams to return to the EU-mediated negotiations and look into every possibility and communicate openly with their citizens,” they said.

According to the ambassadors, the Belgrade-Pristina agreement has to be comprehensive and mutually beneficial so both sides can share its success, adding that the US has joined in the process to make sure the two sides shape and implement a viable agreement successfully.

They warned that the status quo obstructs both sides economic and political progress and encouraged experts and young people to seek their future in stable states with dynamic economies.

“Organized crime, corruption and other extremist elements are spreading and becoming a threat to regional and European security,” the ambassadors said.

Scott and Kosnett said Kosovo and Serbia are seeing no benefits from further obstruction and delays, adding that their citizens deserve a future in which their children and grandchildren will live in peace instead of in conflicts and economic troubles.

“A lasting and viable compromise agreement is in the interest of both countries. The long-term stability and prosperity of Kosovo and Serbia depend on their return to the dialogue and the courage to overcome the past and build a common future. If Kosovo and Serbia are prepared to take that path, the US will be on your side at every step,” the ambassadors wrote.

 

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