Emini: Agreement reflects US foreign policy goals; It is far from what the parties expected

Foto: Klan Kosova

The agreement signed in Washington yesterday reflects U.S. foreign policy goals and it is far from what was expected by the parties, at least by Kosovo and Prime Minister Hoti, who has been trumpeting about mutual recognition – albeit it was widely known that recognition was extremely unlikely to happen – Donika Emini, the executive director of the Civikos platform, told KoSSev the day after the Serbian and Kosovan delegations signed an agreement on economic normalization in the White House, in the presence of US President Donald Trump.

“A simple breakdown of the agreement shows that it is crafted to be linked to the US agenda in the Middle East which is reflected by the fact that the agreement oddly links the recognition by Israel. This agreement comes after the historic peace agreement between Israel and United Arab Emirates,” Emini said, adding that this is also best reflected in Trump’s tweets – i.e. the part of the agreement the US president focused on.

The US President, Donald Trump sent two messages on the topic of the agreement via Twitter yesterday.

“Another great day for peace with Middle East – Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalize ties and establish diplomatic relations. Well-done! More Islamic and Arab nations will follow soon!”

Trump also sent a similar message to Serbia:

“Congratulations to President Vucic for announcing the move of Serbia’s Embassy to Jerusalem by July. It is a brave and historic move!”

This last provision of the agreement which refers to the mutual recognition of Israel and Kosovo, that is, to Serbia opening an office and embassy in Jerusalem, will definitely have consequences, Emini underlined.

“This action will also have an implicit impact on how Turkey will perceive the latest developments, thus marking a turning point on how other foreign actors (Turkey in this case) play in the region,” she said.

Emini added that another element that shows clear foreign policy interests of the US. is the provision on the 5G network infrastructure.

“Both parties will prohibit the use of 5G equipment supplied by untrusted vendors in their communications networks. Where such equipment is already present, both parties commit to removal and other mediation efforts in a timely fashion,” reads a provision in the (separate) documents signed by Hoti and Vucic.

“The prohibition of the use of 5G from other non-trusted sources directly blocks the Chinese investments in Serbia – the war with Huawei which is widely known already.”

In the middle of last year, the US banned its companies from doing business with China over what is seen as a global race to develop 5G network infrastructure. According to world IT experts, in this global race, China and its tech giant Huawei have a point lead.

According to Emini, the fact the parties signed two different agreements, the one signed by Vucic does not include the last point of the recognition of Kosovo by Israel, clearly reflects the fact that “even in Washington DC Kosovo and Serbia are not symmetrical in terms of power and statehood.“

Thus, making no difference from what has been already done in Brussels.

Emini also noted that this is not the only parallel with Brussels as the agreement includes some of the points on the infrastructure projects which already exist in the framework of the Brussels Dialogue. It is the same case with the recognition of diplomas.

There is serious lack of creativity in this regard.

One of the most contentious points of the agreement for the Kosovo public – Avdullah Hoti’s coalition partner Ramush Haradinaj even threatened to leave the coalition if that point remains in the agreement – is the one related to Gazivode, i.e. the preparation of a „feasibility study for the purposes of sharing Lake Gazivode/ Ujmani, as a reliable source of water and energy supply.”

“Ujmani/Gazivoda Lake will remain a hot issue as it is vaguely defined now, it will depend on how parties proceed after the feasibility phase and whether there will be interest to further continue with the investment,” Emini stressed.

A positive outcome of yesterday’s agreement, Emini argued, is the fact that “what has been feared” did not take place.

This agreement, however, has put down – at least for the moment – the debate over territorial exchange or separation of Kosovo – Emini noted.

It will be seen how issues will develop and how genuine the two parties will be in implementation. Among others, it also depends on how “vigilant and strict” the US will be in monitoring the implementation – she concluded.

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