Grenell: Economic normalization pulling Serbia and Kosovo away from Russia and China, it is Donald Trump’s diplomatic victory

The relations between Serbia and Kosovo were discussed in Washington last Thursday and Friday, however, according to the US administration, the key points of the document on „economic normalization“ are related to the relations of the two sides with Israel and the fact it „pulls them away from Russia and China.“ In that sense, „economic normalization“ between Belgrade and Pristina is „Donald Trump’s huge diplomatic victory,“ the US Special Envoy for peace talks between Serbia and Kosovo and the host and initiator of the Washington meeting, Richard Grenell told the US media.

Richard Grenell was appointed special envoy for dialogue last October, at a time when he was still serving as the US ambassador to Germany. In less than a year, he managed, through numerous activities related to the negotiations between the two sides, official visits, and „Twitter diplomacy“, to lead the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, to sign an agreement on economic normalization.

In the process, Grenell was also accused of overthrowing a government in Pristina – led by Albin Kurti, who often criticized Grenell, but also the role of Kosovo politicians in the process. Grenell has repeatedly denied these allegations.

While the Kosovo public is hotly debating over how useful or harmful for Kosovo this agreement is, the Serbian public is speculating on what was signed in Washington – a bilateral US-Serbia agreement, as announced by the Serbian president, or an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, as Grenell has been claiming.

 

For Grenell, however, the main result of the „brokered commitments” undertaken by Kosovo and Serbia are not in the relations between the two sides, but in the relations between the two sides with Israel, Russia and China.

Speaking about parts of the agreement on economic normalization between Belgrade and Pristina, which, to the surprise of many, regulates diplomatic relations between the two sides with Israel and designates Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, Grenell said that these points are important because the US goal is to “get that portion of the world to be more Western-tilting.”

“In that sense, three aspects of the agreement are important. One, designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization; two, they both agreed to diversify their energy source. That means for Serbia, that is huge, 100% of their energy right now comes from Russia. They have agreed to diversify which means pull away from Russia. And then, they both agreed to do more to recognize Israel and to dig deep into their relationship with Israel. So, Serbia will move its embassy by next July to Jerusalem, and Kosovo and Israel will recognize each other for the first time. This is really moving that region towards the Western-tilt and pulling them away from Russia and China. This is a huge diplomatic win for Donald Trump,“ Richard Grenell said in a short interview for the JSL.

The JSL journalist then commented that „Bosnia is also considering moving its embassy in Israel to Jerusalem,“ citing it as an example of a trend such a decision by Serbia and Kosovo may start. The Serbian member of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, announced that he would send a request to the Presidency of BiH to move the Embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

President Vucic’s interpretation of the agreement on the embassy differs. According to him, moving the embassy to Jerusalem is not a done deal.

„By signing what we signed with the Americans, we made an offer to Israel and said, ‘If you respect Serbia, we will move the embassy in a year,'“ he said immediately after a meeting at the White House.

His media adviser, Suzana Vasiljevic, repeated the same thing this morning.

She said that the relocation of the Serbian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem is not definitive and that Serbia has not signed it.

„The relocation of the embassy to Jerusalem is not a final decision. The next steps will be discussed, and it all depends on Israel’s actions after that. We have not accepted anything so far and nothing has been signed. That point is not on our document,“ said Vasiljevic on Prva TV, Nova.rs reported.

According to Grenell, such an agreement will make Americans safer because it will get more allies that are Western-tilted, and at the same time, it is going to make US and European businesses who are “filled with Western values” expand into this region.

“Instead of Serbia and Kosovo looking to China, they are going to look to America and the western style of business and Europe, to begin to expand their job sector. What that means is that more people in Serbia and Kosovo will be working for companies that have Western values, that is going to translate into the family and over years that is really going to transform the region,” Grenell assessed.

This agreement on the economic relations between Serbia and Kosovo was also described as “ Another major deal!“ on the White House website in the short news – “ How President Trump brought Serbia and Kosovo together“.

“By focusing on job creation and economic growth, the two countries were able to reach a major breakthrough —something that nobody thought was going to be possible,“ Donald Trump was quoted as saying.

The statement by Trump’s national security advisor, Robert O’Brien was also published on the same site – the key side benefit of the normalization of economic ties between Serbia and Kosovo according to him was “the establishment of diplomatic relations between Kosovo, a majority-Muslim state, and the State of Israel.”

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