Hovenier and Chulik: Yesterday’s KP action was not coordinated with international partners, Kosovo government has to address the basic needs of all citizens

Ambasador SAD Džef Hovenijer Intervju
FOTO: KoSSev

“This action was not coordinated with international partners and it escalates tensions. It undermines perceptions of Kosovo’s good faith in resolving outstanding issues with Serbia through the EU-facilitated dialogue,” the US ambassador to Pristina, Jeffrey Hovenier, said, reiterating the US State Department’s stance on yesterday’s events in the north of Kosovo.

On Monday, the Kosovo police closed all five branches of the Poštanska Štedionica bank in the north and the Treasury Department of the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Serbia, whereby they confiscated over two million euros in various currencies, along with documentation and forced employees out of those facilities.

The police acted in a synchronized manner, along with the Tax Service of Kosovo, on the order of the prosecution.

The action took place between the visits of US officials – Elizabeth Allen, Undersecretary of the State Department for Public Diplomacy, who visited Kosovo on Saturday and Sunday, and Deputy Assistant Secretary of the US from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, Nicole Chulik, who arrived in Kosovo on Sunday.

In its comment on the latest events in the north, the State Department referred to Allen’s conversation with Kurti. Today, in front of Chulik, who made a statement for a group of journalists in Pristina, Hovenier also recalled Allen’s recent meeting with the Kosovo PM:

“The US government has consistently urged coordination between our governments to support Kosovo’s progress on its Euro-Atlantic path. Most recently, by Undersecretary of State Elizabeth Allen in her meeting with Prime Minister Kurti on May 19.“

Yesterday’s action was not coordinated, he underlined.

“This action was not coordinated with international partners and it escalates tensions. It undermines perceptions of Kosovo’s good faith in resolving outstanding issues with Serbia through the EU-facilitated dialogue.”

He recalled that issues related to these offices were the subject of lengthy discussions, at as many as seven meetings, within the dialogue led under the auspices of the European Union.

He added that the US remains concerned and urges the Kosovo government to return to dialogue, but also to address the „basic needs of all its citizens“, especially those directly affected by the currency regulation.

“We are disappointed that Kosovo Police took action at financial offices in the north of Kosovo at the instruction of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The United States reiterates its clear concerns about the implementation of the amended Central Bank of Kosovo regulation that restricts the import and use of the Serbian dinar in Kosovo. We urge the government of Kosovo to return to constructive engagement in the EU-facilitated dialogue as the proper channel for resolving issues related to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and to address the basic needs of all of its citizens, including those with Serb minority adversely affected by recent changes to currency regulations.”

Chulik: The impact of currency regulation on the community was not adequately taken into account

Nicole Chulik, the US Deputy Assistant Secretary from the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, also reiterated that yesterday’s action by the Kosovo Police and the Tax Service was not carried out in coordination with the US.

“And while we acknowledge the responsibility of the central bank of Kosovo, we’ve consistently expressed our concerns about the manner of its enforcement, and we did not feel that it adequately took into impact how it would affect communities, particularly the ethnic Serb community. So we are watching those situations and are concerned.”

Chulik also underscored that the US needs to make sure that minority rights are respected.

“Minority communities are entitled to specific rights and protections. This also goes for the provisions for fair representation of minorities in the executive and the parliament. And we need to make sure that those are respected and not abused,” she stressed.



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