Ambassador of the United States to Serbia, Kyle Scott, spoke on the political talk show Catch 23 produced by FoNet about the future of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. He reiterated that the position of the US in this matter is to listen more carefully and take into account the positions of both Serbia and Kosovo. He also stated that the final settlement between Kosovo and Serbia will have to be more elaborate than “drawing a line on a map” and include minority and property rights as well as topics related to transitional justice. However, the Ambassador also emphasized that it is “important for Kosovo that they also receive the legitimacy and international recognition they deserve”.
Correction of borders
Answering the question about the possibility of border correction, Ambassador Scott stated that while there are no red lines, the final settlement needs to be implementable and bring stability.
“In the first place we have not made a decision, one way or the other, what we said is that we want to give the parties space to reach an agreement. We are not drawing a red line and saying this is excluded or that is excluded. What we are saying is that, it looks to us the leaders are serious, they want to discuss things. We are ready to be open and listen to whatever solution the two of them can reach, that they believe can be implementable, is durable and will lead to stability in the region. And we will take a look at whatever that result is and we are not excluding any possibility at the outset.”
Although open for any ideas, Mr. Scott also stated that the US will look for a more stable and durable solution which requires an approach that is more wholesome than a border change.
Is the border correction a trump card in the relations between the US and Germany?
„I do not agree. I think that things in the Balkans have nothing to do with our bilateral relations with Germany. Chancellor Merkel is very clear about what she thinks about border correction. I understand her concern, the US understands that. Britain has a similar point of view. Nevertheless, we see great opportunities to make progress with the agreement in this way and we do not want to exclude any option in this process. We are not in a position to say that we are in favor of this or that, but what we do say – let Serbia and Kosovo have the space to find what they need in order to negotiate a viable solution. I do not believe that the solution is only in border changes, for it to be sustainable it must be much more comprehensive,“ Scott replied.
“I think another key element to this idea of border adjustment or demarcation, I do not think it can be as simple as drawing a line on a map. A comprehensive settlement is going to have to take into account a lot of other things: the rights and safety of the Serbian minority in Kosovo, Serbian ethnic heritage in Kosovo, property issues, the question of missing people, the questions of war crimes. There are any number of other issues that still need to be resolved and that will have to be included within any sort of comprehensive settlement.”
Kosovo deserves a seat in the UN
Mr. Scott stated that one of the major benefits for Kosovo coming out of the agreement with Serbia should be a seat in the UN.
“Clearly, we recognise the independence of Kosovo, we believe that they deserve a seat in the United Nations. I think that people of Kosovo believe they deserve a seat in the United Nations. […] It would be very important for Kosovo that they also receive the legitimacy and international recognition they deserve.”
The EU – US relations?
Speaking about foreign policy and the relation of the US with the EU, Ambassador Scott explained that it is in the US’ interest that its natural ally is strong.
“United States recognise that we cannot go alone in the world. There are any number of challenges we face in the world and our natural allies in almost all of these challenges are here in Europe, on the European continent. So, a strong Europe is in the interest of the United States, even a strong European competitor, on the economic front can be a strong European partner in peace stability and facing the global challenges we all have.”
Are Kosovo leaders buying freedom, while the Serbian leader is buying a new mandate, with these negotiations?
„No. We have two leaders who are moving towards the solution of the agreement that they know is important to their people. The issue of war crimes, trials – our position on this will not change, regardless of the agreement. I will not comment on the internal politics of Serbia now, here,“ Scott replied.
Is the US changing their policy towards Serbia?
The policy of the US towards Serbia has been consistent, aiming towards a reconciled, integrated Balkans, but the new administration is more open to hearing the position of Serbia, stated Kyle Scott, the US Ambassador to Serbia for FoNet.
“Yes and no I think is the answer. Let me start with the no. No, I think that our policy has been pretty stable. We based our policy in trying to build a Western Balkan region which reconciles past and builds a future for progress and growth and integration into the European Union and that has not changed. But every new administration comes in to review the policies of the past administration and as part of that, this administration has made it very clear that they want to hear all sides out to make their conclusion. And in that extent, I think there has been a change because Serbia feels that America is listening to it more carefully now and take its views into account. I think it is clear that if there is going to be an agreement on Kosovo, it has to be in the interest of both Serbia and of Kosovo.”
Speaking of the influences of China and Russia in the region, the Ambassador stated the two are different, whereas China focuses more on the economic influence through loans and investments, the Russian influence of the Western Balkan countries is more “malign” aimed at “creating division in Balkan countries in order to keep them from their goal and their strategic goal, which is movement towards the European Union.”
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