Thaci after Washington: Historical success, last step to finalise Kosovo’s statehood

Hašim Tači
Foto: KoSSev

Two messages arrived on the same day from the two presidents who met in Washington on Monday. „No grand deal was discussed and nothing like that exists,“ the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic announced in Belgrade. On the other hand, his Kosovo counterpart, Hashim Thaci revealed that „it is likely that something will be achieved that has not been achieved in two decades.“

After returning from Washington, the Serbian President, Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaci addressed the public on Wednesday at two separate press conferences – one was held in Belgrade and the other in Pristina.

“There has been a lot of false and fake news in the past days about how agreements are being reached on Kosovo, and that a plan has already been made. No, it has not been discussed and there is no such thing. I would tell you if there was a plan, I don’t hide anything from my people,” Vucic said on two occasions – at the TV Pink studio’s and in the Presidency building.

Different expectations arrive from his counterpart

„It’s an historic success and the meeting signifies a willingness to continue the process after more than a year. The meeting also facilitates an agreement. Kosovo has achieved freedom with sacrifice. This is the last remaining step for a full international finalisation of our statehood – membership of the UN means membership in all international organizations,“ Kosovo President, Hashim Thaci said in Pristina on Wednesday.

According to him, this meeting was important because it marked „the return of the United States to the pursuit of a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia,“ and credit for this, in his words, goes to Donald Trump and Richard Grenell.

„I met with Aleksandar Vucic at the invitation of Richard Grenell and in the presence of Robert O’Brien. This meeting is important for several reasons – it signifies a strong US return to the process of seeking or negotiating a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.“

„It signifies our readiness to continue the dialogue, it brings an agreement closer. It is likely that something will be achieved that has not been achieved in two decades” – Thaci described the events in Washington.

„We have a shot now, not tomorrow. We have the support of President Trump, and the attention of Special Envoy Grenell. We have a chance to close the war chapter with Serbia.“

He also expressed gratitude to the well-known Albanian lobbyist and the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Eliot Engel for his continued support.

“We have agreed that Washington’s attention on Kosovo is returning and that this opportunity should be seized to reach a final peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia,“ he said, revealing that he assured his US partners that Kosovo politicians would not do anything to undermine special relations and mutual trust between Kosovo and the US.

Thaci also shared his belief that, with the US role, Serbia’s recognition will happen and that the agreement with Serbia „will be in accordance with the Kosovo constitution.“

„We have to have trust in ourselves. I am convinced that mutual recognition will happen. This is a big deal that will determine the lives of future generations, so no one can escape this responsibility for Kosovo’s future.“

Harsh words for the EU

While assessing the US role in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue as „leading“ and „historic,“ at the same time, the Kosovo President also criticized the EU’s role.

„The European Union is unjust, deceitful and punitive,“ he said, while also describing its role as „depressing“.

Thaci further criticized the EU for its failure in the dialogue, as well as for failing to convince five of its members to recognize Kosovo, as well as Serbia itself. „There is no chance that they will ever do that, let alone persuade Serbia to ever recognize it,“ he added.

„The odds are bleak. I don’t even see any effort. The role of Brussels is depressing” – he said, speaking of the possibility of the EU persuading Serbia to recognize Kosovo after nearly a decade of Brussels dialogue.

While claiming that „the efforts of the Brussels Dialogue should be appreciated,“ he also added: „Unfortunately, we did not achieve exactly what we wanted, but the potential that could have been realized in Brussels was achieved.“

„However, this process did not achieve what we absolutely wanted. The lack of unity in EU countries was also reflected in the chances and chances of reaching a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia.“

Before holding the press conference, Thaci first requested to speak before the Kosovo Assembly. His request, however, was soon denied by Assembly Speaker, Vjosa Osmani, who told him that the request had „no indication of urgency“ and that his address could only be scheduled after March 9th.

The Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti sent a letter to Thaci the day earlier, requesting a meeting with the Kosovo president. In yesterday’s address, Thaci failed to specify whether the meeting had actually taken place. Both high-ranking Kosovo officials, nevertheless, sent messages about the need for a unified policy in the dialogue.

The Kosovo president urged all political stakeholders to unity and for there to be no differences between political parties and individuals.

Thaci’s address arrived after Kosovo Prime Minister, Albin Kurti wrote Thaci a letter, asking him to meet to agree on a common foreign policy. So far, however, Thaci had not responded to Kurti’s letter.

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