“Higher customs duty for the goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina must remain in force despite the criticism from the United States, Germany and other Western countries”, Kosovo Foreign Minister Behgjet Pacolli told in an interview for Deutsche Welle (DW).
“We have to show them that Kosovo has its own pride. We have been a state for ten years now. We cannot allow anyone to trample on what we have achieved so far. It would be wise for the Serbs to understand that independent Kosovo has been a reality since February 17, 2008. That cannot be overturned,” Pacolli told DW in Berlin, where he is on an official visit, marking ten years of bilateral relations between Germany and Kosovo.
“We can already see how these higher customs fees are painful for Serbia. That is why I believe that they too will understand that all we are left to do with is to talk as equal negotiators, as two independent states, and to talk about the future,” he added. Pacolli also said that Kosovo was ready to withdraw the higher customs duty only if “all signed agreements” were implemented, and if there is “100 per cent reciprocity between Kosovo and Serbia”.
Pacolli also claims that he has been saying since 2007 that northern Kosovo should be a transformed into an economic zone with a part of territory belonging to Pristina, and part to Belgrade, while a third party should run it.
“That’s how I see the solution. But, it may be too soon for such ideas,” Pacolli added.
Speaking about the recent visit of the European Commissioner Johannes Hahn to Pristina, and his statement that visa liberalization for Kosovo must wait until at least 2020, Pacolli noted: “Europe is not doing the right thing here. We did the homework and met all 95 conditions. The citizens of Kosovo lost their confidence in Europe. I don’t why did Mr Hahn come to Kosovo to persuade to persuade us to abolish higher customs duties. He has to talk to Belgrade first and tell them that Kosovo now functions as an independent state.”
Commenting on the Solomon Islands recently withdrawing their recognition of Kosovo’s independence, Pacolli said:” This country must have seen a strong interest elsewhere. Their document states that they have withdrawn the recognition until the dialogue with Serbia is concluded. Such a thing cannot be prevented. There are many countries in this world and we are constantly lobbying. Of the 360 days I have been in office, I spent 182 abroad.”
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