Four messages for Serbs and Albanians from Derek Chollet

The Serbs will have to accept a certain level of sovereignty in the end and Kosovo must grant more autonomy to the Kosovo Serbs, especially with the Community of Serb Municipalities in the north of Kosovo, said US State Department Counselor Derek Chollet.

Chollet, who stayed in the region during the 1990s as a part of the team of then Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, visited Belgrade and Pristina for the first time this week, now in the capacity of a special adviser to the State Department.

 In an interview with the Financial Times, this official described the “step by step” approach as a potential path to progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, or as a solution.

 The first step would be for Serbia and Kosovo to normalise relations, even without full mutual recognition, as other countries have done, Chollet said.

While the Serbs will eventually have to accept a certain level of sovereignty, Kosovo must give its ethnic Serb citizens greater autonomy, especially allow them to form the Community of Serbian Municipalities in the north of Kosovo.

After the latest tensions in the north of Kosovo, Chollet said that the US is intensifying diplomatic pressure on Belgrade and Pristina to prevent “violence from metastasising”.

 “The last thing any of us wants right now is a crisis in this part of the world, given that we have the biggest crisis since World War II not far from us”, Chollet was quoted as saying.

 He also said that the US does not want crisis diplomacy, but rather that Belgrade and Pristina start concluding an agreement based on the proposal of the European Union.

As for Serbia imposing sanctions on Russia, Chollet underlined that Serbia should not hesitate with imposing sanctions as Russia’s behaviour towards Ukraine has been inexcusable.

Chollet also said that the USA sees Serbia as a constructive partner and that both countries have numerous common interests that they should work on, including energy and diversification. “-We support Serbia’s efforts to diversify its energy sources, increase energy efficiency and work on better connectivity of the region, as well as on increasing the use of renewable energy sources. We are at a crucial moment when it comes to our relationship,” he concluded.

(Blic, N1, 15.01.2023)


This post is also available in: Italiano

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