German media: Trump sways Vucic and Hoti away from EU’s policy in the Middle East

By intertwining two “hotspots” that are inherently complicated, Kosovo and the Middle East, the US President, Donald Trump used Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti for the accomplishment of his strategic goals and put them in opposition to the EU’s common policy in the Middle East, the German newspapers write.

In an article titled “Serbia and Kosovo move embassies – The winner of Trump’s Balkan summit is called Israel”, the Swiss daily, Tagesanzeiger recalls that the vast majority of countries have their own diplomatic missions in Tel Aviv since they do not want to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel until the dispute is resolved with the Palestinians who see East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

Stating that the United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem under the Trump administration in 2018, the paper writes that their example “has so far only been followed by Guatemala, and Serbia and Kosovo will be next”.

Tagesanzeiger also states that Serbian President Vučić was stunned when Trump announced the part of the deal that referred to the relocation of the Serbian embassy to Jerusalem, and that, as White House records show, he flipped through the documents with obvious irritation.

“Vučić knows Trump opposes the EU’s positions. But Vučić is also known for his so-called pendulum policy, where he balances between official Brussels, Washington, Moscow and Beijing ”, writes the Swiss daily.

The Swiss daily also reports that “A side door remains open for Vučić. Serbia should first open a trade mission in Jerusalem. The embassy should only be opened in the middle of next year. By then, Trump could no longer be the president and Vučić could retire, citing resistance from the EU. “

The European Union has warned Serbia and Kosovo on Monday that they could undermine their EU membership hopes by moving their embassies in Israel to Jerusalem, as US President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement about the change left officials in Belgrade and Priština scrambling to limit the political fallout, the AP reported on Monday.

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The news agency also said that the EU was surprised that Serbia agreed to move its embassy to Jerusalem in a deal brokered by the Trump administration which included Israel recognizing Kosovo. “Serbian officials appeared to be watering down their commitment to Trump, and Kosovo sought to allay concerns among Muslim countries,” it said.

“There is no EU member state with an embassy in Jerusalem. Any diplomatic steps that could call into question the EU’s common position on Jerusalem are a matter of serious concern and regret,” European Commission spokesman Peter Stano said.

Stano, speaking as Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minster Avdullah Hoti were holding a new round of talks in Brussels on normalizing their relations, said the EU was told in advance only about the economic aspects of the White House agreement, not about moving embassies to Jerusalem.

Vučić and Hoti recommitted to the European track, saying “that they attach the highest priority to the EU integration and to continuing the work on the EU-facilitated Belgrade-Priština dialogue.” In what was described as a “joint statement” issued by the office of EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Vučić and Hoti also said they “committed to redoubling their efforts to ensure further EU alignment in accordance with their respective obligations.”  

(N1, 07.09.2020)




This post is also available in: Italiano

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