Senator Murphy: Vucic willing to make a deal about Kosovo but angry about tax

A US senator representing Connecticut , Chris Murphy, who recently visited Pristina and Belgrade with another senator Ron Johnson, believes that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is ready to sign an agreement with Kosovo and recognize its independence, but is currently “mad as a hornet” about the 100 per cent on Serbian goods (imposed by Kosovo). 

In his blog about his recent visit to Belgrade with the Republican Senator Ron Johnson, the Democratic senator from Connecticut said: “We both believe that he (Vucic) is willing to strike a deal with Kosovo to recognize their independence, but right now, he is mad as a hornet over the 100% tariff. We both press him to get back to the negotiating table as soon as possible, and he says that as soon as the tariff is lifted, he is ready to talk again.”  

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The senator also says he was told by officials of the US embassy in Pristina the tariffs have badly hurt Kosovo’s fragile economy. Murphy added that the visit to Serbia by the two senators lasted just a few hours but that it was important “because the Trump Administration gives little attention to the still simmering conflicts in the Balkans”.  

“Our visits to places like Belgrade and Pristina are the highest-level American delegations these countries are likely to receive during Trump’s tenure. And especially in a place like Serbia, which also has strong relations with Russia, it’s important for Americans to keep showing up so that we keep our relationship alive,” he wrote, adding that “the visit ended with a very well attended press conference with Vucic, where we all reaffirm the importance of the US-Serbia relationship”, Senator Murphy added.

He went on to say that “Kosovo’s leaders complained to us about how the breach between the U.S. and Europe was affecting their security.”

“The central issue in both Serbia and Kosovo is the negotiations for Serbia to finally recognize the independence of their young neighbouring country (Serbia still considers Kosovo part of its own territory, even if its leaders know they eventually have to recognize Kosovo’s independence in order to enter the EU). To get that recognition deal involves a complex negotiation, and those negotiations are currently on hold because Serbia suspended talks until Kosovo suspends the controversial tariff. The leaders tell us that these days, the United States and Europe come to Pristina and give them different advice on how to break the impasse — they don’t know who to listen to. More fallout from the disastrous Trump foreign policy,” Senator Murphy concludes.

(Radio Free Europe, 18.09.2019)

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