US Special Envoy for the Balkans Grenell to convince Merkel about Serbia-Kosovo border demarcation?

Edward Joseph, a U.S. political analyst, said that the appointment of Richard Grenell as a special envoy for Kosovo-Serbia negotiations was an indicator that the White House believes it can convince Germany to support the land swap idea.

“This is both positive and concerning. Positive because each U.S. administration that shows increased interest in the Balkans is a good thing. It’s been several years since the U.S. has distanced itself from the Balkans and has lowered it from its priorities. However, this issue requires high-level efforts for Kosovo and Serbia to make progress. At the same time, it is strange and concerning.

Why has ambassador Grenell been appointed when Matthew Palmer has recently been appointed a special representative? Palmer has, of course, extensive experience in the region while ambassador Grenell has worked in the United Nations, knows the region, but not at the same level. It is a good thing that the White House, in times of many other crises, is interested in resolving this issue but, on the other hand, it is strange and remains to be seen what will this mean for the American policy in the region,” Joseph said.

Joseph said it is unusual for the U.S. to have two envoys covering more or less the same region and said this “creates confusion”. “But at the same time, it is not all bad. Grenell is an ambassador in Germany and, although he had disagreements there, is aware of Germany’s concern with regards to the policy raised by the former U.S. national security adviser John Bolton which it seems is in favour of territorial exchange.

The White House may continue to be engaged in the Balkans and believes Grenell is the person that can convince Germany. However, in the views of leaders in the region, the land swap is dangerous and destabilizing.”

When asked by journalists whether the EU should also appoint a special envoy for dialogue and whether this would create confusion, Joseph says that everyone should cooperate.

“The United States cannot lead the two sides to an agreement on their own. Once again, this could be the reason for Grenell’s appointment, because Merkel’s opposition is detrimental to Mogherini’s, Bolton’s, Thaci’s and Vucic’s plans for the partition of Kosovo,” concludes Joseph.

(Blic, 09.10.2019)







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