US threatens Pristina: Abolish tax or face sanctions

An 8-point document, drafted by the US National Security Council and the State Department, wants Pristina to immediately suspend the higher duty imposed on goods from Serbia  – TV station, Klan Kosova reports.

Otherwise, Pristina will face US sanctions in the shape of Washington withdrawing its support to the Kosovo Security Force (KSF) – Kosovo-based Albanian language press reported on Monday.

The document expresses “deep disappointment” because, as stated, Pristina did not do anything that would be a positive reflection on the letter of US President Donald Tramp sent to Hashim Thaci.

In contrast, the measures have been extended to other products.

“Success and achievement of the agreement are not linked to the role that Federica Mogherini and the EU play in the process. The agreement is in a strategic interest of the United States, therefore, it is unacceptable that the irresponsible moves of the Kosovo leaders cast doubt on this strategic goal,” the document says.

According to Klan Kosova, the document has been sent to the Pristina government. 

Earlier, the daily Koha reported, cited by Radio Kontakt Plus, that they learned from the US embassy in Pristina the move had been requested repeatedly from the Kosovo leadership. 

“We strongly encourage the renewal of focus on Kosovo’s key goals – a European perspective and normalization of relations with Serbia,” the embassy said. 

The document goes on to say that Pristina implemented the said measures without any consultations with the United States.

Washington warns that Pristina’s “irresponsible behavior seriously endangers friendship with the United States”.

“If the tariffs are not suspended immediately, the US will suspend security assistance, that is, the support of the KSF,” says the US National Security Council and the State Department.

However, the Pristina government claims not to have received any message from the US regarding the revoking of trade barriers. 

“We did not receive any request from the United States,” Avni Arifi, chief of the cabinet of the provisional Kosovo institutions’ prime minister, has told Gazeta Express. 

Koha Online reported earlier today that Washington has, via its embassy, urged Pristina to abolish the taxes increased by 100 percent and thus pave the way for the continuation of the dialogue with Belgrade.

Haradinaj: Withdrawing tariff only with a guarantee of mutual recognition

However, Ramush Haradinaj continues to advocate the stance that the Kosovo government will abolish the 100% duty on products from Serbia after receiving international guarantees that the final agreement between Belgrade and Pristina will result in “mutual recognition” (of independence).

After the US National Security Council and the State Department warned Pristina to withdraw the extra duty on products from Serbia or would otherwise be sanctioned, the Kosovo Prime Minister wrote on his profile on Facebook that until the required guarantees were provided, the measure would remain in place.

Haradinaj also says he is deeply convinced of the possibility of reaching a legally binding comprehensive agreement with Serbia, which will result in mutual recognition.

“We are working intensively on the final agreement. We have done everything to ensure that, when we sit down to negotiate with the representatives of Serbia, we have solid basis, facts and arguments,” said Haradinaj .

He claims that the introduction of a 100 percent tariff is not directed against reaching the final agreement with Belgrade.

On the contrary, says Haradinaj, the government will “temporarily suspend the tariff only if given international guarantees that the final agreement will result in mutual recognition”.

(RTS, 14.01.2019)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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