The Serbian state delegation, led by the President of the Republic, and the Kosovan delegation, led by Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti met in the White House in Washington under the auspices of the Trump administration to discuss economic cooperation and trade.
One of the points (point 10) in the first draft of a document that both sides are due to sign is clearly indicated the mutual recognition by both countries. “There is no way that I will sign a document stipulating (Kosovo’s) independence. I said it outright,” Vucic told reporters at the end of the meetings.
“The first document we got was titled “economic normalization”. The two sides were invited to share a document, which we had not seen. This document had a lot of information (15 or 16 points), one of which was related to mutual recognition. I refused. This is nothing new, but we were surprised to find a statement of a political nature in a document that was only supposed to be linked to economic stabilization. Trump’s cabinet officials listened to us and reacted accordingly so the second draft of the document did not contain that clause any longer. We’ll see if we can come to an agreement. We arrived willing to reach an agreement and we still hope that is possible, ” Vucic said.
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In terms of economic issues, Vucic said that the agreement has many positive aspects. “All the officials in the Trump administration dealing with economic issues were present. We talked about infrastructure projects, which are good for everyone, but also about financing and investments for small and medium-sized enterprises. I hope that the American Development Fund will open an office in Belgrade. We are committed to getting Pristina into the so-called Mini-Schenghen agreement that would be important for the movement of goods. There are various aspects, but there is an ongoing discussion and we hope to update you tomorrow,” Vucic told journalists.
What does point 10 of the proposed agreement say?
“Both parties are committed to mutually recognize each other, to protect each other’s ethnic minorities, to carry out the restitution of property, to resolve the civil status of individuals and to agree to open offices dedicated to protecting and verify the rights of minorities”, said point 10 of the proposed agreement between Serbia and Kosovo that was presented today to the Serbian state delegation.
Finance Minister Sinisa Mali told at a press conference that the pressure on Vucic is enormous: “The pressure is enormous because, for us, these are very complex issues. President Vucic is fighting, but if he holds out, well, we’ll see. Now back to the talks, we will continue to fight until the end and, as the President said, capitulation is not an option “.
The second round of talks with the American delegation, led by US special envoy Richard Grenell and national security adviser Robert O’Brian, was also attended by Ivanka Trump, daughter of the US President and her husband Jared Kushner, who was involved in concluding a recent agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.
Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti said: “We will not talk about anything other than mutual recognition. We have not made great strides in this issue”.
Voice of America reports that after the White House talks, Vucic and Hoti met separately with the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department.
This post is also available in: Italiano