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Donald Trump, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti at the White House President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, seated left, and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti, seated right, at the White House, Washington, Sept. 4, 2020 (AP photo by Evan Vucci).

The EU’s Rivalry With the U.S. Is Complicating Serbia-Kosovo Talks

Monday, Nov. 9, 2020

The recent U.S.-brokered agreements between Serbia and Kosovo to normalize their economic ties have been portrayed by all three governments as a momentous diplomatic achievement. “By focusing on job creation and economic growth, the two countries were able to reach a major breakthrough,” President Donald Trump said at a White House signing ceremony in September, standing alongside Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti. Both leaders committed to moving forward on direct transportation links and other infrastructure projects, with the hope of boosting economic development, particularly in Kosovo, one of the poorest countries in Europe.

The announcement came as the European Union tries to advance its own parallel talks with Serbia and Kosovo, aimed at getting them back to the table after negotiations broke down two years ago. The EU has been mediating between the two countries since 2008, when majority ethnic-Albanian Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. Belgrade has staunchly refused to recognize Kosovo and has successfully thwarted its efforts to gain membership in the United Nations and other international bodies. While the White House claims it coordinated the recent economic deals with EU officials, there are signs that Brussels is viewing America’s efforts as an unwarranted encroachment. ...

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