Kosovo faces two processes, organized by its partner countries, the United States on the one hand, and the European Union, on the other, which have the same goal, dialogue with Serbia and reaching a final viable agreement between the two countries, experts estimate.
However, they comment that Kosovo’s institutional leaders should be careful in their next steps, to wait for the details of the two procedures to be clarified and, as they say, should be careful not violate relations with the United States or Europe.
Richard Grenell, US special envoy for peace talks between Kosovo and Serbia, announced a meeting between the two sides on June 27 at the White House in Washington.
Meanwhile, EU’s special envoy for dialogue between the two countries, Miroslav Lajcak, on Tuesday from Pristina that Kosovo’s progress on the European path is possible only through the EU, and announced the resumption of the dialogue process in Brussels, inviting Kosovo’s Prime Minister Abdullah Hoti to visit Brussels.
Jeta Krasniqi, an analyst at the Democratic Institute in Kosovo, told Radio Free Europe that over time, both US and EU mediation processes will be clarified.
“It seems to me that the European Union, in this case Lajcak, does not mention mutual recognition, as we know that there are five EU countries that do not recognize the state of Kosovo. This makes his role more difficult, in the sense that he cannot speak so openly. We now see Grenell, who represents the United States, who has supported Kosovo since 1999 until its independence, making it clear that there must be mutual recognition. The Kosovo side needs to see how it can get the most out of the two ongoing processes”, Krasniqi says.
Political analyst Artan Muhaxhiri told Radio Free Europe that the European Union is currently trying to strengthen itself in relation to the United States of America, regarding the final stage of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue. According to him, this attempt to strengthen the EU is due to what he calls the huge measures taken by the US government in relation to the dialogue process.
According to Muhaxhiri, the EU is expected to try to meet and advance the dialogue, always in relation to the current legacy of Brussels in this process, but also in relation to Washington’s great persistence.
“However, the EU is a very complex and sensitive political body, where there is a great deal of diversity. That is why it is very difficult for EU representatives to bring to the table ideas for specific solutions, which can be done by the representatives of the United States of America, who have more direct power, but also greater persistence in making decisions. While in all current geopolitical and geostrategic plans in the Balkans, the EU and the US have cooperated”, Muhajiri says.
In Washington, the beginning of the last stage of the dialogue
But Kosovo is facing the dilemma of whether to choose a process led by the United States and another by the EU.
Experts say clarification of both procedures is needed and that transatlantic co-ordination is needed so that Kosovo does not find itself between two processes, because Kosovo’s goals are to work with the United States and the EU, which it sees as international allies.
Political analyst Krasniqi stresses that Kosovo is not and should not become Serbia, which, according to her, is playing the card of Russia and China. Kosovo, she says, has only one orientation, the Euro-Atlantic.
“These are two parallel processes, but we hope to have at least clarity in the coming weeks and months about what those processes contain. It is a delicate process with Serbia. We have demanded the commitment of the United States, which is happening, and we must now be careful and prove our state maturity, without having a disastrous approach to our international partners. But let’s see. We need coordination and clarification, as well as to know clearly what we expect from both of these processes and how we want to promote our interests”, Krasniqi says.
The European Union’s special envoy for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, Miroslav Lajcak, told Pristina on Tuesday that he did not know if he would be present at the June 27 meeting in Washington, where the delegations of Kosovo and Serbia are to meet.
Analyst Muhaxhiri estimates that Lajcak was sincere about this meeting. According to him, the meeting of June 27 in the White House will be only the initial meeting of the process.
“No agreement should be expected from the meeting in Washington, but a kind of start should be expected for the last stage, where the broad framework of what the two sides can expect will be presented and then the further steps will be analyzed in the coming weeks. However, it is certain that in the coming weeks there will be an exceptional dynamic, a “double diplomacy” in relations between Kosovo, Serbia, Brussels and Washington, in order to find a solution acceptable to all parties”, Muhaxhiri says.
Political analysts estimate that in the coming weeks, while the United States has a clear initiative in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, the EU will invest more energy and seek its position and political benefits in the final stages of the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.
The Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, mediated by the European Union, began in 2011 in Brussels. It has been suspended since November 2018, when Kosovo authorities imposed a 100 percent tax on goods from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This measure has been replaced by reciprocity, but the new government of Kosovo Prime Minister Abdullah Hoti has lifted all measures in a bid to remove obstacles to continue dialogue with Serbia.
In October 2019, the United States appointed Richard Grenelli as special envoy for the talks between Pristina and Belgrade./ibna