A cable of the U.S. Ambassador to Pristina revealed: Help

Document has reached State Department coming from the US Embassy in Pristina, informing them that their officials in Kosovo and Metohija experience "hell".

Source: Blic
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Foto: EPA-EFE/ STRINGER
Foto: EPA-EFE/ STRINGER

The cable, signed by U.S. Ambassador Philip Kosnett, said the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo, is “nearing the breaking point.” Even before Covid-19, Kosovo was a tough posting, with air pollution, few green spaces, little chance for outdoor activity & bad infrastructure, "Blic" writes.

All this leads, it is written in a cable, to the fact that “interpersonal conflicts within the embassy are more frequent", a Politico reporter quoted Kosnett as saying.

Pristina even has “ubiquitous packs of stray dogs” that can be “aggressive when hunting for food”, the cable notes. For these and other reasons, embassy staffers have been largely stuck indoors amid the Covid-19 crisis.

The embassy is short-staffed, so staffers are tackling more than their usual share of tasks, all while work-life balance has vanished. “This is having a severe negative impact on my health,” one employee said in a survey described by the cable.

Working longer hours leads to anxiety attacks, chest pains, loss of sleep.

Approximately 20 percent of embassy employees have contracted COVID-19; the vast majority are [Locally Employed] Staff, which is an indication of ineffective disease control in Kosovo,” the cable says.

Kosovo behaves like a country free from COVID-19… But Kosovo is a country ravaged by the pandemic… In the U.S., if you don’t wear a mask in public you might end up in a viral video; in Kosovo you’re more likely to trend on social media because you’re wearing a mask.

There’s a perception that State Department leaders have prioritized vaccination for personnel in Washington. "That is difficult to accept", US Ambassador writes.

Asked for comment on the cable, a State Department spokesperson expressed sympathy, but also said the department has directed “nearly 80 percent” of the vaccine supply it has received to posts in the field using a “hub-and-spoke distribution model.”

he spokesperson added: “When it comes to vaccines, we intend to offer them to 100 percent of department personnel as quickly as vaccine supply permits.”

The Washington Post recently published a story that showed how US diplomats’ concerns about vaccine distribution are fairly widespread.

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