"Get rid of taxes, or Camp Bondsteel might be shut down"
Representatives of the US National Security Council visiting Pristina have warned Kosovo authorities that further insistence on taxes would have consequences.Source: RTS
John Erratt and Brad Berkley specified that this includes the possibility of shutting down US army base Bondsteel, located near Urosevac in Kosovo, Pristina-based Gazeta Blic reported late on Thursday.
Unless the taxes (on goods from central Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina) have been abolished, "there will be serious consequences," an unnamed diplomat told the daily, adding: "Besides not issuing visas and canceling assistance to the security sector, failure to give up on the taxes, and the blockade of the dialogue could lead the US withdrawing from Camp Bondsteel."
The same source said that in Washington, there are opinions that Kosovo is "becoming destructive," whereas Serbia "demonstrates more constructiveness regarding a legally binding agreement that would unlock the frozen conflict."
Erratt and Berkeley, who over the previous two days met with all relevant politicians in Kosovo, also conveyed to them that they "represent the voice of (US President Donald) Trump."
At the same time, two US officials believe that a deal between Belgrade and Pristina should be reached by the end of the year, and that failure would mean "stagnation in the foreign policy and internally" for both sides.
The US warning comes after a series of confusing messages by Kosovo officials on the fate of the taxes on products from central Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, raised by 100 percent last November.