U.S. message: "Pristina has the right not to accept territorial changes, but then..."
"We still don't know what the Biden administration's attitude is towards the Balkans," said John Bolton, a US diplomat and former Donald Trump adviser.Source: Kosovo online
It is also said that "if Albin Kurti is not interested in the Washington agreement, then that agreement is dead."
As Bolton points out, the important question is what attitude the Biden administration will take towards the Balkans in relation to Trump, but also that Washington is currently dealing more with domestic issues than with foreign policy.
Asked how much the Balkans are in the focus of the current US administration, he said:
"Well, it's obviously an important question, but I don't think we really know the answer at the moment. Biden's campaign has avoided answering many foreign and domestic questions, and I think the Biden administration is focusing on domestic issues at the moment, not foreign policy, so I don't know when we will get an answer to that question".
He further states that when he tried to interfere in the agreement between Pristina and Belgrade, and at the suggestion of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, among others, and when he was a US national security adviser, Europeans were very unhappy when they heard about his interest.
"The EU has been negotiating for more than a decade without any significant progress and the US would contribute to a new perspective. I believe that reaching an agreement should be a priority, even if compromises need to be made that seem painful, because then you can move forward in every way. For example, in terms of the name of Macedonia and the change to North Macedonia, it is still the same country, with the same people, the issue with Greece has been resolved and we hope that everyone can move forward together," he said. A
sked whether the Washington agreement is dead after all statements by Prime Minister Kurti that it is not good for Kosovo, he states that it is if Kurti is not interested. "Well, if he's not interested in reaching agreement, then it's dead. This is the basic rule of negotiation, you have to have two sides that want to agree on something. The main thing is the US role in everything, in the Kosovo-Serbia conflict or whatever. Former Secretary of State Jim Baker, who testified before Congress on the Arab-Israeli issue, said that 'the United States cannot want peace more than the parties to the conflict', so when two parties to the conflict want to achieve peace, they will do it for themselves, and not because of peace negotiators from the side", he said.
He states that when he was the national security adviser, and talked to President Hashim Thaci and President Aleksandar Vučić, that the possibility of a minor territorial correction was considered and discussed.
"If we could overcome the break-up of Yugoslavia in 1991, and I know that history goes back much longer than 30 years, then it could be part of a larger package that would lead us to a solution. If people don't want to talk about territorial correction, by definition put together one possible component solution and narrow down the options for a solution and by definition create a situation where a solution is more difficult.
The Kosovo government has every right to say that it does not want to discuss territorial correction, but I think that then it practically means there will be no progress in the negotiations", he says and adds that he did not see the influence of Richard Grenell on the Balkans.