Petritsch: The Balkans region is no longer so important to the United States
Former EU envoy for Kosovo Wolfgang Petritsch states that Belgrade - Pristina dialogue is currently "further from the solution than it was earlier".Source: Kosovo online
Austrian diplomat said, in an interview for Kosovo online, that the EU and the United States are also busy with internal problems and that Washington sees the Balkans more as a "problem" of Europeans.
Asked whether the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina had reached the point that there could be no further progress unless Pristina complied with the agreement - the Community of Serbian Municipalities, Petritsch said that "categorical statements such as that there is no progress if that does not happen - are always heavy"...
"The idea of territory swap would be such an alternative, which, however, seems to be excluded under the current conditions. As for the Community of Serb municipalities, it should be noted that Pristina has committed itself to its implementation in an international agreement binding under international law. The Brussels Agreement was also ratified by the Parliament in Pristina. I believe that the requirements for the implementation of promises and respect for the agreement are completely natural and understandable - that should be the minimum for Pristina," Petritsch said.
Asked if he expects any changes with the appointment of Gabriel Escobar as the new US envoy for the Western Balkans and the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Petritsch says that he is convinced that the new administration will have a different approach than in the time of Trump.
"But it's not because of Palmer or Escobar - as an official from 2016 to 2020, Palmer eventually had to implement the political guidelines of the Trump administration. I guess, on the one hand, we will see a return to traditional American positions in dealing with the region. On the other hand, it can be said that the Balkans and Southeast Europe as a whole are less important in American politics than before, the US is very occupied with internal problems. Washington is looking more closely at Beijing and Moscow, as well as global challenges such as cybercrime, climate change and the like - the Balkans are increasingly seen in Washington as a 'problem' for Europeans," he said.
When asked if he can see the "end" of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Petritsch responded:
"I'm afraid we're currently further from a solution than we have been in previous years. However, if I've learned anything from my experience as a diplomat, it's that it's better not to make predictions. Solutions and new approaches in confusing situations often come completely unexpectedly..."