Whose side is US on, Serbia or Kosovo?
US State Secretary Mike Pompeo has called on Kosovo authorities to abolish the tax on goods form Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (increased by 100 percent).Source: B92, Tanjug
Pompeo did this during his meeting in Washington on Monday with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci.
The US official "encouraged Kosovo to seize this unique window of opportunity to reach a historic comprehensive normalization deal with Serbia under the EU-facilitated Dialogue process," a press release from the US State Department said.
"He urged Kosovo authorities to rescind the tariffs placed on imports from Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina, and to work with Serbia to avoid provocations and deescalate tensions," the press release continued.
Pompeo also said that "normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia is the only way to clear the path to both countries’ future integration into the Western community of nations" and that the United States is "ready to help and support the parties to reach a solution that is durable, implementable, and increases stability."
According to the press release, Pompeo "reaffirmed steadfast US support for a sovereign, independent Kosovo, fully integrated into the international community."
This was the first US reaction to the increase of taxes on goods from central Serbia that was this clear in condemning Pristina's act.
After the meeting, Thaci announced that he spoke with Pompeo about bilateral, regional, and wider issues, and that he "received the US state secretary's support for reaching a legally binding agreement in the dialogue with Serbia."
"At this meeting there has also been discussed about the new mandate of the KSF, as a multiethnic force and about regional cooperation and the Euro-Atlantic perspective of Kosovo. President Thaci has also thanked Secretary Pompeo for the support he has given to the transformation process of the KSF into an armed force," a press release issued by Thaci's cabinet said.
“The US supports Kosovo for reaching a comprehensive agreement with Serbia, which paves the way for mutual recognition and the membership of Kosovo into NATO, the EU and the UN," this press release added.
The US support, according to Thaci, is decisive for reaching this agreement and creating greater consensus inside and outside Kosovo.
"It was a joint conclusion that if we do not use this historical momentum, we risk to enter a dangerous cycle not only as Kosovo but also as a region. Therefore, the only way to conclude the Balkans issue once and for all is to reach a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia," said Thaci.