From: Alice Elizabeth Taylor
Pompeo Reiterates Call For Kosovo to Lift Serbia Tariffs

Washington has told Kosovo President Hashim Thaci that they expect the country to lift its 100% tariffs on Serbian imports.

Thaci who is visiting the US met with top US officials including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who “reaffirmed the strong partnership between the United States and Kosovo, rooted in a commitment to shared valued and our support for a sovereign independent Kosovo”. According to a statement released by Pompeo’s spokesperson, he also called on Kosovo to build on its momentum and drop tariffs to “fully maximise the economic and commercial benefits to people in both countries.”

This, he said, was an essential step towards reviving negotiations on comprehensive normalisation of relations with Serbia.

The US has been one of Kosovo’s biggest backers in terms of its independence, following Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008. Despite this, Serbia continues to consider Kosovo as a part of its territory

In a step toward improving ties, Serbian and Kosovar officials earlier this year signed letters of intent to establish air, rail, and highway links between Pristina and Belgrade. 

Thaci then met at the Pentagon with Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist, who “reaffirmed the strong relationship between the United States and Kosovo, our shared values, and Kosovo’s status as a sovereign independent nation,” as per a statement.

Defense Department spokesman Charles Summers commented that Norquist “noted Kosovo’s continued support to counter” efforts by both China and Russia, to exert their influence in the Western Balkan region. 

The statement also called on Pristina and Belgrade to “resume efforts aimed at comprehensive normalization of relations in order to ensure a stable and secure environment”.