Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Alexander Vucic and Hashim Thaçi, met in Washington yesterday, at the invitation of the US special envoy Richard Grenell. The topics discussed were not made public, but Thaçi stated he would “immediately report” to Parliament on this particular meeting and on others throughout the past week in the US.
Thaçi announced the meeting in a Facebook post, where he praised the US and President Trumps support for Kosovo. He added:
“I am on my way back to Kosovo. I expect to be able to immediately report to the Parliament of the Republic of Kosovo on Wednesday or Thursday, to inform MPs and citizens of Kosovo on meetings in Washington and more specifically on today’s meeting. Kosovo will be even stronger by having united institutions, political parties and citizens. The US is our hope and faith. We are forever grateful!”
Kosovo’s Deputy Prime Minister Haki Abazi said the government heard of the meeting from the media, and that they had no information on what was discussed. He repeated Prime Minister Albin Kurti’s calls on the need for all institutions to unify the country’s foreign policy stances.
Abazi said Thaçi is “continuing his own agenda” and “exceeding his constitutional competencies.”
Prime Minister Albin Kurti has been facing growing pressure on dropping tariffs on Serbian goods since he came to power less than a month ago. His decision to drop tariffs in two stages within March did not satisfy the US envoy Grenell, who asked for a complete and unconditional drop. Pressure on the Kosovo government has only been growing since.
Kurti said the government would reinstate tariffs if Serbia did not stop its lobbying on countries to withdraw recognition and membership of Kosovo in international organizations. Yesterday President Vucic announced his government was expecting another withdraw, which was confirmed today by Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic, who stated that Sierra Leone withdrew its recognition but then added that: “”The President of Sierra Leone has instructed the Foreign Ministry to reconsider its position on Kosovo’s recognition.” Whilst the withdrawal of recognition in this case remains unclear, the Serbian government’s will to continue it’s derecognition policy and use it as leverage in preparation for the coming dialogue is crystal clear.