Three top US diplomats working with Kosovo and the wider Western Balkans region have stated that there is no secret plan for exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia.
The statement comes after the outgoing Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated on Wednesday that he was convinced an agreement between Presidents Hashim Thaci and Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia involving exchange of territories was ready and awaiting to be signed. Kurti claimed that Thaci told him to lift the tariff on Serbian imports as per the US administration’s request, and go together to sign it in Washington.
Following allegations by politicians in Kosovo and Europe, as well as the media worldwide that the US was involved in the orchestrated toppling of the Kurti government on Wednesday, Special Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell, Ambassador Philip Kosnett, and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer issued a joint statement on Thursday.
The full statement reads as follows:
Joint Statement of Special Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell, Ambassador Philip Kosnett, and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer on Kosovo
The United States stands with the people of Kosovo. We commend the continued efforts of the health professionals and others who are working hard, at great risk, to reduce the progress of COVID-19 in Kosovo. In this time of uncertainty, we urge Kosovo’s leaders to follow Kosovo’s Constitution and the rule of law. We are committed to working with any government formed through the constitutional process.
In addition, we continue to urge Kosovo’s leaders to lift the tariffs completely. We believe the tariffs are harming the people of Kosovo by hindering regional cooperation against COVID-19 – including by delaying the entry into Kosovo of needed supplies – and hindering economic growth.
We want to make clear there is no secret plan for land swaps between Kosovo and Serbia, as some have speculated. Special Presidential Envoy Richard Grenell has never seen nor discussed such a plan. The U.S. Government’s focus on supporting the recent agreements to re-establish air, rail, and highway connections between Kosovo and Serbia aims to improve the economy and create economic momentum. We believe this momentum will give new energy to a dialogue process that would lead to mutual recognition.