Kosovo’s President Aborts Trip to White House after Indictment for War Crimes

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci has interrupted his trip to Washington D.C., where he was headed to take place in the resumption of Kosovo-Serbia dialogue on June 27, facilitated by President Trump’s Special Envoy Richard Grenell.

He has made his decision while he had already departed Kosovo on Wednesday, and after the news about his indictment broke out.

There is no news on Thaci’s actual whereabouts.

Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office announced today that they have indicted President Thaci and former Speaker of Parliament, and head of Kosovo’s Democratic Party (PDK), Kadri Veseli for crimes against humanity and war crimes.

A press statement by the President’s Office announced that Thaci will be back home tomorrow.

Kosovo will be represented by Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti in talks with Serbia at the White House. 

The news was shared on social media by US Special Envoy Richard Grenell.

The news about Thaci’s indictment and his subsequent decision not to attend the White House talks come after tumultuous political developments in Kosovo related to preparations for this meeting.

Albin Kurti’s government was toppled for not lifting trade reciprocity measures with Serbia, unless Serbia stopped its campaign against Kosovo’s statehood. Serbia would not sit in talks unless reciprocity measures were lifted. The request was pushed forward by Grenell, and it pushed coalition partner LDK to topple Kurti and comply with the US administration’s request.

President Thaci then asked LDK to form a new government, despite Kurti’s party being the largest in the country. The questionable action was approved by the Constitutional Court. Kurti’s LVV party said the court was under Thaci’s influence but they would comply with the decision.

The new Hoti government immediately lifted reciprocity measures with Serbia. It also stopped Kosovo’s attempts for membership in international organizations. Serbian elections were allowed to be held in Kosovo.

All this was justified with the need to sit in talks with Serbia at the White House, despite Serbian leaders having declared that Serbia will not recognize Kosovo after these talks.

It’s not clear whether Thaci will follow former Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj’s example and resign after the Specialist Prosecutor’s Office’s indictment.