Albin Kurti, the leader of the largest party in Kosovo, Vetevendosje, has stated that Albanians should ask for the removal from his post of Richard Grenell, President Trump’s envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.
In a reply to an invitation by Albanian Americans to attend a meeting with all Kosovo leaders on the dialogue with Serbia, which he declined, Kurti said Grenell’s approach to Kosovo is “unacceptable” and Albanians should ask for his removal, like they did for the US envoy in 1998, Richard Gelbard, who called the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) a terrorist group. Gelbard was successively replaced with Richard Holbrooke.
“As for Special Envoy Grenell, since he said that Kosovo should remove reciprocity with Serbia, I think we should do the same as we did with Ambassador Gelbard when in 1998 he said that the KLA is a terrorist [group], so we oppose it unanimously in order [for the US] to understand that this approach is unacceptable to us. At that time our opposition caused Gelbard to be replaced by Holbrooke, so we welcomed the opposition. Today, also, we need Richard Grenell to be replaced by a new Richard Holbrooke,” Kurti wrote in a Facebook post.
In rejecting the invitation to attend a discussion with President Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and other party leaders, Kurti listed the following reasons:
— They cannot discuss the issue while the government has not presented a platform for the dialogue to the parliament.
— The government either has no platform at all, or it has a hidden one, which runs against democracy and national interest.
— There can be nothing to discuss with President Thaci who supports the partition of Kosovo.
— Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti has no democratic legitimacy and no popular support.
— A meeting of all Kosovo parties on the dialogue before the White House meeting and US presidential election could be interpreted as support for Donald Trump. Kosovo should not repeat President Thaci’s mistake of interfering in the 2016 US elections against Donald Trump, and now against Joe Biden.
— Support for candidates in other countries by party leaders is understandable, but it’s against basic principles of diplomacy and democracy when it comes from country leaders.
Kurti welcomed any discussion with the group of Albanian Americans but without the presence of the mentioned leaders. He stressed that the dialogue with Serbia is not a priority for Kosovo.
“Recognition of Kosovo is not something we can buy, we can gain it by building and strengthening the state, economy and democracy,” Kurti stated, adding that the pandemic, lack of justice and economic development, high unemployment and corruption levels are the people’s priorities, not the dialogue with Serbia.