Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Congressman Eliot Engel has stated that the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia must include mutual recognition, and pave the way for both countries to become members of the European Union and NATO.
In a statement on Wednesday, two days ahead of the White House meeting between the two countries, Engel stressed that the long conflict has harmed the lives of too many and must be ended once and for all.
“A final resolution to the conflict must embrace several key principles: It must lead to mutual recognition by Kosovo and Serbia. It must pave the way for Kosovo and Serbia to enter all North Atlantic structures, including the European Union and NATO. And, it must grant Kosovo full membership in the United Nations and other important international organizations so that it can move forward as every other country would,” Engel stated.
The congressman said he is not positive that a deal could end the conflict any time soon.
“But, a clear eyed view of the talks gives way to the reality that a conflict-ending deal is unlikely. Serbian President Vucic, who is leading his country away from the North Atlantic community and closer to Russia, has objected to placing mutual recognition on the table.”
Engel stressed that while discussing economic cooperation may bring positive results for both countries, “this is a political conflict which requires a political solution.”
He called for accountability for the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing, rape, and other war crimes in Kosovo during the time when President Vucic was the minister of information of the Serbian regime.
“After more than two decades of hostility, it is my hope that both parties will engage constructively with each other and that the United States will act as a fair and honest broker to help the nations embrace the dialogue and reach peace,” Engel concluded.