From: Exit Staff
Kosovo, Serbia Closer to Signing Deal on ‘Economic Normalization’

The first session of talks at the White House brought Kosovo and Serbia closer to signing a deal exclusively on economic issues, the leaders of both countries have stated. 

Following the Thursday meeting hosted by the Trump administration at the White House, they said a deal may be reached tomorrow.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said that minor things in the “Economic Normalization” document remain to be dealt with on Friday. He stressed that Kosovo’s recognition won’t be included in the deal.

“If we manage to push through a few more little things, I will be satisfied […] It will be possible to see the final document tomorrow, if there will be one,” he stated.

Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti of Kosovo said the talks focused on the economy. He added that a deal is expected to be signed tomorrow, on the second day of talks.

You will see the deal tomorrow because that’s what we agreed on. Tomorrow you will see everything we have agreed. We have taken a big step towards concluding the final agreement,” he stated.

Hoti stressed that land swaps were not on the table today, and that his government’s objective in talks with Serbia is mutual recognition.

Meanwhile, Vučić told the media that he had faced great pressure today, to sign a deal that included recognition of Kosovo. However, he had refused “clearly and loudly”, after which the Trump administration had replaced the previous draft with one acceptable to Serbia. The president said he is still fighting to get a better deal for his country.

Grenell stated before talks today that they would focus exclusively on the economy. Later during the day, he also denied media reports that the Trump administration had presented Serbia with such document on recognition of Kosovo.

Vučić added that during today’s talks, Ivanka Trump spoke on a very important issue: women’s entrepreneurship in the Balkans.

Kosovo and Serbia have been negotiating to “normalize relations” since 2011. The dozens of agreements signed on a number of issues in the meantime have not been implemented.

Since the resumption of talks in July, following almost two years of stagnation, Kosovo leaders have been pushing unsuccessfully to have talks at political level instead of on technical issues, and include “mutual recognition” as a final objective, instead of “normalization of relations”.