From: Exit Staff
Trump Aides: Kosovo Agreed to Freeze Asking for Recognition

Kosovo has pledged to stop seeking recognition by other countries for a year, while Serbia has pledged to stop its lobbying with countries to derecognize Kosovo, according to President Trump’s national security advisor Robert O’Brien and special envoy Richard Grenell.

The document signed by Kosovo at the White House does not refer to a suspension of recognition campaign, but only of seeking membership in international organizations.

Nevertheless, in a press conference on Friday, O’Brien told journalists that Kosovo will not seek recognition for a year, and praised Serbia for not opposing mutual recognition between Kosovo and Israel.

Journalist: “Ambassador O’Brien, question on Serbia and Kosovo then I just have a followup on that. In terms of the two parties agreeing to freeze the recognition and the derecognition campaigns, how long will that last and how important is it to the administration that Serbia recognize Kosovo’s independence?”

Robert O’Brien: “So I think it’s a year freeze and that the idea of that freeze is to give the parties time to negotiate some of the political issues that are between them […] What we wanted to do in this agreement was create some breathing space for the parties to engage in those without the back and forth campaign of recognition and derecognition. What’s striking though, is that as part of that deal, Kosovo was allowed, and I shouldn’t say allowed, that Kosovo did make the decision as a Muslim majority country to normalize its relations with Israel, to recognize Israel and to establish an embassy in Jerusalem, in the capital of Israel.

And we appreciate the fact that Serb’s not taking a position on that. So although we’re going to have a suspension of the derecognition campaign and the recognition campaign, it’s two sides of the same coin. For the next year, we were able to achieve, with the courage and bravery of the leaders, of President Vučić and Prime Minister Hoti, and Prime Minister Netanyahu.”

Richard Grenell also told journalists, at the presence of President Trump and the leaders of Kosovo and Serbia, that Kosovo would not seek recognition for a year. In turn, this and Serbia’s suspension of lobbying for Kosovo’s derecognition will bring jobs in the region, he argued.

“I think one of the great parts of this agreement is, over the next year we have a freeze on the recognition and derecognition campaigns. That means, over this next year we can see job growth and job creation really take hold in the region, and then a year from now judge us where the political process goes,” Grenell stated.

Kosovo has received a boost in its statehood by getting Israel’s recognition, following decades of continuous attempts and lobbying. But at the same time, in the signed document, it has limited itself from exercising a basic sovereign right for a state: seeking membership in international organizations. In addition, O’Brien and Grenell both argue that the one-year moratorium for Kosovo also extends to another basic statehood right: seeking its recognition.