Trump praises economic steps between Serbia and Kosovo | Serbia News

Trump praises economic steps between Serbia and Kosovo |  Serbia News

The accord between Serbia and Kosovo, hailed by US President Donald Trump on Friday as a “major breakthrough,” has reaffirmed pledges to establish highway and rail links, but left the political normalization movement suspended.

Both countries – part of the former Yugoslavia – agreed, for a year, to freeze campaigns for and against the normalization of political relations, said US officials, who nonetheless hailed a number of economic measures as an important advance in the relationship between the two sides.

Speaking in the Oval Office flanked by the leaders of the two countries, Trump said that Serbia has also committed to moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and that Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalize relations and establish diplomatic relations.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic told reporters that there are still many differences between Serbia and its former region, which declared independence in 2008, but said that Friday’s agreement represents a big step forward.

He later told Serbian media that Serbia’s agreement was with the United States, not Kosovo.

The Prime Minister of Kosovo, Abdullah Houti, also welcomed the measures and said they should lead to mutual recognition between the two countries, which is the main issue that divides them.

Trump said, “Both Serbia and Kosovo are committed to economic normalization.” By focusing on job creation and economic growth, the countries have made a major breakthrough.

People and Power | Newborn Kosovo (11:01)

But political analysts described the agreement as disappointing and ambiguous.

“In my opinion, this is more than a resumption of dialogue between the two sides. This is good for the region. But it is not like a massive breakthrough,” said Yasmin Mojanovic, a professor of political science specializing in Eastern Europe.

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It’s not even clear about economics, “said Edward Joseph, a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies.

Deal maker

Republican Trump, who is running for re-election in November, is seeking to bolster his dealmaking skills on the international stage and recently announced a deal to normalize relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Trump follows Democratic rival Joe Biden, who served as Vice President under President Barack Obama at the time, in national opinion polls.

Friday’s event, which came after two days of talks between leaders and Trump’s top aides, was originally scheduled to take place in the Roosevelt White House room, with two tables set for the leaders to sit. Suddenly moved to the Oval Office, Trump’s office was between the two tables.

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo appeared to sign separate documents, not one. Meanwhile, Trump signed letters acknowledging that the two countries will work together.

Ambassador Richard Grenell, who acts as a special envoy on the issue but is not a US government employee, said the United States was not a signatory.

Serbia will be the first European country to open an embassy for Israel in Jerusalem, and Kosovo will be the first with a Muslim majority. Only two countries have done so so far: the United States and Guatemala.

The History of Arab-Israeli Normalization (3:56)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the steps.

Kosovo, which is predominantly ethnic Albanian and predominantly Muslim, declared its independence from Serbia in 2008 after a 1999 NATO-led bombing campaign in which the United States participated, to curb the war sparked by years of oppressive Serbian rule and stop the ethnic cleansing. From Belgrade.

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Serbia, backed by its Christian Slavic ally and traditional Orthodox Russia, has refused to recognize the independence of Kosovo, a precondition for Belgrade’s membership in the European Union.

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told reporters that expanding economic ties, increasing border crossings and mutual recognition of professional licenses could pave the way for future political solutions.

He said the deal would also lead to an increase in US investment, but gave no details.

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