US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has appointed Matthew Palmer as a special representative for the Western Balkans.
Just Palmer, who since September 1 is in Slovenia to participate in the Bled strategic forum, stated that among its very first objectives is to reopen the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia:
"My goal is to bring Belgrade back and Prishtina at the negotiating table as soon as possible and get an agreement."- said the new representative.
The American official said he accepted the job because he thinks that an agreement can be reached to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, which would transform the entire region by opening the European road to the two countries and that would be a good thing only for the region, but also for Europe and the United States.
"The resolution of the Kosovo issue is one of the most important on my agenda. We have this opportunity and we want to take advantage of it.
"We will have the elections in Kosovo the 6 October and in spring in Serbia. We will have the opportunity to continue negotiations between the two dates. I hope that both countries take advantage of this possibility. ”- continued Palmer, specifying how the dispute between Kosovo and Serbia is a short-term goal for the United States.
The former American deputy secretary, moreover, expressed the hope that the next Kosovar government will accept suspending the imposition of 100% customs duties on Serbian imports and that Belgrade will stop pressuring other countries so that they do not recognize the Kosovo, to allow the restoration of dialogue between the two countries.
Relations between Kosovo and Serbia
The very fragile relations between Kosovo and Serbia were again cracked last November when the Kosovar government imposed duties on goods imported from Serbia for 100% of their value. The decision came as a result of Kosovo's failure to enter Interpol, which for the Kosovar government was the result of pressure from the Serbs, who were against the initiative.
Situation that subsequently degenerated in the last few months before with the clashes between Kosovo police and Serb citizens from the northern area of Kosovo caused by the raid ordered by the Kosovo prosecutor's office and aimed at combating organized crime (including police officers and customs officers), and then with the statements of the Serbian Prime Minister, Ana Brnabić, who at the end of May had defined the Kosovars as "The worst type of populist, people who literally come from the woods".