A month after the appointment of Matthew Palmer as US special representative for the Western Balkans, Donald Trump said on Thursday that the high American diplomatic representative in Germany, Richard Grenell, will be the new special representative for the Kosovo-Serbia talks.
The American media has published the official Washington press release, which states that Grenell has extensive experience in political communication. In his time as official representative, Grenell will continue to hold the post of American diplomat in Germany.
The first reactions
Kosovo's foreign minister, Behgjet Pacolli, welcomed the appointment by stating on Twitter that this "shows the personal interest of the United States and Trump in reaching a legally binding agreement between the two countries that leads to mutual recognition and peace in the region"
Pacolli also added that Grenell will have the support of the Kosovar government while, in Serbia, there have been no official reactions so far. The EU-mediated dialogue on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo started in the 2011.
However, the very fragile relations between Kosovo and Serbia broke again last November when the Kosovo 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.
His appointment as special representative was unexpected, given that only the 30 June US State Department had announced Matthew Palmer as the new US special representative in the Western Balkans.
"Palmer will lead our efforts to strengthen US diplomatic engagement in support of peace, stability and prosperity in the region and will focus on integrating the Western Balkan countries into Western institutions.”- stated the 30 August press release.