Serbia, Kosovo agree to economic normalization, US says
Addressing reporters in the Oval Office alongside Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Trump said the economic pact would serve as a springboard for further cooperation, describing the achievement as a unifying factor.
“Economics can bring people together,” Trump said during a signing ceremony sealing the breakthrough. “There was a lot of fighting and now there’s a lot of love.”
Neither Hoti nor Vucic commented on when a prospective wider normalization in bilateral relations would be possible after asked by a reporter.
Vucic said he is satisfied with the agreement and noted that it was a bilateral agreement with the US and not a trilateral one with Pristina.
"There were difficult talks, we are sincerely satisfied with what we have achieved," Vucic noted, adding that Serbia has nothing to be ashamed of.
"So, the third party is not recognized as a subject of international law," Vucic said on the bilateral agreement.
"With this agreement, Serbia regulates relations with the world's greatest power," said Vucic.
"A good agreement has been reached for Serbia, because only for Serbia is the opening of the US Development Fund office in Belgrade, there is no such thing for Pristina or anyone in the region. That will mean a strong signal to all credit agencies, shows how interested America is to work with Serbia."
Kosovo vows to join 'mini Schengen'
Vucic also noted that the Albanian side, with its agreement with the US, undertook to join the "mini Schengen".
"It doesn't matter whose idea it is, and it was ours ... This will ensure the free flow of goods and capital, which is very important for us," he said, adding that both sides have committed to recognize each other's diplomas.
The US brokered an agreement between Kosovo and Israel to normalize their relations and establish diplomatic ties. Serbia further agreed to open a commercial office in Jerusalem in September, and move its embassy to the contested city in July, Trump said.
The US meeting was planned for June 27 but was postponed after prosecutors in the Hague filed an indictment against Kosovar President Hashim Thaci for war crimes during Kosovo's 1998-1999 war with Serbia.
Both sides have agreed to freeze their diplomatic recognition/de-recognition campaigns for a year, Grenell said during the signing ceremony.
The EU has been leading negotiations between the two sides for nearly a decade, a requirement for their progress toward European integration.
Washington, which has recently sought a role in the process, hopes that economic cooperation could help set them on the road for a normalized relationship.