Hate Serbs from the US

Kosovo-Serbia talks before the end

Following the rejection of Kosovar President Hashim Thaci, the country's Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti has also announced that he will not take part in peace talks with Serbia in Washington. The US special envoy Richard Grenell had originally announced a peak meeting in the White House for Saturday.

Hoti announced that his government would not appear for consultations with the Serbian head of state Aleksandar Vucic. "Due to the new developments (...) I have to return to my country," said the Prime Minister, who is currently in Brussels for talks with EU representatives. This means that the planned negotiations, with the mediation of the USA, are about to end.

Murder, torture, persecution

Hoti made specific reference to the preliminary charges against President Thaci, which the special prosecutor of the Kosovo Criminal Court in The Hague had brought on Wednesday. Thaci and other actors in the Kosovar War of Independence against Serbia in 1998/99 are said to be responsible for ten counts of serious crimes, including murder, torture and persecution. The victims were therefore hundreds of Serbs, Kosovar Albanians, Roma and political opponents.

Kosovo's President Hashim Thaci (archive image)

At the time, Thaci had commanded the Kosovar Albanian underground army, the UCK. After the indictment became known, he informed the US Balkan Commissioner Grenell that he would not be coming to Washington. Whether Serbia's head of state Vucic, whose party has just won the parliamentary elections, wants to travel to the capital of the United States is still open.

Competition with EU initiative

The planned top-level meeting was controversial in advance because it appeared to be in competition with EU peace diplomacy. Grenell, who arranged the meeting that has now fallen through, was the US ambassador in Berlin until recently. He is trusted by US President Donald Trump.

Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008. The government in Belgrade does not recognize this, as does Russia and several EU states. The European Union has opened the prospect of membership for the Western Balkan countries of Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Brussels has attached conditions to this. This also includes clarifying the relationship between Belgrade and Pristina. In 2011 the EU brokered talks on normalizing relations between the two countries. However, they have been on hold for almost two years. At that time, the Kosovar government had introduced high punitive tariffs for goods from Serbia.

yy / sam (dpa, afp, rtr)