Kosovo ‘Should Rethink Serbia Agreements’ with Biden in Power

Acting President Vjosa Osmani has said that Kosovo needs to talk to Washington about reviewing some of the agreements that her country has signed with Serbia, which she believes are proving to be harmful after US President-elect Joe Biden takes office on January 21.
In September 2020, Kosovo PM Avdullah Hoti and Serb President Aleksandar Vucic signed agreements at the White House on mainly economic issues in the presence of President Donald Trump. The agreements were signed separately by Kosovo and Serbia with the US, not with each other.
“We need to sit and talk with US President Biden’s team, to see what they think about those issues which were reached as pledges, not as an agreement,” Osmani told BIRN Kosovo’s television show on Monday.
Reservations have been expressed in Pristina about whether all the clauses in the Washington agreement benefit Kosovo.
“There are questions over issues such as the Ujmani lake and other political issues about which we need to see what the Biden administration’s position is,” Osmani said.
In the agreement, Kosovo and Serbia committed to work with the US to explore the possibility of sharing the Ujmani/Gazivode lake, a strategically important reservoir that is claimed by both sides.
“I am not prejudging because I am not one of those who think that new administration will just throw this agreement in the bin,” Osmani added.
Osmani said she is also hoping that the Biden administration will favour a review of an EU-mediated agreement signed with Serbia in 2015 to establish a so-called Association of Serb-Majority Municipalities in Kosovo. Serbs see the idea as a guarantee that their interests will be protected but Kosovo Albanians politicians argue that it creates a parallel Serb power centre.
Serbia insists that the association must be established in line with the agreement, but Kosovo Constitutional Court ruled in 2015 that many of its provisions do not conform with Kosovo’s constitution.
Osmani argued that the agreement, signed by former Prime Minister Isa Mustafa, would make Kosovo a dysfunctional state.
“I am convinced that it is in this [Biden’s] administration’s interest to keep Kosovo functional,” she said.
Osmani was elected speaker of the Kosovo parliament in February 2020 and took over as acting president in November when Hashim Thaci resigned after being indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
With snap elections looming following a Constitutional Court ruling last month which caused Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti’s cabinet to collapse, Osmani now holds two of the three most important official positions in Kosovo while simultaneously trying to establish her own political organisation.
An election date has yet to be announced, but Osmani, who in June was dismissed from her position in the Democratic League of Kosovo, LDK party, recently chosen Guxo! (To Dare!) as the slogan of her organisation.
Her plans are to run in the elections alongside candidates from the opposition Vetevendosje Movement party, led by ex-premier Albin Kurti.
“I have only discussed it with Mr. Kurti… So far we have only discussed the will to cooperate,” Osmani said.