US Considers Appointing a New Special Envoy, Seeks Recognition of Kosovo by Serbia

The US and the EU have differences when it comes to the finale of the Kosovo-Serbia negotiations although they work closely together. The EU consistently emphasizes the phrase “comprehensive and legally binding agreement”, while Washington openly states that part of the final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia should be mutual recognition. Former US President Donald Trump emphasized this in his letter, while President Joe Biden said the same thing in his congratulations to the Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on the occasion of the day of Serbian state.
In an exclusive response to Gazeta Express, officials from the US Embassy in Pristina said on Thursday that Washington fully supports the dialogue facilitated by Brussels, while quoting President Biden who said that a comprehensive agreement should lead to mutual recognition by preserving the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the two states.
“The United States fully supports the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia aimed at a comprehensive normalization agreement. As President Biden has said, “A comprehensive settlement that will lead to mutual recognition, preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both states, and strengthen their democratic institutions is essential for Kosovo and Serbia to move forward. It would enhance both countries’ security and prosperity, advance their aspirations for membership in the European Union and other multilateral institutions, and support the enduring aim of a Europe whole, free, and at peace,” an Embassy official told Gazeta Express. “The substance of any agreement must come from the parties themselves. We are ready to listen and help in any way to support both parties and the EU, as a facilitator, in finding a mutually agreed solution.”
In order to implement such an approach to the negotiations, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has announced that he is considering appointing a Special Envoy for the region. The US Embassy in Pristina confirmed this.
When asked if a special envoy for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia would be appointed, an embassy spokesman quoted Secretary Blinken as saying in his hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, “If confirmed, I will carefully consider the question of a special envoy for the region.”
Throughout the Donald Trump administration, it was Envoy Richard Grenell who led the US effort to lead Kosovo and Serbia to an economic normalization agreement.
The agreement was signed at the White House on 4 September last year and Kosovo has already begun to enjoy its first benefits, starting with the recognition of independence from Israel, while a few days ago the US investment agreement entered into force.
It remains to be seen how intensively the Biden administration will approach the work for a final agreement. In Kosovo, there is an expectation that this issue will be closed within this year, while there is still skepticism from Brussels that something can be achieved soon.
There has been no official reaction on the part of official Tirana on Biden's statement with regard to the strongest appeal to Belgrade making it clear since the beginning of his presidential mandate that recognition of Kosovo is a must for any accord between Kosovo and Serbia. /