US diplomat to N1: Deal must be acceptable to both Belgrade and Pristina

NEWS 05.03.2021 22:11

The US will not impose solutions to Belgrade and Pristina, but an agreement on the normalisation of relations must be acceptable to both sides' leaders, and peoples of Serbia and Kosovo, Matthew Palmer, Washington's special envoy for Western Balkans, has told N1 on Friday.

He said „it is perfectly normal,“ and added he didn’t believe there was a deadline but that the US saw „the issue as urgent,“

„The longer we wait, the more difficult it will be, and the challenges will be more complicated,“ Palmer said.

He added the US supported the European Union and its envoy for the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue Miroslav Lajčák and said he hoped the two sides would soon resume the talks.

Speaking about a burning issue of the Community of Serb Municipalities (CSM), whose implementation was dragging on for over seven years, Palmer said: „We clearly tell our partners in Belgrade and Pristina – it’s an obligation, and it must happen.“

Palmer also said he didn’t see any contradiction in Albin Kurti’s statements, the most likely Kosovo’s next prime minister, who said the dialogue with Belgrade was not among his key priorities.

„I heard his priorities are transparency, good management, fight against corruption… these are our priorities too,“ Palmer said but added that Kosovo would have to deal with foreign policy and cooperate with neighbours.

Asked if the US expected Serbia to move its Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, as Belgrade said it would during the last year’s meeting with the former President Donald Trump, Palmer said that „at the end, it’s Serbia’s decision where its embassy will be. „Our is in Jerusalem and will stay there.“

Referring to the European Parliament (EP) report on Serbia in which the EP demanded from Belgrade to solve several serious affairs, Palmer said such cases should be resolved „in line with European values and on the foundations of the European law.“

„Serbia’s EU membership will request much more than the normalisation of relations with Kosovo,“ Palmer warned, adding the standards for joining the bloc had 80,000 pages. „The rules are complex and demanding for the membership in that exclusive club.“

They demand progress in media freedom, democratic, election reforms, transparency, good management, Palmer has told N1 TV.