Kosovo Spectator
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Kosovo Spectator

US Emissaries in Kosovo

Photo: Kosovo Prime Minister Facebook.

Government sources indicated that Haradinaj told the US delegation that he would not abolish the tax on Serbian goods without an agreement guaranteeing Kosovo’s recognition by Serbia.

The U.S. delegation led by Principal Director for European Affairs at the White House National Security Council, John Erath, and Director for Balkans at NSC, Brad Berkley, met yesterday in Prishtina jointly with President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and Prime Minister, Ramush Haradinaj.

Despite the clear message regarding the need to suspend the tax on imports from Serbia and Bosnia, Haradinaj remained adamant in keeping the measure in place.

The meeting between Thaci, Haradinaj and U.S. officials lasted for about two hours and after Haradinaj left the meeting, Thaci and the U.S. delegation stayed on for another half an hour.

Haradinaj not convinced

The U.S. officials did not make any statements to the media after the meeting while Haradinaj said he underlined in the meeting Kosovo’s irreversible commitment to strengthening democracy and its institutions.

“Kosovo is ready for a legally binding agreement that results in mutual recognition on existing borders and on 17 February 2008 Kosovo. In addition, it is ready to assume rights and responsibilities of membership in NATO, United Nations, EU, and other international organizations,” Haradinaj wrote on Facebook.

Speaking to reporters at the Kosovo Assembly today in Prishtina, Haradinaj said that he explained to US delegation Kosovo’s arguments about the need for dialogue with Serbia to continue and end in a legally binding agreement that would respect Kosovo’s existing borders. Haradinaj said that a comprehensive agreement would also regulate the issue of free trade between Kosovo and Serbia.

Asked about U.S. insistence on the tax on imports from Serbia and Bosnia being suspended, Haradinaj said: “The U.S. request for tax suspension, of course, is convincing. There are two views: One is that the tax is seen as an obstacle to dialogue and the other as a tool to help the agreement being reached as soon as possible. For as long as the tax is in force, the time cost Serbia more than Kosovo.”

Haradinaj said that his position on the tax remains firm in that it will not be lifted until Serbia recognizes the independence of Kosovo

Haradinaj was also to comment on whether he thinks last night’s meeting between President Hashim Thaci and leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK) Isa Mustafa is a signal that early elections are imminent to which he said he sees nothing wrong in the meeting taking place. “I think meetings, consultations between political leaders are good. I also have continuous meetings with Mr. Mustafa and Vetevendosje leader Albin Kurti, Shpend Ahmeti from PSD and coalition parties. I think consultations are a good thing,” Haradinaj said.

Meetings with political parties

The U.S. delegation continued their meetings today in Prishtina with President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and members of the Kosovo Negotiating Team, Deputy Prime Ministers Behgjet Pacolli, Fatmir Limaj, Enver Hoxhaj, Dardan Gashi and the Head of Social Democrats, Shpend Ahmeti.

A three-hour meeting between the White House emissaries, Kosovo negotiating team for the dialogue with Serbia, and almost all governing coalition leaders, took place today.

Citing unnamed sources, Kohavision reports that the senior U.S. officials asked for Fatmir Limaj not to attend the meeting.

LDK reacts to lack of unity

Last night President Thaci met with the leader of the Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Isa Mustafa. LDK Spokesperson Besian Mustafa said the meeting was held upon President’s request. According to him, the President informed Mustafa about the visit of the U.S. officials and their requests for the government coalition.

Deputy Chairman of Democratic League of Kosovo (LDK), Lutfi Haziri, commented today meeting between President Thaci and Prime Minister Haradinaj with a senior delegation from Washington.

Haziri said, “our institutions, unfortunately, had differing positions and no unity at the meeting”. “The visit by a delegation of the U.S. National Security Council is very important because they seldom make such visits … Unfortunately, our institutions yesterday had diametrically opposite positions, no unity, and without a possibility of Kosovo being united on the process of normalization with Serbia,” Haziri added.

External Links: Punsohu

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