Balkan Foes to Resume International Lobbying as Trump Truce Ends
(Bloomberg) -- Serbia and Kosovo are gearing up to renew opposing lobbying efforts over the latter’s international recognition as a U.S.-brokered moratorium on doing so expires.
Since breaking away from Serbia in 2008, Kosovo’s sovereignty has been recognized by about 100 countries, including many in the West. The government in Belgrade, for its part, is backed by Russia and China, among others, in trying to prevent the acknowledgment of Kosovo’s independence.
The two Balkan foes must settle their differences to be considered for European Union membership, and former U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration helped seal a truce on lobbying last year that ends on Sept. 4.
With that date approaching, however, Kosovo Defense Minister Armend Mehaj said on Facebook this week that he’d ask Ukraine, Georgia and Azerbaijan to recognize his state.
In response, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic signaled he’d respond.
“It’s good they informed us about the issue and I thank them for that,” Vucic said in comments published on his website. “They showed us the direction that we should go and we’ll do our job.”
Serbia in recent years persuaded several nations in Asia and Africa to revoke recognition of Kosovo, as well as blocking it from joining international bodies including UNESCO and Interpol. Russia and China have helped prevent Kosovo joining the United Nations.
While Serbia remains committed to other elements of the accord signed in Washington, “we’d be naive not to prepare for the period when Pristina will violate the agreement or the period when the moratorium expires,” Serbian Deputy Foreign Minister Nemanja Starovic told state television Friday.
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