WASHINGTON – US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer spoke for Voice of America about the appointment of Ambassador Richard Grenell, who has been named the White House Special Envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, and said that he looks on their relationship as a partnership, not a division of responsibility.
He added that he and Grenell would work together to normalise Kosovo-Serbia relations.
“I think that ambassador Grenell will pressure both sides to act quickly. They now have the White House’s attention, a full focus not only from the administration but also from the White House and President Donald Trump,” Palmer said.
Palmer announced that he was in constant communication with Grenell, who is interested in economic empowerment and believes that he could bring the two sides to the dialogue.
“I know that Ambassador Grenell is particularly interested in identifying commercial, business and economic incentives that can be used to make progress on the political front”, Palmer said adding that this, however, does not eliminate the need for a political solution.
Palmer said he expects that the new government in Pristina will lift the 100 per cent import tariffs on goods from Serbia and Bosnia, while Belgrade should stop its campaign against Kosovo’s membership in the international organizations.
He stressed that the goals of the US and EU when it comes to the Kosovo issue are the same, but that different messages are sent by individual EU member states.
European Council’s decision not to open the accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia was discouraging because it sent a wrong message to both Belgrade and Pristina, that you can settle difficult issues, you can reach a compromise, but nevertheless you can be denied access to EU, said Matthew Palmer, United States Special Representative for the Western Balkans.