Serbia Kosovo

Kosovo and Serbia normalise economic relations, Trump aides hail deal: Explained

Kosovo and Serbia recently signed an agreement to normalise economic relations in a US-brokered deal – Prez Trump came out as the real winner of the deal.

Kosovo and Serbia recently signed an agreement to normalise economic relations between the two countries. The agreement between Kosovo and Serbia was signed in Washington, and the biggest beneficiary coming out of the deal is U.S. President Donald J. Trump.

It was President Trump who announced the deal as part of US-brokered talks and the deal is being specified as the efforts of Trump’s administration in bringing Belgrade and Pristina closer. The deal signed between Kosovo and Serbia also benefitted Israel as Serbia has agreed to shift its Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and Kosovo agreed to establish diplomatic relations with Israel with mutual recognition.

Violent and tragic history of Kosovo and Serbia:

Kosovo has a long-standing history of Islamic tradition dating back to the Ottoman conquest of the Balkans, including Kosovo. After the battle of Kosovo from 1389 until 1912, Kosovo was officially governed by the Islamic Ottoman Empire, who tried to change the demographics and population of the territory which led to a high level of Islamisation in Kosovo religion.

After the end of World War 1, when the Ottoman Empire was about to dissolve, Serbia in 1912 regained control over its lost territory, Kosovo. Around 1918, Kosovo became part of the Kingdom of Serbia. But in 1946, Kosovo was absorbed into Yugoslavia which got disintegrated in 1991. Yugoslavia’s constitution recognised Kosovo’s autonomous status in 1974 as the people of the state demanded separate statehood because they believed Kosovo should be independent as they held separate religious identities.

Map of Serbia and Kosovo

Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, since then Serbia has refused to recognise Kosovo’s statehood, and considers Kosovo as the territory of Serbia without any formal control there. Around 100 countries around the world, including the US, Russia, China have recognised the independence of Kosovo. It’s been many years now, but the independence of Kosovo from Serbia is still questioned.

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Terms and Conditions of the Kosovo and Serbia deal:

The agreement signed between the two countries is an agreement that is signed for a period of one year. Following the agreement signed, Serbia will suspend its efforts in encouraging other states not to recognise Kosovo. In return, Kosovo will not apply for new membership in international organisations for the signed period of time.

Through the efforts of the US, Serbia and Kosovo agreed to cooperate on a range of economic fronts to attract investment and create jobs. The deal includes rail and transit agreements for 21 years, including one that would clear the way for the first flight between Pristina and Belgrade. The countries further pledged to work together with the US Department of Energy.

The U.S. promised both countries guaranteed loans to fund strategic infrastructure developments. Serbia, in the agreement, also agreed to move its Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv in 2021. Kosovo and Israel agreed to mutual recognition with each other and establish diplomatic relations.

Under the agreement, the U.S. also tried to convince both countries to cease 5G equipment from their mobile networks provided by Chinese companies such as Huawei. The deal also contains provisions where both would designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation and support the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world.

Foreign policy triumph for Trump:

Trump is coming out as the real winner of the Kosovo-Serbia deal. Ahead of the U.S. elections that are going to be held in November 2020, the deal appears to be a diplomatic victory for Trump. Further, with the signing of an agreement between the two nations present in Europe, the Trump administration tried to improve the international status of Israel.

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This agreement is being considered as part of Trump’s electoral campaign as it is believed that this event is sure to change Trump’s image as a promoter of peace. The deal was one of Trump’s masterstrokes as it helped him redraw his image as a campaigner for establishing diplomatic relations with other countries.

Trump signing agreement
US President Donald Trump participates in a signing ceremony and trilateral meeting with the President of the Republic of Serbia, Aleksandar Vucic, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Kosovo, Avdullah Hoti, at the White House on Friday.

Diplomatic ties between the U.S. and Serbia:

Due to past U.S. interventions in the conflicts in Kosovo and because of the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by the U.S., the relations between the U.S. and Serbia were rugged. But, the relations between Washington and Belgrade seemed to have improved recently. In the past few years, the U.S. has helped Serbia’s economy stimulate its growth, strengthen the justice system, and promote good governance.

The United States supported Serbia’s progress in the European Union accession talks. The U.S. was also helping Serbia initiate dialogue agreements to help move both sides towards full normalization.

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