International Information Centre for Balkan Studies

Ambassador Hill says Kosovo should be in Open Balkan

September 7, 2022
US Ambassador Christopher Hill said that he would like to see Kosovo join the Open Balkan initiative.
Speaking for the Atlantic Council Europe’s #BalkansDebrief podcast, Hill said that the decision to join the initiative is up to Kosovo. “I would like very much to see Kosovo in it. That’s going to be up to them,” he told podcast author Ilva Tare.
“I am not sure it is valid criticism to say that Open Balkan is an effort by Serbia to dominate others,” he said and added that the initiative helped improve relations between Serbia and Albania. According to him, it supports European Union standards in terms of rule of law and focuses on getting things done.
The ambassador said there’s a long way to go to normalize relations between Belgrade and Pristina. “They’ve got a long way to go and they’ve got to try to agree on an agenda going forward and try to avoid these kinds of 11th hour crises,” he said, adding that it’s very important to go through the steps in the dialogue and resolve issues such as energy and missing persons. “The issue of Kosovo is utterly emotional to many Serbs,” Hill said.
The ambassador said that the US has urged Belgrade to align with the sanctions imposed on Russia after its invasion of Ukraine. “I would say we have urged the Serbs to try to come into alignment with that. History is a powerful weight on all of these countries and in Serbia’s case, just the word sanctions has a rather difficult meaning for many Serbs, who lived through very tough times in the 1990s under sanctions,” he said.
Source:  https://rs.n1info.com/english/news/ambassador-hill-says-kosovo-should-be-in-open-balkan/

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