Tuesday, November 15, 2016

On Pins and Needles: Trump's Victory Risks Becoming the 'End of Kosovo Project'

Sputnik News

 Donald Trump's victory in the US presidential election has become a headache fot the government of Kosovo. Pristina fears that Trump will revise Washington's policy towards the self-proclaimed nation. Donald Trump © AP Photo/ Jae C. Hong These are Reasons Why Trump's Presidency is an 'Optimal Scenario' for Europe The self-proclaimed Republic of Kosovo has two major foreign policy goals for the next year, including receiving an observer status in the United Nations and taking normalization talks with Serbia to the presidential level. Pristina came up with this scenario at the time when its government was sure that Hillary Clinton would secure a victory in the United States presidential election. Donald Trump’s victory in the US is a big concern for the government of Kosovo, journalist Brankica Ristic wrote for Sputnik Serbia. Pristina congratulated Trump on his victory and also thanked Hillary Clinton for "everything she did for Kosovo." 
At the same time, the government hopes that during Trump’s presidency Washington’s policy towards Kosovo will stay the same. "Trump is a businessman. He will definitely wonder whether Kosovo is worth the money the US has invested in it. Moreover, Washington has invested billions of dollars not in the economy or industrial development, but to support Kosovo as a political project," the author wrote. As a political entity, Kosovo will not survive without American support. This is why Pristina was shocked by Trump’s victory. "There is chaos now in the government of Kosovo because it is unclear what Trump’s foreign policy strategy will be, including towards Kosovo. Pristina may lose its main ally. Trump’s victory has disturbed Kosovo’s plans for the next year and forced Pristina to intensify its foreign policy efforts during the transitional period in the US. 
Time is running out, and Kosovo has two scenarios," the article read. A Kosovo Albanian man sells flags in Pristina on February 16, 2011 in preparation for the third anniversary of Kosovo's declaration of independence © AFP 2016/ ARMEND NIMANI West's Recognition of Kosovo 'Thanks to Albania's Washington Lobbyists' First, local media reported that the government of Kosovo, including President Hashim Tachi, has sent lobbyists to Washington, in a bid to convince Trump’s team that Kosovo should be one of America’s priorities in the Balkans. Second, Pristina has a "plan B" related to the European Union and allies of the outgoing Obama administration. 
"The plan is simple. If Kosovo fails to gain support from Trump’s administration, it will turn to Brussels for help. Media reported that Tachi has already had private talks with Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. Tachi and Hahn discussed how to accelerate granting Kosovo EU candidate status," the article read. Serbian Progressive Party supporters hold Serbian flag during a pre-election rally in Belgrade, Serbia, Thursday, April 21, 2016 © AP Photo/ Darko Vojinovic When, If Ever, Will Serbia Finally Make a Geopolitical Pivot to Russia? In the EU, supporters of Kosovo will pressure Belgrade, demanding additional conditions for Serbia’s accession to the bloc. 
One of those conditions could be a demand that Belgrade stop insisting that Kosovo is Serbia. This scenario was earlier predicted by Marko Duric, director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija, in the Serbian government. According to him, conditions for Serbia’s accession could be tightened to pressure Belgrade to recognize Kosovo’s independence. However, Vladislav Jovanovic, who served as Foreign Minister of Yugoslavia, suggested that Brussels could use "soft" political tools and diplomacy, instead of mounting pressure on Belgrade. 
"Thus, Serbian national interests will be taken into account by other players. The next US president is a pragmatic businessman. He is interested in maintaining America’s dominance not by wars, but other means," he told local media. According to the diplomat, Trump will not favor the absurd policy of interventionism and will not turn America’s friends into foes. Last month, some officials in Kosovo expressed concerns that Trump’s victory would be a catastrophe for Albania and Kosovo. "Trump’s victory might end the US policy which has favored Albania and Kosovo at the expense of Serbia’s interests. During Trump’s presidency, US support for Kosovo will decrease, and Washington will not ignore Serbia’s interests in Kosovo," Jovanovic suggested.

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