U.S. warns of sanctions against Kosovo

The U.S. Deputy Assistant of State Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Laura Cooper and Principal Director for European Affairs John Erath authored a letter addressed to Kosovo leaders – President Hashim Thaci, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, Assembly Speaker Kadri Veseli – recalling the statement of the U.S. President Donald Trump that Kosovo needs to seize this moment to reach an agreement for normalization of relations with Serbia. 

“We have since expressed our concerns with certain actions, including the imposition of tariffs on Serbian and Bosnian products, could threaten this goal. These actions undermine the United States’ ability to continue to collaborate with you on a wide range of shared objectives,” the letter reads. The U.S. officials add that since the requests for suspension of the tariffs were unheeded, “We have decided to take steps to show our concern, including with regard to our security partnership.” 

To this end, the planned visit of the Iowa National Guard General Timothy Orr was canceled: “Given the unhelpful actions your government has taken, it would be inappropriate for such a visit to occur. We will be looking carefully at other aspects of our cooperation and reviewing if they should also be curtailed.” 

The letter goes on to state that Kosovo has no better friend than the U.S. and it continues to stand ready to support Kosovo in reaching a comprehensive agreement with Serbia “centered on mutual recognition, which is durable, implementable and benefits both sides.” 

“Our intent is to see that Serbia, as well as Kosovo, acts responsibly to get the Dialogue back on track. The first step on this road must be suspending the tariffs. Until you have done so, we cannot restore our relationship to our previous robust level,” the letter concludes.