`Difficult to reach Kosovo – Serbia agreement in time of elections`

Michael Carpenter, former U.S. deputy assistant secretary of defense with responsibility for Russia, Ukraine, Eurasia, the Balkans, said in an interview to Voice of America that upcoming elections in Kosovo and elections in Serbia in 2020 could slow down efforts for an agreement between Belgrade and Prishtina.

“Kosovo does not have a Prime Minister, and this is a big problem, and the time of elections is convenient for those that have strong political standings; therefore, it is a bad time for reaching an agreement. I cannot say that an agreement is impossible, but it is not very likely to happen,” he said.

“If the idea for a land swap between Serbia and Kosovo does not function, I don’t see a Plan B,” Carpenter said, adding that Serbia must be offered something concrete in exchange for recognizing Kosovo’s independence. “I don’t believe that dialogue, as it was led by Federica Mogherini, has had concrete results. I think that Serbia if it wants to overcome that barrier and recognize Kosovo, it must receive something concrete, something that its people would consider worthy … but this is not on the table yet”.