Johnson: Kosovo and Serbia asked for greater US commitment

Prishtina and Belgrade wanted a bigger U.S. commitment in solving Kosovo issue, they even asked me to engage, says Republican Senator, Ron Johnson.

In an interview with the Voice of America, Johnson said that the US Presidential Special Envoy on dialogue, Richard Grenell, and US Special Representative on the Western Balkans, Matthew Palmer, have a joint plan on how to solve Kosovo issue, focusing primarily on the economy. Johnson said Kosovo should form its new Government and he is against giving “artificial deadlines” on potential reaching of an agreement.

“Palmer and Grenell are cooperating. I have discussed with both of them and I know they have a plan, which will be focused on economic potential. I think they can achieve something and manage to return both parties at the negotiation table and work with them,” said Johnson, who is chairman of the sub-Committee on Europe and Regional Cooperation. Johnson said that it would be good for Kosovo to rescind tax on Serbian products, and urged Belgrade to stop asking other countries to withdraw recognition of Kosovo.

He said that the end of 2019 is not a real deadline for solving the Kosovo issue adding that this problem needs a “step by step approach.”

Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia started in 2011 with the facilitation of the European Union. The dialogue process was halted after the Kosovo Government introduced 100 percent tariffs to all Serbian products in November 2018.

This was used as a justification by Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic who is conditioning resumption of the dialogue with rescinding of tax.