Palmer assures Kosovo: U.S. is a stakeholder in dialogue process

The Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, Matthew Palmer, in an interview with RTK, said that the U.S. and the EU have no differences or contradictions in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

"They are not contradictory. They go in the same direction. We would like an agreement for the full normalization of relations between Belgrade and Prishtina, Serbia and Kosovo, which ideally for us focuses on mutual recognition, which, as we see, really puts this issue behind us and opens a pure European journey for both countries," he added.
 
According to him, the U.S. is not a party in the negotiations, but a stakeholder in this process.
 
“We are committed partners for the European External Action Service (EEAS), for Miroslav Lajcak, we are committed partners for Kosovo, we are committed partners for Serbia. So, even if we are not sitting at the table or in the hall when debating various issues, we have talked about these issues with all parties in the process on numerous occasions. We have a very good and clear picture of what issues are being debated. We are part of the conversation. So, in this sense, we are participating in the negotiations even if we are not a party to them," Palmer said.
 
Asked directly if the U.S. would appoint a Special Envoy for the process, Palmer said he did not want to look at it in the "crystal sphere" and say what the future holds.
 
"But I will tell you that for now, the United States is engaged in the process, it is paying special attention to the process. I am here today to demonstrate that Miroslav Lajcak and I are good friends, we talk on the phone about these issues at least once a week, we meet regularly. We are committed and engaged to the process of promoting the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo," he added.
 
Palmer went on to say that the United States is not standing on the margins of this process.
 
"We are directly engaged and involved in supporting the negotiations. This is in fact part of the message of my joint visit with Miroslav Lajcak to emphasize how deeply committed, involved, and engaged the United States is in this process. As for the extent to which Kosovo and its people, the leadership of Kosovo look to the U.S. to advocate in this process, an ally, supporter of the normalization process, then yes, they should be sure that the United States is committed to this process, is a strong supporter of the facilitation of the process by the EU but is very committed and involved in the efforts for a fair, sustainable and open European perspective for Kosovo and Serbia."
 
"I think the essential message is to emphasize and underline the strong and enduring nature of the partnership between the United States of America and the Republic of Kosovo. We support Kosovo's European perspective. We want to see Kosovo integrated into the European and Euro-Atlantic communities. We support the government's goals of fighting corruption and organized crime and promoting the rule of law. We want to be there as strong partners. In addition, I visited Pristina with Miroslav Lajcak, the European Union Special Representative for the Western Balkans, especially for dialogue. Special Representative Lajcak and I wanted to emphasize and underline the importance of Kosovo's constructive engagement in the dialogue process, to work on the full normalization of relations with Serbia, and to open the door to a European future for the people of Kosovo," Palmer said.
 
Asked about the cooperation between the U.S. and the EU in the dialogue process and the same goal, Palmer said that they aim at normalizing relations, opening the European perspective.
 
"We are working in a strong partnership. This dialogue process is led by the parties themselves, led by Kosovo, led by Serbia, facilitated by the EU, and has the strong support of the United States. I think it is a good message for Kosovo and Serbia if they see Miro and me side by side supporting this process," he said.