US to support Serbia amid tensions with Kosovo if Belgrade joins Russian sanctions

The worldwide neighborhood expects Serbia and Kosovo to make efforts to defuse tensions between Kosovans and Serbs and assist safe a reconciliation settlement after envoys from the European Union and the US visited the area final Friday.

The territorial dispute between the 2 former struggle foes stays a supply of instability within the Balkans as Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine rages on.

However Washington is able to supply Belgrade financial and diplomatic help on the situation that Serbia joins Western allies in sanctions towards Russia.

Euronews Serbia spoke to the US particular envoy for Serbia and Kosovo, Gabriel Escobar.

“Serbia has an vital option to make, they may sign it, in the event that they wish to, by sanctions [against Russia],” he defined. “Now, I feel that they need to impose sanctions, I feel that everyone in Europe ought to impose sanctions, based mostly on what’s occurring in Ukraine. 

“However that is a alternative for Serbia to make. I simply suppose that it appears to be like unhealthy for Serbia to be outdoors of mainstream Europe [on this matter]”, he added.

If Serbia totally participates with the West then Washington and Brussels might ask Kosovo to satisfy Serbia’s demand in granting Serbs the appropriate to stay in Northern Kosovo.

In flip, the US desires Brussels to do its half and press forward with EU integration and velocity up the accession course of.

Serbia formally utilized for European Union membership in December 2009 however accession negotiations are nonetheless ongoing. 

Kosovo formally submitted an software for membership in December 2022.

“On the finish of this course of, I wish to see that the EU is dedicated to the enlargement within the Western Balkans and that the international locations of the Western Balkans are on a observe to completely combine into the EU in an affordable time frame. By ‘cheap’ I do not imply 20 years, I imply a lot sooner” stated Escobar.

Specialists say an answer to assist either side combine could be the introduction of standardised Western Balkans automobile license plates. 

Final November tensions between Serbia and its former province mounted once more over the Kosovo authorities’s choice to ban Serbian-issued license plates, matching Serbia’s earlier ban on Kosovo license plates.

Kosovo unilaterally broke away from Serbia in 2008. The Serbian authorities, with help from China and Russia, has refused to acknowledge Kosovo’s statehood. The US and most of its European allies recognise Kosovo as an impartial nation.