Statement of CEAS Director Ms. Jelena Milic - "THIS WOMAN DISCOVERED AMERICA'S PLAN FOR KOSOVO: AND ITS VERY INTERESTING"

*CEAS translation of the article published in Kurir on 25th May 2020

"Belgrade is now showing an extremely high level of cooperation, and rationally attempting to change to certain extent the situation and the narrative for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as Serbia, and to preserve its Western orientation. Belgrade should continue with that policy, even if Trump loses the elections," said Milić.

CEAS director Jelena Milić stated that its now Serbia that is in no hurry to resolve the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and that it would be completely logical to say - 'no', if a potential solution for Kosovo and Metohija does not benefit its interests.

That was Milić’s answer to the question who is currently most motivated to push for a solution on Kosovo and Metohija, and how she perceives the further role of US envoy for Belgrade- Pristina dialogue Richard Grenell. She also gave her views concerning the messages from French and German foreign ministers about the urgent need to continue the dialogue, and whether someone in Europe has a "ready-made solution" to offer, which is assumed by President Aleksandar Vučić, who has in mind a proposal that he is sure will have to reject.

Milić estimates that the most reasonable thing for Serbia to do is to try and find an internal consensus, and proceed to seek one with the American administration, and then leave it up to the US administration to pursue consensus with Kosovars and the Europeans.

"I have never seen a topic, such as a possible correction of the administrative line, be 'buried' so many times and criticized so much. I would say that certain circles in Germany and those hoping for a position in a potential new US administration are in a rush to protect their legacy from 20 years ago," said Milić.

She stated that Richard Grenell, until recently the US ambassador to Germany, can now be expected to dedicate more time and apply more dynamic approach to the topic of Belgrade and Pristina relations.

"Grenell is an exceptional diplomat, who said that his role is to lay down the economic foundations that a political agreement would be built upon. This is a message to the leaders in the region that they should follow suit and have as flexible approach as the United States, and in return, America will support them, and the countries of the region will reap financial and political benefits," Milić said. 

Rapprochement with the US is a "win-win" situation and a proper path ahead in finding a compromise solution with Kosovo, which is in the interest of all those who advocate for Serbia's eventual European integration.

Milić points out that it is very good that the Donald Trump administration appointed deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, Alexander ALDEN, who has the task of reestablishing relations with Brussels, which were disrupted, something that has slipped our attention here, she noted.

"Thus, Matthew Palmer will now have more time and energy for the issue of the Western Balkans, and Richard Grenell can focus on the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, which is obviously one of his key tasks in the election period," Milić said.

She notes that Grenell is leaving Berlin with "an excellent legacy and track record", but also adds that if Trump needs a big foreign policy victory now - it is most likely going to be something related to Ukraine, rather than the Southeast European political topics. She adds that the US policy towards Southeast Europe, and above all the Western Balkans, is continuously "consistent  and positive", and that although the United States has not changed its position on the issue of Kosovo's independence, it has shown a little more understanding for the Serbian cause.

"Belgrade is now showing an extremely high level of cooperation, and rationally attempting to change to certain extent the situation and the narrative for the Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, as well as Serbia, and to preserve its Western orientation. Belgrade should continue with that policy, even if Trump loses the elections," said Milić.

Milić points out that the French and German letter, which calls for an urgent renewal of the Belgrade- Pristina dialogue, contains two interesting things - the role of the United States is not mentioned, but the Brussels agreement is, whose main provision on establishment of Community of Serbian Municipalities is something Pristina has failed to comply with for years.

She reminds that in the official EU statement from March, there is a sentence about continuing cooperation with the partners, primarily with the US. However, now the partnership with the United States is not mentioned, although it can be assumed that the reference to "no quick fixes" relates to America.