Kosovo’s President, Vjosa Osmani, received Senator Jack Reed, chairman of the Armed Forces Committee in the US Senate, in a meeting in Prishtina on Tuesday. She sought the aid of the United States to expedite Kosovo’s accession process into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). During the meeting, Osmani said that Kosovo has taken steps to improve the situation in the north of the country while emphasizing the destabilizing actions of Serbia and its cooperation with Russia, states the Presidency’s Press Release.
Underscoring safeguards of the rights and liberties of all ethnic communities embedded in Kosovo’s constitution as a multi-ethnic state, President Osmani said that that these fundamental rights which constitute the cornerstone of Kosovo society’s principles are inviolable.
President Osmani reiterated that Kosovo’s goal remains inclusion in the Partnership for Peace as well as membership in NATO “at the earliest opportunity.”
Next, Senator Reed was received by Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti, who “personally thanked him for ensuring the inclusion of Kosovo in the Fiscal Year 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, which enables Kosovo to partake in U.S.-led military exercises that aim to enhance interoperability with NATO forces”.
The statement issued by Prime Minister’s office noted Senator Reed’s appreciation for the warm reception and gratitude for Kosovo’s resolute decision and willingness to provide sanctuary for Afghan citizens. Senator Reed acknowledged “the significant role of the United States in supporting Kosovo in 1999 and recognized Kosovo’s advancements while expressing his support for positive outcomes.”
The visit comes on the heels of a letter from dozens of European and U.S. legislators urging top EU, U.S., and U.K. envoys to avoid a “Belgrade-centered policy for the Balkans.” Fifty-six legislators from Britain, the United States, and a number of EU and non-EU states called on Washington, Brussels, and London for being too soft on Belgrade with regard to Kosovo. The letter bemoaned a “lack of pressure on Serbia” after its detention of the Kosovar police officers.
In late May, tensions between majority Albanians in Kosovo and local Serbs backed by Belgrade erupted into ethnic violence causing injuries to dozens of NATO peacekeepers in northern Kosovo, after municipal elections a month earlier that were boycotted by ethnic Serbs. Pristina was criticized by the United States and European Union for “forcibly installing ethnic Albanian mayors in Serb-majority areas.”
Weeks later, Serbian authorities detained three Kosovar police officers near the border and held them for days.
The violence that erupted was prompted by Serbian agitators and the incendiary remarks by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic fueled criticism of international observers that the West was bending too much to accommodate Belgrade in the long-running tensions with Kosovo. “We are asking for balance and proportionality to return in dealing with Kosovo and Serbia,” the letter said, acknowledging the recent imposition of sanctions by Washington of Aleksandar Vulin, a staunch nationalist and Vucic ally who runs Serbia’s Security and Information Agency (BIA).
Signatories of the letter, which was made public on August 7 warn that “The current approach is not working.” Borrell confirmed receipt of the letter but said through a spokesman that he would not comment on its contents.