US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale, who on Saturday visited Kosovo, urged political leaders to speak in one voice,adding that unity strengthens Pristina’s position in dialogue with Serbia. In a joint interview with three Kosovo media outlets, Hale said the US commitment to Kosovo has not changed. Mr. Hale has not commented whether the US will support solutions involving change of borders along ethnic lines.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, David Hale, after meeting with Kosovo institutional leaders, president Hashim Thaci, prime minister Ramush Haradinaj, and speaker of Parliament Kadri Veseli, gave an interview to three media outlets of Kosovo, including Gazeta Express. Hale’s visit came amidst debate in Kosovo on whether to suspend the tariffs on Serbian goods which was requested by the US and media speculations that Washington is considering withdrawal of its troops from Kosovo and introducing other sanctions because of the Kosovo Government’s resistance to the US request. But Hale in his interview was very careful, and far from the speculations reported by media last week. Hale has not stated that the US troops will withdraw from Kosovo. He was not tough even on the tax issue. Talking on final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia dialogue, Hale said that the essence of the dialogue is mutual recognition between Kosovo and Serbia. But he gave deadline on reaching of a final agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. Media have speculated that the US is asking Pristina and Belgrade to reach a legally-binding agreement by the end of this year. “It is up to Kosovo and Serbia to reach an agreement, which should contribute to stability in the region,” Hale said. “So far parties [involved in dialogue] wanted to show their strength, now it is time to show wisdom,” Hale said. He blamed neither Kosovo nor Serbia, for blocking of the dialogue process, adding that the US and EU agree on most of the topics related to this issue.
When asked to comment correction of borders, or exchange of territories between Kosovo and Serbia, hale said that it is up to Kosovo and Serbia to decide on this issue. “We are not party in this process,” he said, adding however that the US will support an agreement reached by both sides, by not mentioning any 'red line.’ Talking on Kosovo’s relations with the US, Hale said “US commitment for the future of Kosovo remains unshaken.” David Hale, is the most senior US diplomat who visited our region, including Kosovo, over the last few years and he visited Pristina a day after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade. /GazetaExpress/