On Friday, President Trump announced a breakthrough in one of the world’s most fractured region: The Balkans.
Trump oversaw a historic deal between the Balkan nations of Kosovo and Serbia – which will normalize economic relations between the two rivals.
The deal also included Kosovo recognizing Israel’s right to exist and will move Serbia’s embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić signed the peace deal in the Oval Office of the White House.
President Trump released the following statement:
“Today, I am pleased to announce yet another historic commitment. Serbia and Kosovo have each committed to economic normalization. After a violent and tragic history and years of failed negotiations, my Administration proposed a new way of bridging the divide. By focusing on job creation and economic growth, the two countries were able to reach a real breakthrough on economic cooperation across a broad range of issues.
We have also made additional progress on reaching peace in the Middle East. Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalization of ties and the establishment of diplomatic relations. Serbia has committed to opening a commercial office in Jerusalem this month and to move its embassy to Jerusalem by July.
It has taken tremendous bravery by President Vučić of Serbia and Prime Minister Hoti of Kosovo to embark on these talks and to come to Washington to finalize these commitments. By doing so, they have made their countries, the Balkans, and the world safer. I look forward to seeing Serbia and Kosovo prosper as we work together on economic cooperation in the region going forward.”
The relations between the two republics has been heated since the deadly Balkan Wars of the ’90s which were fueled by ethnic and religious divisions.
In 2018, Kosovo implemented a 100% tariff on imported Serbian goods.
The new deal will allow for new areas of economic cooperation and for the first flight between Pristina, Kosovo, and Belgrade, Serbia in 21 years, according to The US News and World Report.