Congressman Engel raises concerns on US Policy toward Kosovo
Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the US
House of Representatives, Eliot Engel, a Democrat, in a statement issued on Friday
said there is something wrong with the U.S. foreign policy toward Kosovo and
“we need to correct it.”
Read the full statement:
say that the United States and Kosovo have a warm and close relationship would
be understating the depth of our ties. The United States led the campaign to
end Milosevic’s genocidal ethnic cleansing and has been the most powerful and
consistent friend of the independent and sovereign Republic of Kosovo. I’ve
visited Kosovo many times and can confidently say Americans do not receive a
warmer welcome anywhere else around the world.
been proud to be a partner of Kosovo governments led by a variety of political
parties. I do not take sides on who should run Kosovo. That is a decision for
the people of Kosovo. I will always work with whomever they choose.
is why I have been increasingly concerned with the heavy-handed tactics the
Trump Administration is using with Prishtina. The State Department has long
called for Kosovo to lift its tariffs on Serbia. But this Administration turned
to economic penalties just a few short weeks after the Kurti government took
office. Rather than letting a new government facing a pandemic staff its
agencies and set up internal procedures, the U.S. contributed to a political
crisis in Prishtina over the tariffs on Serbia.
are good reasons for Kosovo to lift tariffs, mostly that they are hurting
Kosovo more than they are providing leverage to reach a peace deal with Serbia.
Regardless, tariffs are a legitimate tool of a sovereign nation. As such,
they’ve been imposed around the world by President Trump against friends and
foes, alike, for economic and political reasons.
than using overbearing tactics with a friend which relies on our support, the
United States should have patiently worked with the now-outgoing Kosovo
government—as it sought to work with the previous Kosovo government—to improve
policies which promote prosperity and a lasting peace. Strong-arming a small
democracy is the act of a bully, not a mature partner. Regardless, I will
continue to work with whatever government the people of Kosovo select now and
in the future.
the pressure imposed on Prishtina for its tariffs is decidedly unbalanced.
Serbian diplomats are transiting the globe pressing countries to derecognize
Kosovo, and Serbia is deepening relations with Moscow and purchasing
significant amounts of Russian weaponry. In fact, under the Countering
America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) passed by Congress in the
aftermath of Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, these arms purchases
require the Administration to impose sanctions on Serbia. Neither have we
imposed those sanctions, nor have we energetically pressed Serbia to end its
wrong with U.S. policy and we need to correct it. We should start with
rebalancing our approaches toward Serbia and Kosovo. We should work with our
European allies to treat both countries as independent and sovereign partners,
applying consistent standards to both sides as we try to restart peace talks.
When U.S. law says we should sanction Serbia due to its security ties with
Russia, we should.
the U.S. should immediately restart its assistance through the Millennium
Challenge Corporation (MCC). The MCC model is based on objective, data-driven
indicators and a mutually agreed upon compact between the U.S. and the
recipient country. Using this assistance as a bludgeon for actions not related
to MCC or its mission twists the agency into just another transactional
pressure tool—precisely what it was not intended to be.”