The dispute between Kosovo’s President and Prime Minister over tax imposed on goods from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina surfaced again on Saturday after the President urged the Government to listen the U.S. advice and revoke the decision on 100 percent tax. The U.S. Government urged Kosovo authorities to suspend the tax and continue the dialogue with Serbia.
President Hashim Thaci urged the Government of Ramush Haradinaj to respect the U.S. advice and revoke the decision imposed in November 2018, on 100 percent tax for all imported goods of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. Thaci says the U.S. advice should be respected and is aimed at strengthening Kosovo’s position.
“The US Government is concerned over current developments and some of actions taken by state institutions. This is a very unfortunate situation. Therefore, now is the moment to respect advice of our American friends, aimed at strengthening of the state of Kosovo and pacification of the region,” Thaci wrote in his Facebook. The U.S. State Department asked Haradinaj’s Government to suspend the tax. The U.S. Embassy in Pristina reiterated the stance saying that the U.S. asks immediate suspension of tax. The President of Kosovo says the US support is conditional if Kosovo makes mistakes. “Our historic success was impossible without the U.S. and other Western allies. Therefore, we should always be grateful. Friendship between Kosovo and U.S. is eternal, but the U.S. support is not unconditional in case we make mistakes and question the U.S. interests and values in Kosovo, region or Europe. Our values and vision comply with the U.S. values,” Thaci wrote. Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj is opposing rescinding of the tax, saying the tariffs will be revoked only after Serbia recognizes Kosovo and in case Kosovo gets assurance by internationals that a final deal with Belgrade would include recognition of Kosovo from Serbia.
President Thaci says that the state should not be kept hostage by populist decisions of any leader. “Personal decisions of any of the state leaders should not harm interests of our state and strategic relations of the U.S. with Kosovo. Populist actions should not undermine the vision and strategic decisions of Kosovo. Harming relations with the US, and violation of this sacred alliance, represents the beginning of the deterioration of our state. Also, exorbitant arrogance in relation with the European Union does not honor our country and makes no proud our U.S. allies. The alliance of Kosovo with the U.S. weights more and is more important comparing with interests of individuals,” he said.
The EU-facilitated dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has been suspended after Belgrade is refusing to continue talks because of tariffs on Serbia’s goods. U.S. President, Donald Trump. In a letter addressed to President Hashim Thaci asked reaching of an agreement with Serbia as soon as possible. He asked the Kosovo-Serbia agreement be balanced. The U.S. indicated that they will support any deal agreed between Kosovo and Serbia. President of Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, and Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj clashed also over topics which are expected to be discussed with Serbia as part of the final phase of dialogue on normalization of relations. Thaci is pushing forward a proposal which includes correction of border, whereas Haradinaj said that nobody dares changing current border of Kosovo.