Let’s give Richard Grenell needed time, because we have no Plan B (2) - Gazeta Express


Gazeta Express

19/02/2020 16:10

Let’s give Richard Grenell needed time, because we have no Plan B (2)


Gazeta Express

19/02/2020 16:10

Fed up with corrupt politicians, we have amnestied Albin Kurti for his anarchist past, although in two critical moments he was on the wrong side of the history. If Kurti keeps deepening the rift even further with the US, we are left no choice but remind him that amnesty or probation are valid only for those who are not recidivist. The “Richard Grenell” hurricane is powerful even to Germany, let alone Kosovo.

by Berat Buzhala

A few months ago US President Donald Trump gave his Ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, additional responsibilities – appointing him as his special envoy for reaching a peace agreement between Kosovo and Serbia. My personal opinion on Donald Trump’s policies is already known but my opinion and our opinions as private citizens by no means should reflect the opinion of the Government of Kosovo and opinion of our institutions when it comes to relations with the US.

The Government of Kosovo is obliged to cooperate with everyone in the White House and with every official that the White House authorises to communicate with Kosovo, in this particular case with Richard Grenell.

Frequent meetings of Kosovo leaders with Mr. Grenell have demystified the US diplomat to a certain degree but in reality his political importance remains enormously important. For instance, a few days ago Grenell wrote that President Trump instructed him to make it clear that any nation that chooses to use an untrustworthy 5G vendor “will jeopardize our ability to share Intelligence and information at the highest level.”

The US official authorised to talk with Europe about these sensitive topics is Grenell, who among other duties is obliged to meet Kosovo low-level officials such as Agim Veliu and Avdullah Hoti, as well as its leaders PM Albin Kurti, Foreign Minister Glauk Konjufca, President Hashim Thaci, and opposition leader Kadri Veseli. Such a practice seemed to have demystified Grenell’s personality in our eyes because according to our practices we prove to be obedient if the other side, the party which gives orders, appears somehow enigmatic. But all I want to say is that the US considers the 5G network is far more important comparing with what happens with Kosovo and Serbia, whereas Grenell is dealing with both issues.

Gazeta Express, quoting its sources has reported over the last few days that relations between Kosovo and the US are deteriorating. If Prime Minister Kurti and the Government of Kosovo resist the US call to drop tariffs and gives up replacing the tax with reciprocity, the prime minister of Kosovo would be isolated by the United States. I know that cynics, those who do not care about the future of this country, will continue appearing in TV and call on Kurti not to give up on his “principled position.” Of course there will be others, including members of Kurti’s party – the Vetevendosje who would encourage their friend “to teach a lesson” to US, Trump and Grenell. But the question is: What if the US gives up on dealing with Kosovo because of this idiotic tax?

It is a risk not worth taking even if the threat of happening so is one percent. Sources told Gazeta Express that Kosovo is at real danger of facing problems with the US. Therefore, Kurti should not accept his political agenda be shaped by anarchists. He should react and demonstrate, it is his moral and Constitutional obligation after all, what is plans are?

What he will do if…? Or, why he is supporting the tax, or what is behind his plan of introducing reciprocity? Is he acting so because Serbia deserves “eye for an eye” answer, or simply he is acting so to block the dialogue hoping improvement of circumstances in his favour?

If Kurti’s actions are aimed at delaying the dialogue, all we can say is let’s hope he knows better what is at stakes.

This is a political roulette, and a single bet can waste everything gained over the last 30 years. So, Kurti should be aware that no one has authorised him, he was not voted, to weight pros and cons of the achievements over the last three decades. He was voted for something else. He was elected prime minister but the citizens gave him no mandate to jeopardise the alliance with the US, including the US under Trump’s administration. No one has that mandate. 

Citizens agreed that because of misgovernment over the last two decades one should not look thoroughly into Albin Kurti’s biography, but his past makes us believe that in at least two critical moments he was on the wrong side of events. He was on the wrong side of history in 1999 during the Ramboulliet Conference, when he made efforts to convince Kosovo delegation not to sign a peace Agreement, and he was wrong when stated that the Ahtisaari Plan does not grant Kosovo independence. If he continues confrontation with the US without having a Plan B, then we as a state will be in serious trouble. Maybe, in this case, the LDK as coalition partner of Kurti should switch to Plan B, a plan that I will leave to your imagination and not elaborate further. 

If we say that Kurti is keeping tariffs not to thwart the dialogue but simply as a normal economic and political measure towards a country which refuses to recognise us, this is also questionable. We all agree that Kosovo needs to introduce full reciprocity with Serbia but initially we should give more space to Mr. Grenell, who in alliance with the Germany has yet to test his ideas of a final agreement. It is better saying “NO” to a proposal rather than saying “NO” to the Dialogue. Grenell in a reaction on Twitter on Wednesday called as fake news all those speaking that partition of Kosovo is his plan. His post can be used against him in a later phase of the dialogue.

Politically Kosovo is in a more favourable position comparing with where it was only a few months ago. Vetevendosje and the LDK have the mandate to negotiate a potential agreement with Serbia. Majority of Albanians have voted these two political parties. There is no more a minority of Albanians in Government staying in power thanks to votes of the Serb MPs from Srpska List. Also PM Kurti, his deputy Avdullah Hoti, and Assembly Speaker Vjosa Osmani, are well prepared to hold high level negotiations. Scenes of all Albanian-men team sitting at the table with former EU High Representative Federica Mogherini to negotiate in dialogue with Serbia, looked ugly. Luckily this is now just a history, and those who lost power got what they deserved. I will not elaborate further but I know that the last man standing from that specific group, President Thaci, will get what he deserves once his mandate expires.

Therefore, I consider Albin Kurti as being at the beginning of his long journey whereas his biggest rival, President Thaci, is approaching the end of his political carrier. A lot of people argue rightfully that Kurti bears no responsibility of the current situation because others before him brought the country to the edge, including unpleasant position on dialogue. 

Of course, de-jure Kurti bears no responsibility whatsoever, whereas de-facto, as opposition leader he also should be held accountable of current situation. But, all these problems are irrelevant now. Kurti did not come to power with the promise that “when I will be elected the situation will get worse because others before me made many mistakes.” No! He came to power with the promise that he will channel problems caused by his predecessors. Problems will not be solved by causing additional problems, such as creating tensions in relations with the US. The guru of US diplomacy, Henry Kissinger has once stated: “America has no permanent friends or enemies, only interests.” Kurti is obliged to make Kosovo interesting for the American interests. No one cares who is right in this duel between David and Goliath. The Government of Kosovo, headed by Kurti, should become part of the process. 

Just for a comparison, reportedly every time Palestinians refused a US offer on solving of problems with Israel, the next proposal they were offered was to their detriment. Is the comparison with Palestine and Palestinians accurate? Of course, not completely accurate. We are not Palestine; Serbia is not Israel but America is mediator in both cases. Therefore, it is likely that the logics, energy and temperament are alike.

Under these circumstances, the question we should ask ourselves is: Do we want to learn in our history books that we were right until 2020 when all of a sudden great injustice fell upon us, or we want to learn that this was a very difficult period for Kosovo, but thanks to our dexterous prime minister we managed to get out from this unpleasant situation created by our leaders before him? I would prefer choosing lesson number 2. What about you?