What does the new Serbia-Kosovo deal mean?

Serbia's President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo's Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti have concluded an economic agreement in Washington brokered by the US. Under the agreement Kosovo will become part of a free trade zone initiated by Serbia. However, the paper also contains a passage stating that both countries recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and will move or open their embassies there. Journalists attempt to interpret the consequences.

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Delo (SI) /

No more than an encouraging sign

The agreement leaves out the real bones of contention between Serbia and Kosovo, Delo complains:

“The agreement on economic relations signed in the White House contains what Serbia and Kosovo could accept, and what could help Donald Trump in the run-up to the presidential elections. ... Belgrade and Pristina have committed to declaring the Shiite Hezbollah movement a terrorist organisation. Who really cares about the fact that Serbia and Kosovo's influence doesn't reach as far as Jerusalem? ... Although the agreement in the White House is an encouraging sign for the region, an agreement between the EU and the US remains the essential condition for a compromise solution in the dispute between Serbia and Kosovo that would be acceptable to both sides.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

Trump pushing Balkan politicians onto a minefield

The Süddeutsche Zeitung criticises the fact that Trump not only pushed the Serbs and Kosovars to reach an economic agreement, but also to locate their embassies in Jerusalem:

“He certainly did not do Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti a favour in pushing them onto that minefield. Rather, he has used the two Balkan politicians, who want to lead their countries into the EU, for his own interests, and persuaded them to undermine the EU line in the Middle East. Yet more proof that Trump's deal policy is arbitrary and divisive. Mechanisms that may work in business can be dangerous in politics.”