US Assistant Secretary Nuland to visit Kosovo and Macedonia

US Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland to visit Kosovo and Macedonia to resolve crises

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Updated Jul 28, 2015

The United States Department of State Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland is visiting Pristina on Sunday to try to convince MPs to back unpopular constitutional changes.

The Assembly of Kosovo in Pristina in a vote on June 26 rejected amendments to Kosovo’s constitution to allow a court to deal with allegations that the country’s ethnic Albanian wartime leaders - the ex-guerrillas of the now dismantled Kosovo Liberation Army (UCK) - killed hundreds of Serb civilians.

Nuland will meet President Atifete Jahjaga, Prime Minister Isa Mustafa and Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

The Thaci backed amendments were rejected by members of his own Democratic Party of Kosovo because of what they called the "unfair smear of the just struggle for liberation" by Kosovo Albanians.

The US embassy said in a statement that it was "deeply disappointed" by the June 26 vote, according to Associated Press, and expressed that the US won't block Russia's attempts to establish a UN tribunal to investigate about allegations.

According to Balkan Insight, Nuland’s visit aims to persuade the government to bring the amendment again to general assembly.

Nuland will also follow up on the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia and the progress on implementation of the April 19, 2013 Brussels, Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) on normalization of relations.

“We want 2015 to be the year that advances the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue so the EU can open chapters for Serbia and sign the SAA for Kosovo,” Nuland said.

Nuland also stressed that the governments have to take responsibility for reconciliation on relations, saying “But that will take courageous decisions in both Pristina and Belgrade. Again, together with the EU, America says: seize this moment and we will help.”

"Kosovo and Serbia are making progress in healing their past wounds and creating the arrangements to live as good neighbours,” Nuland added.

Nuland is going to visit Skopje to break the political stalemate in Macedonia on Monday.

Nuland called on political leaders in Macedonia to seize the opportunity that is offered to implement the agreement on the normalization of the political situation by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn.

Nuland said that in order to end the political crisis, Macedonian leaders should aim to resolve the dispute with Greece to pave the way for the Macedonian Euro-Atlantic integration.

“The United States joins the EU, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank in urging Bosnia-Herzegovina’s leaders to make crucial reform decisions now, or risk being left behind for another twenty years,” Nuland said in Dubrovnik, Croatia on Friday.

Nuland also stressed the importance of Euro-Atlantic integration saying “Our message to Macedonia is equally tough. The major political forces must stop squabbling and get on the path to democratic reform sketched out by EU Commissioner Johannes Hahn with US support, and then move on to settle the name issue with Greece.”

TRTWorld and agencies