Photo credit: Tanjug

The Serbia-Kosovo Agreement will not be undermined, Richard Grenell tells Ksenija Pavlovic Mcateer, no matter the outcome of the next election. 

 

This morning, Richard Grenell and DFC’s Adam Boehler, met with high-ranking officials in Belgrade, solidifying plans laid out in the historic Serbia-Kosovo agreement just two weeks ago at the White House. The U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, invited a select group of reporters to kick off high-level meetings concerning plans for economic normalization described in the Serbia-Kosovo Agreement. 

The Special Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo peace negotiations, Richard Grenell, and DFC’s CEO, Adam Boehler, met at the US Ambassador’s residence in Belgrade with the President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, Marko Cadez, and Barat Rukiqi, the President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce. 

Richard Grenell told The Pavlovic Today that the Trump administration intends to secure this agreement’s legacy, regardless of the outcome of the U.S. election. 

The Pavlovic Today: How do you plan to secure the implementation of the Serbia-Kosovo Agreement, given that you are in the midst of the election season in the United States? How are you going to assure that this legacy you are creating right now gets maintained no matter who gets in the office? 

Richard Grenell began by sharing his regrets that he and his team could not get to Belgrade sooner, citing COVID19 as the reason for the delay. Nevertheless, “You have the total attention of the United States government”, Grenell insisted.

“President Trump has been the one with the vision to flip this and turn the focus onto economic normalization. The challenge in Washington will be to keep the outsider mentality, so as to not return to the same political table. But I think that what you’re seeing now is a real commitment from the US government”, he reiterated. 

Grenell’s line of thinking is to give credit where credit is due. He said that President Vucic and Prime Minister Barnabic are digging deep into the aspects of government on the Serbian side that could aid in opening up this economic relationship with Kosovo. Their commitment to finding new relations with Kosovo reflects their deep desire to see the long political rift between the two dissipate. 

Grenell referred to Boehler’s remarks on the importance of momentum in sustained economic growth, emphasizing the opportunities that will be provided by private sector initiatives as an integral role. Over the next 10 to 20 years, Grenell and Boehler claim the effects of the Serbia-Kosovo economic normalization will be felt in the region, providing better economic opportunities for the people who live there.

“I know that political reporters love to know what the immediate impact is; You want to see the job creation tomorrow, I love that energy”, said Grenell but insisted that “this is going to take a little while” because these are serious jobs.

“This is not just a ribbon-cutting of a desk job, this is going to be high-paying jobs in energy, technology, infrastructure jobs. This is really digging deep. And I think I keep coming back to Adam’s point about many Serbs are educated in the United State, in Europe. This is the moment where they will be educated, and then come back and start jobs. And that’s when you will see the growth. So I think that it’s more of a long-term challenge that has been opened up, it would be really hard to put that back in the bottle”, Grenell went on to describe his vision of substantial, long-term change, which will spring from the momentum of private sector opportunities facilitating economic growth for decades to come.

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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