The Serbia-Kosovo agreement is on the fast track to implementation. An upcoming visit to Serbia by Richard Grenell and Adam Boehler, in the midst of America’s election season, shows that POTUS means business with his foreign policy agenda and the exportation of his economy model abroad.
After the historic Serbia-Kosovo agreement came to life on September 4, 2020, at the White House, Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations, Richard Grenell, and DFC’s CEO, Adam Boehler, are visiting Belgrade, Serbia, for a series of high-level meetings with business leaders and government officials. The purpose of the Serbia trip is to reinforce the commitment to the implementation of this agreement and to lay out the groundwork for opening the DFC office in Belgrade, as well as to look at ways to support the economic development of the region.
At 11 AM local time tomorrow, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey will be hosting a meeting at his residence between the Serbian business community and the U.S. government delegation to Belgrade.
The following individuals are expected to attend: Special Presidential Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations, Richard Grenell; DFC’s CEO, Adam Boehler; Marko Cadež, President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce; Berat Rukiqi, President of the Kosovo Chamber of Commerce; and the president of the US Chamber of Commerce, Zoran Petrovic.
At 2 PM local time, Richard Grenell and Adam Boehler will have a meeting with the Serbian President, Vucic, and Prime Minister, Ana Brnabic. After the meeting, leaders are expected to address the media.
Grenell announced that “implementing the agreement made by Kosovo and Serbia is a top priority for the Trump Administration,” which Trump’s critics questioned immediately. However, in less than three weeks after the agreement was signed, Grenell certainly IS walking the talk.
This is the first time in a long history of Serbia-US relations that the U.S. administration is forging a two-way avenue of friendship based on mutual respect, understanding, and eagerness to do business, which will have the added benefit of opening the Western Balkans to U.S. investors.
Trump, indeed, broke the barrier, making the Serbia-Kosovo breakthrough truly historic. One of the most significant provisions of the agreement is a year-long freeze on the recognition and derecognition campaigns, a possibility for the Serbs and Kosovo’s Albanians to have space to breathe and, instead of focusing on politics, to engage in conversations about the economy.
The fact that the DFC is opening a permanent office in Belgrade, the only overseas presence the DFC will have in the near future, indicates that Grenell was serious about the Trump administration making Serbia a priority for the U.S.
Adam Boehler has confirmed the DFC’s interest in funding infrastructure “critical to the historic economic normalization between Serbia and Kosovo: a highway connecting the cities of Pristina and Nis.”
The Peace Highway aims to serve as a powerful symbol of the new, transformative relationship between Serbs and Kosovo’s Albanians.
“DFC, in partnership with EXIM, is committed to advancing this peace process by investing in projects that create jobs and bring sustained economic benefit to both countries,” said Boehler.
America’s Serbian population is very excited about the Serbia-Kosovo agreement, and this overseas trip undertaken by Grenell and Boehler is seen as a positive signal not only for a new chapter in Serbia-US relations but also for the region in terms of economic cooperation and development.
On the election side, the efforts Trump is making with the Serbia-Kosovo agreement will boost voting preferences among Serbian-Americans who see Trump’s actions favorably in contrast to Joe Biden, who sponsored the bill for NATO’s bombing of Serbia. [A concurrent resolution authorizing the President of the United States to conduct military air operations and missile strikes against the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro).]
A U.S. government delegation led by U.S. International (DFC) Chief Executive Officer Boehler’s trip to Serbia is only one part of a tour which includes Athens, Pristina, and Jerusalem. From September 20 to September 25, the Trump administration will be looking at ways to advance economic cooperation and development.