President Trump’s Special Envoy for Kosovo-Serbia dialogue Richard Grenell rejected recent accusations that he has been involved in discussions for a land swap deal between Kosovo and Serbia.
During a recorded phone interview with Berat Buzhala, aired on Kosovo’s T7 channel on Friday evening, Grenell was asked whether he or any other US Government official has discussed with Kosovo and Serbia’s presidents the idea of a land-swap. He said:
“It is never been brought up at my presence. This is not something that I have seen, or has been talked about.”
Pressed whether a land-swap would be an option to solve current problems between Kosovo and Serbia, Grenell responded: “I personally don’t. I don’t see that as an option.”
Grenell labeled the idea of a land-swap as a political issue, and stressed that the United States have taken the economic route to improve relations between Kosovo and Serbia: “I want to be very clear that all these are political issues, we the United States are really concentrating on the economic issues.
In this line of talk, Grenell ignored any historic and political significance in the Kosovo and Serbia relations promoting the idea that improvements of economic ties and opportunities between the two countries will solve their political problems.
He considered economic development as the solution to political problems that “economic development, job creation creates hope, creates incentives, and the political issues would become less.”
Grenell repeatedly emphasized that many of the problems between the two countries “are economic-related”, which he rationalized is the reason why the US is pushing for parties to stop fighting and start trying to create jobs in the region.
He also downplayed the motivation of the US administration’s pressure on the Kurti government to immediately and unconditionally drop tariffs on Serbian goods, insisting that the only rationale behind it was, again, to improve Kosovo’s economy and create new jobs for young people.
He said President Trump has asked him, in his role as Special Envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, to help improve the economy and create jobs for young people.
He stressed that the US administration will work with any government that would remove tariffs and work toward improving the economy and creating new jobs, so the youth would not have to emigrate.
The transcript of the interview can be read here.