The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo reached an economic deal brokered by President Donald Trump on Friday, in a major step toward improving the relationship between the two nations who both also extended an olive branch to Israel.
What are the details?
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti were able to come to deal signed in the Oval Office of the White House that includes Serbia following the United States’ lead in moving its embassy to Jerusalem, and Kosovo — a majority Muslim country — and Israel agreeing to mutual recognition in what the Associated Press called “a diplomatic win” for President Trump.
Fox News noted that “Kosovo had declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO conducted an airstrike campaign against Serbia in a bid to end the persecution of ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.”
The outlet reported that “While most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s independence, Serbia, Russia and China have not — keeping tensions high in the Balkan region.”
The European Union has overseen talks between Serbia and Kosovo for more than a decade without success, making Friday’s agreement a significant achievement.
Vucic admitted at the signing, “We haven’t resolved all our issues, but this is a huge step forward,” while Hoti added, “This is a great moment for the region.”
President Trump declared during the ceremony, “I’m pleased to announce a truly historic commitment. Serbia and Kosovo have each committed to economic normalization.” He added, “Truly, it is historic.”
Following the signing, President Trump promised further deals working toward peace in the Middle East, tweeting, “Another great day for peace with Middle East – Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalize ties and establish diplomatic relations. Well-done! More Islamic and Arab nations will follow soon!”
Another great day for peace with Middle East – Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalize ties and… https://t.co/cm0JuEHhV2
— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1599237849.0
The deal between Kosovo and Serbia comes just weeks after another major diplomatic victory for the Trump administration.
Last month, the president and his advisors mediated a peace deal between Israel and the United Arab Emirates that made the UAE the third Arab nation to establish ties with Israel.
A joint statement released by the U.S., Israel, and the UAE on the agreement read, in part:
This historic diplomatic breakthrough will advance peace in the Middle East region and is a testament to the bold diplomacy and vision of the three leaders and the courage of the United Arab Emirates and Israel to chart a new path that will unlock the great potential in the region. All three countries face many common challenges and will mutually benefit from today’s historic achievement.