The US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, Wess Mitchell, began his visit to Kosovo by meeting President Hashim Thaci. At a joint press briefing after the meeting, Thaci said the US was and remains Kosovo’s strategic partner and thanked the US administration for its focus on Kosovo and the Western Balkans.
Thaci thanked Mitchell for choosing Kosovo as the first stop of his visit to the Western Balkans and said the meeting took place in a friendly and constructive atmosphere. Thaci said he informed the US official on Kosovo’s efforts to consolidate its statehood both internally and externally and that he also spoke of the Kosovo institutions’ commitment to finalise the border demarcation with Montenegro as soon as possible as the final step towards the visa liberalisation regime. Thaci said the issue would be concluded in the coming days. “No one has any more reasons to delay the ratification of the agreement,” he underlined. He also said that he discussed the transformation of the Kosovo Security Force into a Kosovo army as being a precondition for Kosovo joining NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme and eventually the Alliance itself. On the dialogue for normalisation of relations with Serbia, Thaci said the final outcome needs to respect mutual sovereignty. He also said the options such as partition of Kosovo or exchange of territories will be unacceptable.
Assistant Secretary Mitchell on his part said it was very important for him to begin the Western Balkans tour with Kosovo noting that the alliance between Kosovo and the US will continue to grow. He said Kosovo has made ‘phenomenal’ progress in the period since declaring independence and stressed the importance of commitment to dialogue with Serbia and ratification of the border demarcation agreement with Montenegro. Asked to comment on the reports by Serbian media that he will propose a new plan for Kosovo during his visit to Serbia, Mitchell said he saw the reports and that they were speculations. “I did not come here to unveil any specific plan,” Mitchell said.