Edward Joseph, U.S. analyst, told Radio Free Europe that the appointment of Richard Grenell as special envoy for Kosovo-Serbia peace negotiations is an indicator that the White House believes it can convince Germany to support the land swap idea.
“It is both positive and concerning. Positive because each U.S. administration that shows increased interest in the Balkans is a good thing. It’s been several years since the U.S. has distanced itself from the Balkans and has lowered it from its priorities. However, this issue clearly requires high-level efforts in order for Kosovo and Serbia to make progress. At the same time, it is strange and concerning. Why has ambassador Grenell been appointed when Matthew Palmer has recently been appointed special representative? Palmer has of course extensive experience on the region while ambassador Grenell has worked in the United Nations, has knowledge on the region, but not at the same level. It is a good thing that the White House, in times of many other crises, is interested in resolving this issue but, on the other hand, it is strange and remains to be seen what will this mean for the American policy in the region,” Joseph said.
Joseph said it is unusual for the U.S. to have two envoys covering more or less the same region and said this “creates confusion”. “But at the same time, it is not all bad. Grenell is ambassador in Germany and, although he had disagreements there, is aware about Germany’s concern with regards to the policy raised by the former U.S. national security advisor John Bolton which it seems is in favour of territorial exchange. It is possible that the White House continues to be engaged in the Balkans and believes Grenell is the person that can convince Germany. However, in the views of leaders in the region, land swap is dangerous and destabilizing.”