Coalition split threatened if Kosovan government fails to scrap Serbia tariffs

By bne IntelliNews March 4, 2019

Kosovo’s parliament speaker, Kadri Veseli, said on March 4 that the government should respect the US calls for lifting 100% tariffs on Serbia and Bosnia & Herzegovina, or the ruling coalition may collapse, media reported.

US and EU officials have repeatedly urged Kosovo to scrap the tariffs in order to continue the dialogue with Serbia, and find long-term agreements needed for the countries’ EU aspirations. The tariffs were imposed in November 2018, after Kosovo failed to join Interpol due to Serbian pressure on other countries to vote against. The measure has damaged Serbian traders.

“Any government in the country that endangers relations with the US may fall,” Veseli, from the Democratic Party of Kosovo, one of the main coalition partners in the government, was cited by broadcaster RTK.

Kosovan Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, from the Alliance for Kosovo's Future Party, has insisted the tariffs must remain in place until Belgrade recognises Kosovo as a separate country.

Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008, but it is still not recognised by Belgrade. Both are engaged in EU-mediated talks on normalisation of their relations, but the talks stalled after the imposition of the tariffs.

Serbia says it will not participate in further negotiations until the tariffs are revoked.

Meanwhile the leader of the opposition Democratic League of Kosovo, Isa Mustafa, said that the sole solution to the deadlock with the tariffs is holding a snap general election.


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