A group of representatives from the Albanian diaspora in US and around the world have written a letter to President Donald Trump on Kosova and the upcoming negotiations with Serbia.
The letter, which was provided to Illyria newspaper, by Bahri Ramadani, one of the organizers and leaders of the petition, expresses concerns about the rumored land-swap option in a potential Kosova-Serbia agreement.
The diaspora leaders, some of which spread out in several states in US, are worried about the role of Ambassador Grenell in these negotiations and call for his replacement. They ask President Trump for his contribution to the effort for a permanent resolution of the Kosova issue.
The group worries that a new coalition that won the last election in Kosova with a promise to fight corruption and revive the economy is being squeezed out of office on questionable technicalities.
The letter, which emphasizes the need of a renewed role of US in the region as Russia’s dangerous interference is getting bolder, has been sent also to Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, Chair of US Senate Mitch McConnell, US Senator Chuck Schumer, and Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Rep. Eliot Engel.
A list of the signatories from US and other countries is included in the end of the text, as provided by Bahri Ramadani.
Dear Mr. President,
We are writing this letter to you with deep concerns on the tense situation that is currently on-going in the Balkans. Specifically, the escalating heated relations between Kosova and Serbia and the influence of Russia on the politics in the Balkans. There is an attempt to re-draw or shift borderlines between Kosova and Serbia and there is a strong indication that this attempt is being dictated by Russia. We would like to express our concerns at such a dangerous move towards the re-drawing the borderlines of Kosova and fear that this action will have a domino effect in Balkans especially in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania. We worry that these actions may spark a new war in the Balkans. As you know, the United States of America has shown consistent support for the legitimate aspirations of the people of Kosova and we are asking for this support to continue in order to prevent new conflicts in the Balkan region. An attempt to negotiate a territory exchange between Kosova and Serbia not only will violate sovereignty of Kosova but it will break the very fragile peace in the region.
We strongly believe that these Russian influenced attempts will have negative effects in our region.
Allowing border shifting and territory exchange will be against the acknowledgments of the 116 Countries that have recognized Kosova as a sovereign and independent Country. These changes will increase Russian influence in the Balkans, not only in Serbia but all over the region. The domino effect will allow Serbia to gain direct access to the Adriatic Sea through Bosnia and Montenegro. This access to the Adriatic Sea has been Russian’s goal for centuries though Serbia. Allowing very questionable people to negotiate such dangerous ideas will increase tensions between Eastern Balkan Countries such as Bosnia, Kosova, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Albania. This will create a very destructive situation in the Balkans.
Democracy in Kosova is still very fragile even twenty years of the intervention of Western allies lead by the United States which provided freedom and the independence of Kosova. Corruption and organized crime in government institutions followed by nepotism and client politics have been the biggest struggle for Kosova. Last October’s general election in Kosova resulted in election of a new party with young, well-educated leaders that were not linked to any corruption or organized crimes. These new leaders clearly had the support of the Kosova people and were accepted by all parties. These elections were the most democratic elections in Kosova to date and reached the highest standards set by the international community. Everything seemed to change immediately under the new government with Prime Minister Albin Kurti. The people of Kosova saw a bright future ahead of them.
However, the politicians who had been in power since the war did not have the same feelings. They fear the new governments initiative to eliminate corruption and organized crime and their dedication to hold accountable all individuals participating in such activities. Politicians that are subject to this new government initiative against corruption and organized crimes succeeded in overthrowing the new Prime Minister Albin Kurti just three months after he took office and are promoting Russian ideas of borderline corrections and territory exchange between Kosova and Serbia. These same ideas were promoted by Serbia and Russia in Montenegro and Northern Macedonia, but they failed and now have decided to try to re-draw the boundaries of Kosova. Unfortunately, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Serbia and Kosova Peace Negotiation, Richard Grenell, has indicated his support of the border shifting and territory exchange position favored by Serbia and Russia. Former US Congressman Joseph Dioguardi, who has been engaged in the political situation in the Balkans for many years, has been outspoken against the border shift and territory exchange and has asked the US Government to remove Richard Grenell from his position and replace him with someone in favor of unbiased negotiations. We strongly support Mr. Dioguardi’s request and feel that removing Richard Grenell would be beneficial to peace negotiations in the region.
Mr. President, the people of Kosova extend their deepest gratitude to United States of America for all the support over the years. Your help is needed now more than ever to provide support for the people of Kosova who demand free elections or to reinstate the freely elected politicians. We are not asking you to help a specific party or individual. We are asking that the United States of America help the people of Kosova ensure that their leaders are determined by the votes they casted in the most democratically held elections in the country’s history this past October.
Thank you for your consideration.
The signatories of this letter are listed in the image below (click to expand)