PRISTINA (Kosovo), November 27 (SeeNews) – US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo urged Kosovo authorities to revoke the tariffs placed on imports from Serbia and Bosnia, and to work with Serbia to avoid provocations and deescalate tensions, the US State Department said.
“The Secretary encouraged Kosovo to seize this unique window of opportunity to reach a historic comprehensive normalization deal with Serbia under the EU-facilitated dialogue process,” the State Department said in a statement on Monday, following a meeting between Pompeo and Kosovo president Hashim Thaci in Washington.
Last week, Kosovo's government said it would increase the import tax on all goods produced in Serbia and Bosnia to 100% with immediate effect from 10% set earlier this month in order to protect the country's sovereignty and interests. Serbia and Bosnia both do not recognise the independence of Kosovo, the former province of Serbia populated predominantly by ethnic Albanians.
“Normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia is the only way to clear the path to both countries’ future integration into the Western community of nations. The United States is ready to help and support the parties to reach a solution that is durable, implementable, and increases stability,” Pompeo noted.
Bosnia's government has said it will not impose countermeasures in response to Kosovo's decision and called on the European Commission to intervene to help resolve the issue.
Serbia's president Aleksandar Vucic has said in a separate statement that Belgrade will impose no countermeasures in response to Pristina's decision as it wants to remain a reliable partner in the process of establishing peace and stability in the region.
Most of Kosovo's imports orginate in Serbia - around 450 million euro ($512 million) in 2017, whereas imports from Bosnia amount to around 82 million euro, according to data from Kosovo’s statistical office.