Democrat Senators Chris Murphy and Gary Peters continued Washington’s policy of vilifying Serbia during a visit to Prishtina on Monday. Murphy, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee tried to increase pressure on Belgrade, saying that “Serbia has to stop obstructing Kosovo, its right to be part of international organizations.”
The Senators did say that Kosovo and Serbia must implement the so-called Franco-German plan dictated by Western powers in the Spring if it wants to join the NATO military alliance. They urged both sides to act quickly to implement the plan. “The pathway [for Kosovo] to NATO and to the European Union runs through an agreement with Serbia. That’s a hard fact,” Murphy told reporters during a press conference at the US embassy in Pristina.
Kosovo is a state propped up by Washington both politically and financially. Currently, there are over 4,000 NATO troops occupying the autonomous Serbian province, of whom 600 are from the United States. Washington and its key allies recognize the independence of Kosovo, which violates both the territorial integrity of Serbia and U.N. Charter. Serbs point to the hypocrisy of this position as the same Western powers invoke these principles to uphold the territorial integrity of Ukraine and refuse to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
Murphy did acknowledge Kosovo’s obligation to establish the Community of Serbian Municipalities previously agreed upon “as soon as possible.” Kosovo’s President Vjosa Osmani told the U.S. senators that Serbia is to blame for violating the agreements by obstructing the admission of Kosovo into international organizations.
In addition to Serbia, four NATO members – Romania, Spain, Greece, and Slovakia – also do not recognize the independence of Kosovo, which it declared in 2008. Murphy speculated that the four could be convinced to accept Kosovo in NATO if the conflict with Serbia was settled, “It is dependent on this agreement being done and implemented.”
Despite official acceptance of the Franco-German Plan to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia in March, there has been no real progress, especially in northern Kosovo where over 50,000 Serbs do not recognize Kosovo’s independence and boycotted recent local elections.
Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Forces Committee, pledged Washington’s continued assistance and cooperation in support of the regime in Prishtina. The two senators are on a tour of the region during which they plan to visit all of the Western Balkans states.