US President Donald Trump’s special envoy for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, Richard Grenell, arrived at the Presidency building in Belgrade, where he met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.
Afterwards, they presented the details from the meeting during a joint press conference.
The president of Serbia said that there are “no easy talks – but that he is grateful to Grenell for understanding the needs of Serbia in a rational way and what our citizens want to see, instead of being humiliated as had been the case before.”
“I presented all the problems we’ve had since the introduction of taxes on Serbian goods in Kosovo, we lost 435 million euros. This has caused great harm to the people of Pristina as well as to us in Belgrade. I am grateful to Grenell for having a good understanding of the importance of overcoming barriers,” said Vucic.
“We’ve repeatedly offered a deal to Pristina, a break in our campaign for withdrawals of recognition of Kosovo’s independence, if they revoke their taxes, but they did not want to hear it,” the Serbian president revealed.
He told the US diplomat that he “does not accept putting an equation mark between the taxes on Serbian goods in Kosovo and withdrawals of recognition of Kosovo’s independence.”
Richard Grenell thanked Vicic for his hospitality and said he would “push both sides” to reach an agreement in the dialogue.
The taxes must be abolished, he said, adding that the campaign to withdraw recognitions of Kosovo’s independence must end. Grenell said that yesterday in Pristina, during his meetings with leaders and the business community, he said that the 100 percent tax on Serbian goods must be abolished and is unacceptable.
“I’m making the same request here, regarding the recognition withdrawal campaign, which has to stop,” Grenell said.
He said that “we must move towards the economy,” job creation, which means abolishing taxes which will lead to greater wealth and a more normal situation when it comes to trade. Grenell said he also met with businessmen in Kosovo while visiting Pristina, who said they agree the tax must be abolished.
US ambassador: New year is perfect opportunity for fresh start
US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey welcomed the US president’s special envoy.
Posting on the US embassy’s Twitter account, Godfrey said that “a new year is a perfect opportunity for a fresh start to (US president’s) goal of unleashing the region’s economic potential.”