POLITICO: US Democrats, Republicans united in criticism against Kurti


Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti has achieved the impossible in American politics: consensus among Democrats and Republicans, reported POLITICO.

“Unfortunately for Kurti (and his country), the point of agreement is that Kosovo’s leader is a stubborn, and at times, reckless politician who has undermined the joint U.S.-European effort to achieve a lasting solution for peace between Kosovo and Serbia,” POLITICO reported.

This news organization said that Washington has laid the blame for the recent outbreak of violence between Kosovo authorities and the Serb-majority communities in northern Kosovo squarely at Kurti’s feet and has tried — so far without success — to rein him in with public criticism.

“We have some very fundamental issues with him on whether we can count on him as a partner,” Christopher Hill, the U.S. ambassador to Serbia, told Voice of America earlier this month.

Kurti’s actions were also criticized by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and by former envoy for the region Richard Grenell, but the public rebuke by the Biden administration was extraordinary on several levels, reported POLITICO.

It noted that Kosovo has been a “pet project” of Democratic leaders ever since former President Bill Clinton led the successful 1999 NATO campaign against Yugoslav strongman Slobodan Milosevic, who oversaw the eviction of millions from homes in the ethnic cleansing of Albanians from Kosovo.

However, said POLITICO, even the European Union (EU) has lost patience with Kurti.

On the other hand, Ambassador Hill, a diplomatic legend in the Balkans and one of the architects of the Dayton Accords, says that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his government “are good partners in this process,” POLITICO reported.

The Kosovo Prime Minister is insisting that Vucic’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s sovereignty and come to terms with the realities of Serbia’s wartime past are to blame for the crisis.

“What we see from the democratic West is a certain appeasement attitude (toward Vucic) This is how we got here. And I think it’s important for both the EU and U.S. to tell Mr. Vucic to back off,” Kurti told POLITICO in a recent interview.

Few would argue that Vucic, a strongman leader with a long history of antagonizing the West by “flirting” with both Russia and China, is an “angel,” said POLITICO. Some Western critics have called out Washington for appearing to side with Vucic, just as mass protests in Serbia against his increasingly authoritarian rule are gathering steam, it added.

Nonetheless, Serbia remains the region’s juggernaut and both the U.S. and EU want to ensure that it doesn’t drift further into Russia’s sphere of influence, reported POLITICO.