US delegation visits Kosovo to invest in infrastructure

Kosovo’s President Hashim Thaci signs the Order of Freedom awarded to U.S President Donald Trump, in capital Pristina, Kosovo on Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. Kosovo’s president awarded U.S. President Donald Trump with one of the country’s highest medals – Kosovo’s Order of Freedom – for his government’s efforts on peace and reconciliation in the former war-torn region. (AP Photo/Visar Kryeziu)

PRISTINA, Kosovo (AP) — A high-level delegation from the Untied States visited Kosovo on Monday to discuss how to move ahead with projects signed at a White House meeting between Kosovo and Serbia normalizing economic ties.

Officials from the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), USAID, EXIM Bank, Departments of Energy and Commerce met with Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti to sign an agreement how to accelerate investment in Kosovo.

DFC head Adam Boehler said they had “a pipeline of over $1 billion in projects” for roads, railways, and LNG operations, as well as a ski resort and support to small and medium-size businesses.

Earlier this month, Hoti and Serbian President Aleksander Vucic signed a deal at the White House agreeing to normalize economic ties, move Serbia’s Israeli embassy to Jerusalem and have mutual recognition between Israel and Kosovo.

Richard Grenell, special presidential envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia talks, said President Donald Trump had asked him “to find an agreement between Kosovo and Serbia that is jobs based.”

“We hope that the economic development, job creation for young people and a real energy around the economic development will change the political landscape of the region,” he said.

Earlier this year, Grenell urged Serbia and Kosovo to agree on air, rail and transit deals including one that would clear the way for the first flight between Pristina and Belgrade in 21 years.

Kosovo’s Parliament declared independence from Serbia in 2008, nine years after NATO conducted a 78-day airstrike campaign against Serbia to stop a bloody crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo.

Most Western nations have recognized Kosovo’s independence, but Serbia and its allies Russia and China have not.

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Llazar Semini contributed from Tirana, Albania.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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