Infrequently, politicians who have received an invitation to Washington from the American president himself refuse such an honor. And the situation is absolutely unbelievable when not the head of a powerful power refuses such an invitation, but the prime minister of a tiny Balkan country, recognized by no means all members of the international community, the prime minister, who took office three weeks ago.
However, this is exactly what happened on Thursday. The head of the government of the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo, Avdulla Hoti, made a daring decision not to fly to the US capital to negotiate with Serbian President Alexander Vučić. The talks were supposed to take place on June 27, and it was supposed that many controversial issues in relations between Serbia and Kosovo could be resolved.
On June 15, US President Donald Trump invited Alexander Vucic and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci to Washington to negotiate with him through the mediation process to normalize relations between Serbia and Kosovo. This meeting was painstakingly and long (at least since March) by the special representative of the US president for Kosovo settlement, Richard Grenell, a former ambassador to Germany and a man who served as director of the United States National Intelligence for three months. However, a few days before the visit of the Serbian and Kosovo leaders to Washington, the unexpected happened: the office of the special prosecutor for Kosovo in The Hague handed over to the court a document containing charges of Hashim Thaci and former speaker of the parliament of the self-proclaimed republic of Kadri Veseli of war crimes, the victims of which “were hundreds of people whose personalities are known. These are Kosovo Albanians, Serbs, Gypsies, representatives of other nationalities and political opponents. ”
On the same day, Tachi announced that he was canceling his trip to Washington, and disappeared from the radar screens. Richard Grenell wrote on Twitter that he “respects his decision not to participate in discussions until the legal issues on these charges are resolved.” Trump’s special envoy also said that negotiations will nevertheless take place, but instead of Tachi, Kosovo will be represented by Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti. Just a few hours after this statement, Hoti notified Grenell that he would not go to Washington.
It should be borne in mind that Avdullah Hoti is no one in Balkan politics. In the literal sense, no one, that is, not magnitude, not authority. Powerful clans do not stand behind him, he does not have a “deserved” combat biography (this, on the one hand, is good - because the Special Prosecutor in The Hague, with all the desire, has nothing to cling to, on the other, is bad, because only Pristina’s influence on politics those politicians who have their elbows in Serbian blood, like that of Tachi). Avdullah is just a humble scientist who taught macroeconomics at the University of Pristina and became the economic adviser to the mayor of Pristina, and then the Minister of Finance in the government of Kosovo, simply because there is an acute shortage of professional personnel in the self-proclaimed republic.
And at the same time, one cannot say that Hoti is a completely random figure in Kosovo politics. No, on June 3 he ended up in the prime minister’s chair after a government led by Albin Kurti was forced to resign, as the American media openly say, due to direct pressure from the US embassy.
In other words, Hoti, in a sense, owes his post to Special Representative of Trump Richard Grenell, who did not find a common language with Prime Minister Kurti.
Secondly, the negotiations, which finally broke down after the refusal of this puppet politician to come to the White House, were very important for President Trump, and even more so for Grenell himself. The fact is that the never-held meeting of the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo in Washington was a personal project of the former and. about. Director of National Intelligence, on whom he had high, perhaps even too great, hopes. And the failure of this meeting is, first of all, a painful blow to Grenell himself, and, well, to a rebound - against Trump.
The activity of Grenell already irritated and even infuriated many secret and overt servants of the “deep state”. A whole army of bureaucrats, diplomats, spies, journalists, and the military - their name is Legion - successfully prevented Trump from pursuing his policy both domestically and abroad.
“The US national security interests are to prevent the implementation of the intentions of Russia and China in this region (in the Balkans. - KB), in close cooperation with European allies,” writes Edward P. Joseph, now a respected university professor, and earlier - the deputy head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo and part-time personnel intelligence. - Unfortunately, the Trump administration, in a hurry to resolve the issue in one day for the public’s needs, undermined the unity of the West at the very moment when Russia and China rallied in their subversive activities ... A statement that Kosovo’s president was charged with war crimes ", knocked the ground out of the administration’s strategy, confused its alignment in Kosovo’s politics and turned the Saturday meeting into a fiasco."
Joseph expresses in his article a very widespread opinion among Trump's opponents: allegedly, Grenell’s activity in the Balkans helps weaken the position of the West in the region and strengthen the influence of Moscow and Beijing. Back in early May, the authoritative Washington edition of The Hill published an article by another ex (we remember that there are no scouts as ex, right?), A knight of a cloak and dagger and former US ambassador to Bulgaria James Pardew (before becoming ambassador, he participated in the preparation and signing of the Dayton Accords in the mid-90s, and then worked in Kosovo and Macedonia). The article explicitly states that the Trump administration’s diplomacy “destabilizes Kosovo, a small and vulnerable pro-American country in the Balkans during a global pandemic,” “favors Serbia, Russia's closest ally in the region,” and Trump’s envoy Richard Grenell is responsible for this. "Absurd for a person with limited diplomatic experience and a lack of intelligence."
To put it simply, the claims of Pardew and other angry citizens of the “deep state” boil down to the fact that the United States didn’t spend so much effort and money in the 90s, crushing and bombing the Serbs, it’s not for that that they raised and poisoned a small an evil predator - Kosovo, so that some Trump with his special representative would begin to spoil everything! After all, Grenell in a matter of months mixed all the cards to Brussels, and Berlin, and to the shadowy owners of the “deep state” - he ousted Kurti, a hardliner in negotiations with Belgrade, agreed with Hashim Thaci, seduced by the idea of exchanging territories with Serbia - for a part of the population inhabited by Serbs the Kosovsk enclave of Mitrovica Pristina would receive three Serbian regions with a predominantly Muslim population - Presevo, Buyanovac and Medvedzhu.
True, Grenell himself denies that the idea of an exchange came from him or from the president - allegedly the father of this model was Trump's former national security adviser John Bolton.
But the annoyed reaction of European mediators suggests that Grenell at least made it clear to Tachi that Washington would not be opposed to such an exchange. European Parliamentary Rapporteur on Kosovo Viola von Cramon hit Grenella on her Twitter: “Well, of course, it's all John Bolton's fault that people talk about the exchange of territories. And now poor Richard Grenell is fighting these rumors ... oh well! Pull yourself together and stop telling people these tales. Finally, start taking foreign policy seriously. It’s time! ”
Can you imagine talking in such a tone with Obama’s special envoy, for example? I can not either. And with Trump’s special envoy, you can. After all, he, Grenell, chose the wrong side.
Indicative in this story is the fate of Hashim Tachi. Madeline Albright herself once called him “the most promising leader among Kosovo Albanians fighting for democracy.” And just recently (in 2019), Bill Clinton himself came to visit Tachi, shook his hand and said that “the whole world should learn from Kosovo how to live in peace with its neighbors”. Western leaders turned a blind eye both to the criminal past of Tachi, who has the expressive nickname Snakes, and to the numerous testimonies of the president’s connections with the drug mafia and the international network of organ traffickers, that under the auspices of the former field commander of the UCC, Kosovo turned into a terrible hotbed of crime in a soft underbelly of Europe ...
But - sic transit gloria mundi. As soon as Tachi succumbed to Grenell's promises and began to play on the side of Trump, he was immediately removed from the board. And how it was done! In the entire history of the Special Court for Kosovo, this body has never made any official statements, so it might seem from the side that it exists only on paper. And suddenly there was such a sensation, moreover, three days before the meeting in Washington. It is quite obvious that the special prosecutor didn’t wake up on his own and decided to take up Tachi’s case (this could have been done five and ten years ago), but he was very convincingly asked. Who! A variety of conjectures can be built on this subject, but the main thing is certain: these were influential enemies of President Trump.
And Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti very clearly understood where the wind was blowing from and how strong this wind was. Therefore, he hastened to inform Grenella that in this situation he had to return to Kosovo in order to resolve the situation, and therefore would not be able to attend the meeting at the White House on June 27.
It turns out that puppets are sometimes able to rebel, albeit continuing to hang on strings.
And on Twitter, Richard Grenell, under a completely regrettable post that Tachi will not fly to Washington, there was a replica, which I would like to quote in its entirety:
“He (Taci. - KB) is not the president of Kosovo, because Kosovo is the southern province of Serbia, occupied by NATO and the hostile Albanian minority. Should Serbia recognize CHAZ (Capitol Hill Free Zone in Seattle - KB) as an independent state? I do not think so. Tachi is a war criminal and a terrorist! ”
The author’s point of view may not coincide with the position of the publisher.