A two-day meeting in Washington is trying to find a solution to the deadlock between Serbia and Kosovo.
The talks between Kosovo's Prime Minister Avdullah Hot and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic will be hosted by President Donald Trump's Special Envoy Richard Grenell, the former US Ambassador to Germany.
Kosovo declared independence in 2008, a decade after the Kosovo war, which ended with NATO bombing.
Serbia has not recognized the independence of Kosovo, which it considers to be an autonomous province, nor have Russia and China, for example.
Instead, many Western countries, including Finland, have recognized Kosovo.
Negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo have so far been conducted mainly through the EU.
Grenell, the special envoy recently appointed by Trump, has even been accused of complicating matters, but in any case, the United States has now at least got an appointment.
According to American diplomatic sources, who remain anonymous, progress is being made by shifting the focus from difficult political disputes to economic relations.
Focusing on investment, jobs and business concerns on both sides is hoped to drive negotiations forward.
“No normal relationship without recognition”
However, according to Prime Minister Hot, mutual recognition of the status of another state remains the ultimate requirement.
- Otherwise, there will be no normalization of relations, Hoti says.
A meeting of Balkan contenders in Washington just a couple of months before the U.S. presidential election has raised doubts about whether it is a publicity stunt trying to get a new feather in President Trump’s hat after the Israeli-UAE deal.
- Grenell's goal is to achieve some kind of quick victory in economic matters, which he can then present as a foreign policy achievement of the Trump administration, the anonymous American diplomat, who remains anonymous, estimates.