Serbian leader: ‘Not even Trump’ can jump-start talks with Kosovo

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić said Saturday that not “even Trump’s personal call” could jump-start negotiations with neighboring Kosovo.

“There’s no force in the world, not a man in the world who can make me talk about anything until the taxes are withdrawn,” Vučić told reporters, according to Bloomberg News. “Not even Trump’s personal call.”

{mosads}Trump reportedly sent letters earlier this month to Vučić and to Kosovo President Hashim Thaci, urging them to reach a deal on a trade dispute. 

“As you enter the final phase of reaching an agreement with Kosovo that will bring long-sought peace to the region, I encourage you to seize this moment and to exercise the political leadership in making decisions needed to balance the interests of both countries,” Trump reportedly wrote in the letter, photographed and emailed by Vučić’s office to Bloomberg. “An agreement between Serbia and Kosovo is within reach.”

Serbia and Kosovo have been in European Union-mediated negotiations for the last year, but talks have stalled over redrawing borders and a trade war, among other things.

Vučić has specifically cited a punitive tax Kosovo has on Serbian imports. The 100 percent levy on imports from Syria has all but stalled trade.

The EU called on Kosovo to lift the barrier on Saturday. Both countries have to normalize relations before they can be admitted to the EU.

“We want to reiterate the EU’s message that the imposition of tariffs, does not contribute towards good neighborly relations and it contradicts Kosovo’s past commitments towards regional integration and the commitments subscribed to by Kosovo within the SAA [Stabilization and Association Agreement],” it wrote.

“We therefore urge the Kosovo government to reconsider its decision and to revoke the tariffs.”

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