Kosovo’s Nobel-nominated Deal With Serbia, Ties With Israel Prove Faith In Dialogue: Envoy

Kosovo’s Nobel-nominated deal with Serbia, ties with Israel prove faith in dialogue: Envoy

ABU DHBAI, (Pakistan Point News - 15th Sep, 2020) Kosovo, the first majority-Muslim country that recognised Israel after the UAE’s historic peace accord with the latter, believes that "dialogue never has an alternative," according to its envoy.

Avni Arifi, the Ambassador of Kosovo to the UAE, told Emirates news Agency, WAM, on Tuesday that faith in dialogue led his country’s decision to normalise economic ties with neighbouring Serbia as part of the US-brokered deal, which has been nominated for Nobel Peace prize for paving the way for peace in the Balkans.

"Talking and trying to solve problems on the table is beneficial for all sides in the long run," he said about the deals among Kosovo, Serbia and Israel signed on 4th September at the White House in the presence of President Donald Trump.

The envoy pointed out that Republic of Kosovo welcomed the UAE-Israel peace accord. "We believe that this is the only path towards peace and stability in the region," he emphasised as the UAE and Bahrain are set to sign the peace accord with Israel in Washington on Tuesday.

Bahrain, the second country from the Gulf and fourth from Arab world to normalise ties with Israel – after Egypt, Jordan and UAE – announced its move on Friday.

About the impact of normalising economic ties between Kosovo and Serbia, the ambassador said that economic projects envisioned in the deal would generate jobs and economic growth, adding that it will also transform the lives of people who had witnessed fierce war and destruction in the past.

A Swedish lawmaker said on Friday that he has nominated the governments of the United States, Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their efforts to secure a peace agreement between the two former Balkan war foes, Associated Press reported.

On 9th September, it was reported that a Norwegian lawmaker, Christian Tybring-Gjedde, nominated Donald Trump for the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts towards reaching the UAE-Israel peace accord.

The ambassador said that success of Kosovo-Serbia economic ties will have a huge impact on full normalisation of relations with Serbia. "Kosovo is ready to fully cooperate and fully normalise relationship with Serbia," the diplomat asserted.

Kosovo and Serbia have been negotiating the normalisation of their relations under European Union mediation since 2011. Serbia fought a fierce war with Kosovan fighters seeking independence during 1998-1999. The war ended after NATO conducted a 78-day airstrike campaign against Serbia.

Kosovo was run by the United Nations for nine years before it declared independence in 2008. Most western nations, except Serbia, have recognised Kosovo’s statehood.

The ambassador said 116 world nations have already recognised Kosovo. "The UAE was among the first countries to recognise Kosovo and helped a lot our young nation," he said.

The ambassador said that people of Kosovo consider the UAE as a country that stood by its side in the most difficult moments. "Kosovo will never forget that the UAE under the leadership of the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan was among the first non-NATO states to support Kosovo," he said.

The UAE was also the first Arab country to take part in the UN peace-keeping operations in Kosovo, he pointed out.

"The UAE supported Kosovo during the war, after the war and after the declaration of Independence," stressed Arifi who took charge in April 2019 as the first ambassador to the UAE after the Kosovan Embassy in Abu Dhabi was opened in 2018.

"We regard UAE as a very important partner and friend, and we try to strengthen the relationship. There are hundreds of Kosovan citizens working with UAE companies and there are thousands coming as tourists but they are currently flying through neighbouring countries as there is no direct flight between both countries," Arifi noted.

Therefore, he wants to establish direct air link between Kosovan capital Pristina and the UAE as it will help strengthen bilateral cooperation.

"Kosovo is interested to open a new page of economic and political cooperation not only with UAE but also with other GCC countries," he said.

Arifi is not satisfied with the existing bilateral trade volumes, saying that there is a huge potential underlying his country’s ties with the UAE.

"The economic relationship is just like a golden mine that has not yet been explored. We hope that it will change and I take it as my task to change it," he explained.

"The UAE continues to contribute positively in the Balkan region by investing heavily in Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and other countries, which indirectly is a big help in stabilising the region," he added