Who exactly benefits from the ‘big breakthrough’ between Serbia and Kosovo?

“First there was a lot of fighting, now there’s a lot of love.” According to the American president Trump, this is what he has achieved as a mediator in the relationship between the bickering neighbours Serbia and Kosovo.

The countries announced yesterday in Washington to normalize their economic relations. “A great breakthrough,” said again Trump, who is not known for his understatements. But if you want to characterize it as a breakthrough, not necessarily one for the countries that made the agreement. Especially for the U.S. and Israel this agreement is beneficial, said correspondent Mitra Nazar in the Radio 1 News.

The agreement does contain a number of economic agreements, such as the resumption of air and rail traffic between the countries and the recognition of each other’s diplomas. But: “These are all things that have already been promised in negotiations with the EU”, according to Nazar.

Serbia and Kosovo have also promised not to plead with other countries for the recognition of Kosovo in the coming year. Kosovo was part of Serbia, but separated in 2008. Serbia has never wanted to recognise independence and is fighting with other countries not to do so, or to withdraw their recognition. The Netherlands does recognise Kosovo, just like 96 other countries.


So much for what Serbia and Kosovo have agreed. However, the agreement also contains a number of things about Serbia’s and Kosovo’s ties with other countries, namely Israel and the US.

For example, Serbia has promised to move its embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. In doing so, the Serbs are following the example of the US and Guatemala from 2018. Trump’s decision at the time to move the embassy was controversial. The Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of their future state, but Israel claims the entire city as their capital, not just the western part.

Internationally, the Israeli claim is not recognized by almost any country, but the U.S. did in 2018. Since then Trump also tries to convince other countries to move their embassy to Jerusalem.

Kosovo also makes a promise about Israel in the agreement. Both countries did not recognise each other yet, but will now do so. Kosovo is also establishing its embassy in Jerusalem. Trump celebrated mutual recognition on Twitter as another of his successes in improving relations between Israel and countries with a predominantly Muslim population.

A few weeks ago, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, led by the US, concluded an agreement to normalize the ties. This made the Emirates only the third Arab country that recognizes Israel. Trump sees achieving peace in the Middle East as one of the most important spearheads in its foreign policy,

Serbia and Kosovo also made a promise to the US. They will not use 5G equipment from manufacturers that the U.S. does not trust. By this, the U.S. is referring to Chinese Huawei. Mitra Nazar: “You can see that Trump also reinforces its fight against China in this agreement Especially for Serbia, it’s a remarkable concession. In recent years, the country has been moving more and more towards China, for supplies of technology and weapons, among other things.

The exact status of this agreement does not seem to be entirely clear. The countries did not sign a single agreement, but both signed their own version. “The agreement that Serbia has signed does not state that Israel will recognize Kosovo and in that of Kosovo it will”, Nazar said. “It’s a very dubious agreement anyway.”