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Gabriel Escobar's Dangerous Diplomacy: Undermining Kosovo's Sovereignty
Gabriel Escobar's recent actions risk destabilising the Balkans, particularly his push to force Kosovo into an Association of Municipalities with a Serb majority, undermines Kosovo's sovereignty.
In recent times, the Balkans have been a region marred by political instability, ethnic tensions, and unresolved conflicts. Amidst these challenges, the United States has played a significant role in mediating peace and promoting democratic values. However, the recent statements and actions of Gabriel Escobar, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, raise serious concerns about the US's approach to the Balkans, particularly its stance on Kosovo.
Escobar's recent interview with Voice of America in New York has exposed a concerning commitment to force the Republic of Kosovo into accepting an Association of Municipalities with a Serb majority within its borders. While diplomatic engagement and dialogue are essential tools for resolving conflicts, Escobar's approach seems to ignore the historical context and the sovereignty of Kosovo, threatening to destabilize an already fragile region.
One cannot ignore the troubling connections between Gabriel Escobar's diplomatic efforts and the Serbian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which funds his wife's Art exhibitions in Washington, D.C. This financial link raises questions about the objectivity of Escobar's stance and his true allegiance. Is he truly acting in the best interests of Kosovo and the United States, or is he influenced by external forces?
Moreover, Serbia's alignment with the Russian Federation has raised eyebrows on the international stage. Serbia hosts a Russian espionage centre in Nis, known for its suspicious activities. The presence of the Wagner Mercenary regional office in Belgrade, humorously referred to as the "Wagner Cultural Centre," further deepens concerns about Serbia's connections with Russian interests.
Serbia's decision to align its foreign policies with Russia in September 2022, along with its reluctance to join Western-imposed sanctions on Russia, suggests that Serbia is prioritising its own interests and leveraging its diplomatic connections, potentially contributing to regional destabilization. This aligns with Russia's foreign policy agenda, which seeks to divert attention from Ukraine
Furthermore, Escobar seems to downplay Serbia's role in convincing a significant portion of its population, particularly in Belgrade, to support Russia's aggression in Ukraine while opposing European Union membership and alignment with Western values. It is evident that Serbia, under the leadership of Aleksandar Vucic, is actively challenging Western geostrategy and policies aimed at preventing further expansion of Vladimir Putin's influence in the region.
In his interview, Escobar dismissively stated, "I don't believe that a country of one and a half million can convince the transatlantic community of 700 million to change its tactics."
This statement is not only condescending but also dismissive of Kosovo's aspirations for sovereignty and self-determination. It implies that the United States, represented by an appointed official like Escobar, can dictate the fate of Kosovo without considering its people's legitimate aspirations.
Moreover, Escobar's disregard for Kosovo's sovereignty and his apparent alignment with Serbian interests are deeply troubling. It raises questions about whether he is acting in line with the principles and values of the United States or whether he is prioritizing personal or external interests.
I would like to emphasize to Escobar that ethnic Serbian Kosovars enjoy significant privileges compared to ethnic Albanians in Serbia. In Serbia, ethnic Albanians face the nullification of their addresses, government-led property repossessions, and the denial of their legally guaranteed rights to bilingual institutions and the display of the Albanian flag. In stark contrast, Kosovar Serbs benefit from eight guaranteed seats in the parliament, possess a veto power in the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo, and have the right to bilingual documents and schools, with a Prime Minister who addresses them in the Serbian language.
The absurdity of a U.S. diplomat aligning with a Serbian autocrat's demand to establish Republika Srpska within the Republic of Kosovo is both baffling and unacceptable. There is no plausible explanation for this other than being compromised by Serbian secret service interests or being involved in corruption. Regardless of the underlying reasons, this situation is deeply concerning, and it is imperative for Escobar to reconsider his position and step down.
Furthermore, it is crucial to reiterate that the Serbian Municipal Majority assemblies, also known as ASM, are in clear violation of Ahtisaari's Package and the Constitution of the Republic of Kosovo. These actions undermine the principles of democracy and sovereignty that Kosovo should rightfully uphold.
Kosovo, a nation that fought for its freedom with the blood of its people, will not be swayed by corrupt adventures or diplomatic manoeuvres that undermine its sovereignty. Escobar's efforts to force Kosovo into accepting an Association of Municipalities with a Serb majority not only disregard the will of the Kosovo people but also risk destabilizing the region further.
It is crucial that the United States maintains a principled and unbiased stance in the Balkans, respecting the sovereignty of nations and promoting democratic values. Gabriel Escobar's actions and affiliations cast doubt on the integrity of the United States diplomatic efforts in the region. Kosovo deserves better than to be used as a pawn in a geopolitical game. It deserves genuine support for its aspirations for a peaceful and prosperous future.