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Kosovo and Serbia announce plans to build land and railways between them

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Presidents of Serbia and Kosovo announced on Friday that they reached agreements under the auspices of the United States to link their capitals by road and railways, in a new sign of goodwill between them after more than 20 years of war.

The “letters of intent” were signed in Germany in the presence of the US ambassador to Berlin, Richard Grenelle, who was appointed by President Donald Trump to improve the strained relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

Last month, Grinnell also brokered an agreement on air reconnection between the two capitals that had been suspended during the 1998-1999 war in which Kosovo, the former Serbian province, split from Belgrade.

“Another important stop,” Kosovo President Hashem Taji wrote in a tweet on Twitter, after the signing ceremony that took place ahead of the Munich Security Conference, thanking Trump for his “leadership.”

For his part, Serbian President Alexander Vucic expressed gratitude to the Americans. “We feel that this will bring us a better future and that we will guarantee peace for decades to come,” he wrote on Twitter.

Spokesmen for the two Presidents declined to give details of the agreement.

While the agreements at this stage remain largely symbolic, the signing ceremony is a rare moment of its kind for cooperation between the two presidents, who have refused to sit at the negotiating table for more than a year.

The EU-sponsored talks between the two men collapsed after Kosovo imposed in late 2018 100 percent customs duties on Serbian goods, which it refuses to cancel despite heavy pressure from Washington.

With regard to transportation, a train currently links a small city in central Serbia with a town in northern Kosovo, but there is no full passenger line between Belgrade and Pristina.

At the heart of the dispute between the two neighbors, Belgrade refused to recognize the independence declared by Kosovo, the majority of the Albanians, in 2008.

While the United States and most Western European countries supported the move, Moscow and Beijing, Belgrade’s allies, did not support it, depriving Kosovo of a seat in the United Nations.

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