Palmer: Russia Wishes for Instability in Western Balkans

An agreement between Belgrade and Pristina could be reached, newly appointed US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer said.

Palmer said in an interview with Radio and Television of Montenegro (RTCG) that – when it comes to the region – one of Washington’s primary goals is the new Kosovo government that would be formed after the October elections to be “committed to the dialogue”, which includes, among other things, lifting of the 100% tariffs on goods from Serbia, introduced in late 2018.

Palmer conferred with Montenegrin Prime Minister Dusko Markovic on Monday in Podgorica and will meet President Milo Djukanovic until the end of the visit.

Palmer reiterated to the RTCG that the resumed negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina should lead to a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of Serbia-Kosovo relations.

Ideally, this would mean that such a state was reached on the basis of mutual recognition, he said.

Palmer also noted that Russia’s strong presence was noticeable in the Western Balkans.

In this connection, Russia has demonstrated that it wishes for instability in the region, he said, citing as an example what the Montenegrin authorities declared an alleged coup attempt at the time of the autumn 2016 parliamentary elections.

Palmer also said he did not believe Russia was done with trying to “cause problems” in Montenegro and in the entire Western Balkans.