Kosovo Assembly Chairman: US criticisms are always valid

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The Chairman of the Kosovo Assembly, Glauk Konjufca, stated that the relations between Pristina and Washington are not at a concerning or panic level, even as the United States has warned that the decision to ban the Serbian dinar has affected the quality of relations between the two states.

“We fully understand the observations and criticisms provided by the United States. These are always valid criticisms, as the United States sees Kosovo from a much higher level than we do in the state,” Konjufca said during a media statement on February 21.

He stated that the United States views Kosovo from a regional, European, and broader global context.

“However we see it, it is the right of the state of Kosovo to enforce its own rule of law and sovereignty. This is a lower, narrower perspective, but it is Kosovo’s right to carry out its tasks,” Konjufca said.

Since February 1, Kosovo has implemented a regulation by the Central Bank of Kosovo that designates the euro as the sole currency in Kosovo for cash payments.

The United States has stated that this regulation, which excludes the use of the Serbian dinar for payments, was made without prior consultation and did not take into account the potential impact on the Serbian population.

James O’Brien, the US Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia, has stated that the United States may not treat Kosovo as a partner if it makes decisions without consulting them.

Following this statement by the senior American official, Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti stated that the partnership with the US is not jeopardized.

However, the US Ambassador to Pristina, Jeff Hovenier, has stated that the decision to ban the dinar has affected the quality of relations between the US and the Kosovo Government.

Washington has urged Kosovo to delay the implementation of the decision, while authorities in Kosovo have stated that the decision will be implemented through a facilitating transitional period, lasting no more than three months.

“Their observations are not related to the legality of our actions. They give us the right, but they say there should be more preparation. Why more preparation? Because this could upset the Serbs, and someone could exploit the situation and misuse this situation, to stage a protest. When there are protests, there are tensions, when there are tensions, security may be jeopardized. This is the perspective of the United States, it is ours that these actions should be taken,” Konjufca said.

The Kosovo Assembly Chairman added that it is possible for such decisions to be shared with partners beforehand, “and I think the Government is already doing this”.

The Serbian state allocates millions of euros to Serbs in Kosovo after paying them – through a parallel system – salaries, pensions, and additional assistance.

On February 20, in certain areas of Graçanica, Serbian citizens were unable to receive social assistance and child allowances at the post office, which operates according to the Serbian system, because employees reportedly said they did not have the money to pay these benefits.

Also, on February 21, a group of teachers in North Mitrovica protested in front of the Serbian Post Office after not receiving their salaries.

Belgrade has strongly criticized the Central Bank of Kosovo regulation, interpreting it as an intention of the Government of Kosovo to expel Serbs.

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