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Kosovo Lifts All Trade Barriers Against Serbia


Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti

The new government of Kosovo announced on June 6 that it is lifting all trade barriers imposed on Serbia in a bid to reopen EU-brokered talks on normalizing ties with Belgrade.

Trade sanctions have been in place in some form since November 2018, when then-Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj imposed them in retaliation for Serbia's "de-recognition" campaign against Kosovo.

Speaking at a press conference in Pristina, Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti stressed that the decision was temporary and could be reversed if Serbia refuses to end the campaign to reduce the number of countries that recognize Kosovo as a state.

"We expect Serbia to end the de-recognition campaign against Kosovo," he told a news conference, adding that Kosovo also expected its partners, the European Union and the United States, to put pressure on Belgrade.

Serbia has long said it would not negotiate with Kosovo, a breakaway province it still claims as its own, as long as the sanctions were in place.

The U.S. Embassy in Kosovo said it hoped the lifting of trade barriers would soon lead to renewed dialogue with Serbia.

"Full recognition is in the best interests of Kosovo and the region to secure stability and economic prosperity," it said.

Lawmakers in Kosovo on June 3 approved a new government led by Hoti by a razor-thin majority, ending months of political turmoil.

Hoti, a 44-year-old economics professor and former finance minister, secured 61 votes in the 120-seat parliament. A total of 24 lawmakers voted against, with one abstention.

With reporting by dpa
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