Clinton Encourages Kosovo, Serbia to Enforce Trade Deal

Posted September 19th, 2011 at 6:56 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is encouraging Kosovo and Serbia to implement a trade deal after a customs dispute erupted in violence last month.

Clinton met in New York Monday with Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga and Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

A senior State Department official told reporters that Clinton believes trade between Kosovo and Serbia — with European law enforcement officials in a major customs role — is in the overwhelming interest of both countries.

The official said enforcing trade is not a political issue, but one that leads to the greater well-being and rule of law in all of Kosovo.

Clinton also repeated the strong U.S. support for Kosovo's sovereignty. She congratulated Kosovo's leaders on the growing number of governments recognizing its independence. That number has reached 82.

A trade dispute between Serbia and Kosovo turned violent last month when Kosovo sent soldiers to the ethnic Serb-dominated north to enforce a ban on Serbian imports. The ban came after Serbia placed an embargo on goods from Kosovo.