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The deal is not a ‘historic breakthrough’, but another stab in the back of the Palestinian people.

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On September 4, after years of unsuccessful negotiations, Kosovar Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic signed an “economic normalisation” deal at a ceremony hosted by President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, DC.

Using the signing ceremony as an opportunity to consolidate his image as a “deal maker” in the run-up to the presidential election, Trump called the agreement a “major breakthrough” in the tumultuous relationship between the two ex-Yugoslav states.

A few weeks later, at a campaign rally in North Carolina, Trump once again praised the deal as “historic”, adding that he is “sure” that the development will lead to him being awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. “We are stopping mass killings between Kosovo and Serbia,” he said. “They have been killing each other for so many years. They are going to stop killing.”

In reality, the war in Kosovo ended 20 years ago. There are no “mass killings” taking place in either country today. And while tensions are still high between Belgrade and Pristina, Trump’s deal is not offering a pathway to political normalisation. So, given that he did not “stop the killing”, what did the American president really achieve as a result of his “peacemaking” efforts in the Balkans?

Ever since Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, the young state has been struggling to gain widespread international recognition. Only slightly more than half of all UN member states recognise Kosovo as an independent state, while numerous governments still view Serbia’s claim over Kosovo as legitimate. The conflict between Kosovo and Serbia is not a new one. Under Yugoslav and then Serbian rule, Kosovo’s Albanians suffered various forms of oppression, from colonisation practices in the early 20th century to ethnic cleansing in the 1990s. During the 1999 war, NATO forces, led by the US, forced Serbian troops to withdraw. The majority of Kosovo’s population was displaced and thousands........

© Al Jazeera

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