Dragana Trifković : “Serbia Damaged Relations With Russia, China, Iran, the EU, & Germany by Signing This Agreement”
Vzglyad.az interview with the Director General of the Center for Geostrategic Research (Belgrade), Dragana Trifković.
US President Donald Trump received the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo at the White House. What results did the parties achieve at the Washington meeting?
“Firstly, the agreement signed in Washington between Belgrade and Pristina does not correspond to the interests of the Republic of Serbia and its international position on any point. The biggest winner of the agreement reached is Israel, which, in my opinion, was a mediator in the harmonisation and agreement between the two sides and Washington. Serbian President Aleksandr Vucic, through the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, in March this year agreed on part of the commitments, including the opening of Serbia’s diplomatic and economic mission in Jerusalem, which is a violation of international law and UN Security Council Resolution 478.
In the cooperation agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, Israel has included a number of points that have nothing to do with the problem of Kosovo, but only with the implementation of Israel’s goals related to the occupation of Palestinian territories. For example, it was decided that Serbia and Kosovo would declare Hezbollah a terrorist organisation. This is solely in the interests of Israel, which considers this organisation dangerous for its own interests. Hezbollah is an organisation that has achieved significant results in the fight against terrorism in Syria, along with the Syrian Arab Army and the Russian army.
This situation, from the position of Serbia, is contrasted with good relations with Syria, Iran, and Russia, which are conducting anti-terrorist actions in the Middle East.
Another winner of the agreement was Donald Trump himself in terms of using the Kosovo issue (which is the most important national issue for Serbs) in the US electoral campaign so that he could be re-elected as president with the support of Israel and the strong Jewish lobby in America. At the same time, the Serbian diaspora in the US participated in the electoral campaign for the first time on the side of Donald Trump, which is kind of absurd after the Serbian President signed the agreement.
The third winner is NATO, because projects for the construction of roads and railways, the part of the infrastructure that NATO needs, have been agreed. On the other hand, they are strategically important for Albania and its networking, i.e., its relationship with the EU.”
Serbia and Kosovo have committed to “diversify their energy sources”. Taking into account the structure of Serbian energy imports and the strong connection with Russia in this area, can this point be understood as a requirement for Serbia to immediately switch from importing Russian oil and Russian gas to other, third-party sources?
“This is how this point of the agreement was understood in Serbia. Trump took the opportunity to include the issue of energy supplies to Serbia in an agreement to normalise economic cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo, which has nothing to do with each other.
Thus, Serbia allowed the US to influence the choice of energy supplies, which is contrary to the interests of Serbia. So far, the US has tried to force Serbia and other European countries to buy American liquefied natural gas, which is much more expensive than Russian gas. This clause of the agreement is not suitable for future energy projects that are planned to be implementation in Serbia, such as the continuation of Turkish Stream, i.e., the branch of the South Stream through Serbia.
As you know, the US has so far interfered in relations between Russia and European countries in connection with energy projects, so the construction of the South Stream gas pipeline through Bulgaria has been suspended.
On the other hand, there are points concerning the Gazivode hydroelectric power station, which is located in the north of Kosovo. This hydroelectric power station is of strategic importance for the entire energy system of Kosovo, and Lake Gazivode is a source of water supply. In addition, water from the lake is used for thermal power plants in Obilić, so without it, the Obilić thermal power plant could not operate. The Gazivode hydroelectric power station was built by the state of Serbia in 1980 and repaid all loans raised in connection with the construction of this station. The President of Serbia agreed that the US Department of Energy will conduct a feasibility study of this property of the state of Serbia to separate the Lake as a safe source of water and energy. It has caused direct damage to the state of Serbia, and there is another problem in relations with Germany. In particular, Germany has invested huge amounts of money through loans in the energy system of Kosovo, which cannot function without the Gazivode hydroelectric power station. Earlier, Aleksandr Vucic signed energy agreements within the framework of the Brussels agreement, i.e., in the framework of dialogue with Pristina under the auspices of the EU. Now the situation with the Washington agreement is quite complicated, and Germany and the EU are not satisfied with this.”