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Kosovo and Serbia could name lake after Trump

Kosovo prime minister says he appproves of US president’s envoy’s propsal to rename lake

Gino Spocchia
Friday 25 September 2020 17:10 BST
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A lake on the border between Kosovo and Serbia could be named after Donald Trump, whose administration helped broker “breakthrough” agreements on trade between the two countries this month.

Richard Grenell, the US Special Envoy for Kosovo, was reported to have suggested the renaming of a lake whose waters straddle both Western Balkan nations, at a meeting at the White House.

With Serbian and Kosovan delegations present, Mr Grenell floated the idea to rename the lake named Gazivoda in Serbian, and Ujamn in Albanian, in honour of the US president.

A deal normalising economic relations between the two nations announced this month was the first such deal between Serbia and Kosovo, who declared independence in 2008.

Following that agreement, Mr Grenell met with leaders of both countries, the Gazette Express reported, leading to public support for the plans this week.  

Avdullah Hoti, the Kosovo prime minister, said he welcomed the US proposal in a statement on Facebook on Thursday.

“I have welcomed Ambassador Grenell's proposal for Ujman Lake to be called president Trump Lake,” he wrote, calling the renaming “a sign of honor for his [Mr Trump’s] extraordinary role in reaching a historic agreement on normalising economic relations between the Republic of Kosovo and Serbia”.

Mr Hoti, who described the deal brokered by the Trump administration as “a major step towards a final political agreement” between the two Balkan countries, argued that other public squares were named after US politicians, too.

“Kosovo and its citizens will be forever grateful to the United States of America, with which, as President Rugova said, we have special and permanent friendship,” he added.

The announcement attracted some attention online, with author and former CIA officer John Sipher writing on Twitter: “Is it full of s***t?”

The mayor of Pristina, Kosovo’s capital city, meanwhile mocked the country’s prime minister, asking “Elections at TrumpCity?”

Mr Grenell and Trump administration officials arrived for further talks between the two nations on Tuesday, reported Reuters.

Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, also suggested in an interview that a deal on mutual political recognition was still a way off, saying: “I am not saying that we are close to a political solution”.

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