Escobar did not herald the independence of Republika Srpska

Original article (in Montenegrin) was published on 09/12/2022

The U.S. Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, was a guest of the Atlantic Council and discussed the situation in the region, the Open Balkans initiative, the war in Ukraine, and cooperation with Europe…

In addition to almost an hour of conversation with the host and questions from the guests, attention on social networks was attracted by something that Escobar did say, but it was taken out of context. “SKRIVENA ISTINA” (Hidden Truth) Tik Tok channel published a captioned extract from the conversation, in which Escobar says:

“They will have to recognize the borders between Serbia and Republika Srpska between Serbia and Northern Kosovo as international borders regulated by Serbia plus three NATO members.”

The video is accompanied by the following description:


The news quickly spread to Facebook, where the same video was posted, along with the message:

It seems that the political “elite” know something that we – mere mortals – do not!

Escobar’s interview can be viewed on the Atlantic Council’s YouTube channel. The controversial quote is from his answer to the question about the Open Balkans. He said that all initiatives that bring countries closer together and reduce trade barriers should be supported. He points out that the Open Balkans has support, provided that it is open to everyone, but that Serbia is holding back Kosovo and that Kosovo should be a full member of all institutions, and then he said: (35:43)

“We should test President Vucic’s commitment to bring Kosovo in as a full member and to recognize their government-issued documents. That’s an interesting aspect of the Open Balkans. But if only three or four join initially… The difference between a free trade union and a free smuggling zone is the control of borders. That means that they will have to recognize the borders between Serbia and Republika Srpska AND… between Serbia and Northern Kosovo as international borders, regulated by Serbia plus three NATO members. In any way you look at it, there are opportunities for the region to move forward, to heal a little bit through the Open Balkans if it is properly executed.”

Escobar did mention the Republika Srpska entity, but he did not talk about it as an independent state, which users also noticed in the comments below the video. When one takes into account the subject he was talking about, as well as the quote in question, it is clear that he was referring to – Kosovo. He most definitely did not mention the recognition of Republika Srpska as a state.

The USA supports the territorial integrity, sovereignty and multi-ethnic character of Bosnia and Herzegovina. This was once again confirmed on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Bosnia and Herzegovina two months ago.

This post is rated as a manipulation of facts.

The “Manipulation of facts” rating is given to a media report that uses known and accurate facts but misleadingly interprets them. Such media reports generally use inaccurate information to draw incorrect conclusions or claims, thereby distorting the conclusions of consumers of media content in the wrong direction in relation to the real meaning of the presented facts.