Serbia-Kosovo Deal Behind Trump Nobel Prize Nod Dismissed As 'Photo Opportunity' by Ex-Serbian FM

The former president of the United Nations General Assembly and ex-Serbian foreign minister, Vuk Jeremic, has dismissed the deal between Serbia and Kosovo that led to President Donald Trump's second Nobel Prize nomination as simply a "photo opportunity."

Swedish parliament member Magnus Jacobsson nominated Trump and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the prestigious prize, praising how economic ties after the U.S.-brokered discussions had been normalized.

Jacobsson tweeted: "I have nominated the US Gov. and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House."

President Donald Trump
President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on September 11. This week he was nominated twice for a Nobel Peace Prize. Getty Images

Kosovo prime minister Avdullah Hoti said on both Facebook and Twitter that he was "extremely grateful" for the nomination.

It was Trump's second Nobel Prize nomination of the week. On Wednesday, right-wing Norwegian politician Christian Tybring-Gjedde also nominated Trump for the prize, for peace talks between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

Former Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic
Former Serbian foreign minister Vuk Jeremic, is pictured at United Nations General Assembly in 2016. DON EMMERT/Getty Images

Last Friday, Trump tweeted: "Another great day for peace with Middle East – Muslim-majority Kosovo and Israel have agreed to normalize ties and establish diplomatic relations. Well-done! More Islamic and Arab nations will follow soon!"

Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Israel and Kosovo had agreed to establish diplomatic ties and Kosovo, along with Belgrade, would open embassies in Jerusalem.

Jeremic, who was Serbia's foreign minister between 2007 and 2012 told Newsweek in a statement that Trump's latest Nobel nomination "shouldn't be viewed outside the U.S. presidential election campaign context.

"Individual right-wing allies of President Trump from Europe wrote letters to the Nobel Committee with the sole purpose of getting them published in U.S. media outlets."

I have nominated the US Gov. and the governments of Kosovo and Serbia for the Nobel Peace Prize for their joint work for peace and economic development, through the cooperation agreement signed in the White House. Trade and communications are important building blocks for peace.

— Magnus Jacobsson (@magnusjacobsson) September 11, 2020

The agreements that had been signed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti under the supervision of Trump were on separate papers and did not have identical contents, Balkan Insight reported.

Jeremic said: "The two non-binding non-papers separately signed by Belgrade and Priština in the White House are neither historic nor sustainable.

"This is crystal clear to all who have even a superficial understanding of Balkan affairs. None of the outstanding issues between the two parties were addressed in any serious manner."

"It was a one-off photo opportunity for President Trump and a good PR moment for Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who got a chance to declare that there will be two European embassies opened in Jerusalem. I say moment, because I don't think that either Belgrade or Priština plan on actually doing it in the future," added Jeremic, who was president of the U.N. General Assembly in 2012 and 2013.

Only the U.S. and Guatemala have opened embassies in Jerusalem, which is opposed by Palestinians, who with broad international backing want East Jerusalem, captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war, as their capital.

Under Nobel Peace Prize rules, any member of a national parliament can nominate a candidate for the award. Trump's twin nominations have raised the ire of some. An op-ed by The Atlantic, which had reported that Trump had disparaged U.S. WW1 veterans, called for an end to the prize.

"Giving the peace prize to no one at all is a tradition the Nobel Committee should revive, perhaps on a permanent basis," Graeme Wood wrote in the magazine.

On Saturday, White House adviser Larry Kudlow told reporters: "I am very proud, very proud, of President Trump for being nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize."

Newsweek has contacted the White House for comment.