The lake, known to Kosovars as the “Ujman” and to Serbians as the “Gazivoda,” is the subject of dispute between the two countries, with around 80 percent of its waters located in Kosovo and 20 percent in Serbia. A banner appeared over the lake on Thursday, however, reading “Lake Trump.”
The Gazeta Express has learned that both Kosovo Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic have expressed their willingness to accept the name moving forward.
“What to call the lake that is in Kosovo and Serbia has been a serious sticking point despite the U.S. forged compromise to launch a feasibility study to create jobs and more energy for the region….so both sides have agreed to a new name: Lake Trump,” former acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell wrote on Twitter.
What to call the lake that is in Kosovo and Serbia has been a serious sticking point despite the U.S. forged compromise to launch a feasibility study to create jobs and more energy for the region….so both sides have agreed to a new name: Lake Trump. https://t.co/AgeDNZ4aBd
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) September 24, 2020
Kosovar PM Hoti confirmed on Thursday that the initiative is real, Grenell did indeed bring it up, and that it was not uncommon for Kosovo to make such moves.
“As a sing of honor for their decisive role for the freedom, independence, and recognition of Kosovo’s statehood all over the world, we have named our best boulevards after names of the most distinguished U.S. personalities,” Hoti wrote on Facebook, “such as: President Clinton, George Bush, Senator Bob Dole, Secretary Madeleine Albright, and others.”
“It is our tradition and culture to honor the friend! This is a noble tradition of our ancestors that we will always honor,” he asserted.
The Serbian pro-government newspaper Informer also published images and video of the lake with “Lake Trump” signs on it and a large banner over a bridge reading, “President Trump, Kosovo Serbs thank you for bringing peace.”
Arguments over the artificial lake, constructed decades ago by the Iber Lepenci company when Kosovo formed part of Yugoslavia, began following the end of the Kosovo War in 1999. Although part of the lake is located in Serbian territory, Kosovo claims ownership over the entire territory, leading to disputes over whom can exploit its resources.
However, negotiations appear to have made a breakthrough after Kosovan officials reached an agreement with the U.S. State Department to conduct a feasibility study on how to fairly and effectively share the lake’s resources.
It is not the first time that a foreign power has named landmarks after the current American president. While he currently boasts a Donald J. Trump Boulevard in Albania, the government of Israel has renamed multiple sites after him, mainly in recognition of his support for Israeli sovereignty and his decision to relocate the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Among the Israeli locations renamed after Trump include Donald Trump Squares in Jerusalem and Petah Tikva, as well as naming a community in the Golan Heights territory the “Trump Heights.” Authorities are also currently planning to name a proposed train station in Jerusalem the Trump Station.