US Academician David Phillips told BIRN that President Hashim Thaci had asked him to prepare a study that would support the exchange of territories in the fall of 2018.
Phillips, who is director of the Peace and Rights Building Program at Columbia University’s Institute for Human Rights Studies and has written about Kosovo since 1989, signed a contract with the Kosovo Ministry of Foreign Affairs – MFA, on February 26, 2018.
His contract states that he must provide “advice on the requests of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Foreign Affairs […] on issues related to Kosovo and the region, including advice related to the Dialogue with Serbia”.
Phillips spoke to BIRN on June 7, 2020, about the two demands Thaçi had for him while working for the MFA. “During the fall of 2018, Thaçi asked me to write a paper where I would argue that the Special Court is illegitimate,” he said. “I rejected that request.”
Phillips went on to say that “he also asked me to prepare a paper in support of the exchange of territories.” “I do not believe that partition is in Kosovo’s interest and I would never do something that is not in Kosovo’s interest, so I refused.”
Phillips described in detail a trip he and his teenage daughters had made to Kosovo in March 2019, when the family was trying to rebuild the Mitrovica Library through the Phillips family fund. Phillips claims that on this trip, Thaci accused him of being sold.
Philips stated that “during the trip, I sent my twin daughters, who were 15 years old, to meet President Thaçi.” “In the eyes of my children, he accused me of being corrupt. He asked me ‘who paid you to oppose my proposal on the exchange of territories? Do you know where you came from? ‘
“No amount of money would convince me to betray my conscience,” Phillips said.
BIRN has sent questions to President Thaçi seeking answers to these allegations, but has not received any response since the article was published. // KosovoInsights