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Special Envoy Escobar was not dismissed for conflict of interest

Claim: Gabriel Escobar has been fired from his position as U.S. Special Envoy for the Western Balkans

Verdict: Context missing


Several Albanian-language portals reported in early May that U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar had been terminated from his role as special envoy for the Western Balkans.

The Albanian-language media articles appear to be referencing a magazine called The Frontliner and its editor, Vudi Xhymshiti. In his article, Xhymshiti alleges that Escobar was dismissed due to an alleged conflict of interest that undermines his neutrality as a mediator in the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue.

‘Further revelations by The Frontliner of a legal contract between McGinnis Lochridge LLP and the government of Republika Srpska, dated December 23, 2019, add another layer to the intrigue,’ writes Xhymshiti. ‘This contract, which involves a monthly payment of $80,000 to the law firm for consultancy and representation of Republika Srpska in international legal matters, sheds light on the familial connection between Manuel Escobar, a partner in the firm, and Gabriel Escobar.’

However, these claims by Xhymshiti were swiftly refuted by the U.S. Department of State.

In a statement to Voice of America, a DASH spokesperson dismissed them as ‘easily verifiable false claims.”

‘Vudi Xhymshiti has recently made a number of online statements regarding Mr. Escobar, which are verifiably false. Despite Mr. Xhymshiti’s claims, Mr. Escobar’s spouse has never received funds from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, and Mr. Escobar has no familial connection with the so-called partner of the law firm in Texas, McGinnis Lochridge LLP,’ stated the anonymous DASH spokesperson, a form commonly used by DASH in confirmations to reputable and public media outlets in the USA like Voice of America.

Furthermore, Escobar has not been fired but will be transferred to another position within the U.S. diplomatic service in the coming weeks. ‘All career diplomats rotate positions every four years as part of a regular practice,’ clarified the statement.
His biography on the official DASH website indicates that Mr. Escobar assumed his current position on September 7, 2021, placing him in his third year of appointment to this position.


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