Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer stressed Monday night that the United States is committed to resolving the Kosovo issue and that Washington’s position is that only mutual recognition can resolve it. issues.
In a conversation with US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey on Facebook, Palmer, when asked by Tanjug if he had spoken yesterday with President Aleksandar Vučić about Kosovo and how he explained to the Serbian President his commitment to resolving the Kosovo issue when the US insisted in mutual recognition, he replied that of course they talked as this issue was on the agenda.
“Of course we have talked about Kosovo, as we have done thousands of times in recent years. Our position is that compromise is necessary for progress and that there is no uncompromising agreement. “I would not say that we insist on mutual recognition, but we believe that only recognition can solve this problem in the long run,” he said.
Palmer said this does not mean that the United States would not welcome agreements, for example, on missing persons, which would help resolve not only an important issue in the history of Serbia and Kosovo, but on it. all of the families of missing persons.
“We hope for an agreement on the normalization of relations that will pave the way for the EU, both for Serbia and Kosovo, and that both countries will be partners in Europe, that is, they will understand that they need to sit down. at a table and talk and accept each other as partners. “This is a long-term vision and goal that will allow for the best possible future for Serbia and Kosovo,” Palmer said with certainty.
Ambassador Godfrey added that the United States welcomes any agreement along the way, as well as any agreement that will allow the free movement of goods, capital, people and services and mutual recognition of documents. “This would be to the benefit of all citizens in the area,” he said.
Palmer noted that in the dialogue process between Belgrade and Pristina, the US provides strong support to EU Special Envoy for Dialogue Miroslav Lajcak, who, he said, is an experienced diplomat and is convinced that this process will lead to an agreement.
Speaking at the “Diplomacy with Matthew Palmer” online discussion on the Facebook page of the US Embassy in Belgrade, when asked if the United States would mediate in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, he said: “We are partners with the EU. Like Belgrade “Pristina also has ambitions for the EU, so the EU is mediating. I have no reason to believe that it will not succeed. It does not matter who is leading, but that the dialogue ends and compromises are reached.”
Speaking about the financial cooperation of the American financial development company DFC with Serbia, Palmer said that the United States is excited about the possibilities of this cooperation and noted that unlike the 1990s, when he first came to Serbia, relations between the two countries are different and more positive and the US hopes for further cooperation.
The US Ambassador to Serbia noted that the Government of US President Joe Biden will work on the economic normalization of relations between the two countries.
“There have been staff changes in the DFC office and I’m sorry about that. John Jovanovic is great, but often when there is a change in management, people change. “But the office will continue to work in Serbia and we are looking forward to it,” said Godfrey.
One of the questions Palmer posed on Facebook was whether more American companies would appear in Serbia in the future. He said he had a positive view of the workforce and opportunities to invest in Serbia, while Godfrey noted that Serbia is doing a good job and attracting more and more foreign investors.
One of the questions was also why the US and the EU, due to their insufficient participation in the Western Balkans, left a gap for the influence of Russia and China, to which Godfrey replied that there was no more room, as Serbia had chosen ways of military neutrality; she makes her own decisions. The main political goal remains the path to the EU, which is supported by the United States.
As he said, China and Russia have different visions for the region.
“We are convinced that EU membership is the best goal for the region, for its stability, development and long-term progress,” Godfrey said.
Palmer added that the United States is dealing with the region, although this commitment is not the same as in the 1990s, when the Balkans were on the front pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post in many European newspapers and world leaders dealt with events in the Balkans. Western, something that changed with the end of the wars.
Palmer also said that Russia and China will have a presence in the Western Balkans because they are interested in having a presence.
“It is up to the countries of the Western Balkans to recognize the partners who support their goals. “For the United States and the EU, the goal is for countries to become members of the EU, believing that this would be good for the region.”