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 problem and that Washington’s position is that only mutual recognition can resolve it. issue.
In a conversation with US Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey on Facebook, Palmer, when asked by Tanjug if he had spoken to President Aleksandar Vučić about Kosovo yesterday and how he explained to the Serbian President his commitment to resolving the Kosovo issue when the US insisted on 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 needed for progress and that there is no agreement without compromise. I would not say we insist on mutual recognition, but we believe that only recognition can solve this problem in the long run”, he said.
Palmer said that 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 above all of the families of the 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 the two countries will be partners in Europe, that is, they will realize that they have to sit in 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 confidently.
Ambassador Godfrey added that the United States welcomes any agreement along the way, as well as any agreements that will allow the free flow of goods, capital, people and services and the mutual recognition of documents. “This would be to the benefit of all citizens in this area”, he said.
Palmer pointed out that in the dialogue process between Belgrade and Pristina, the US provides strong support to the 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, asked if the United States would mediate in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, he said: “we are partners with the EU. Both Belgrade and Pristina have ambitions for the EU, which is why the EU is mediating. I have no reason not 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 development financial company DFC with Serbia, Palmer said that the United States is excited about the possibilities of this cooperation and pointed out that unlike the 1990s, when he first came to Serbia, relations between the two countries are different and more positive and the US looks forward to 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 at 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 that”, Godfrey said.
One of the questions posed to Palmer on Facebook was whether more US 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 does a good job and attracts 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, leave a gap for the influence of Russia and China, to which Godfrey replied that there was no room left, as Serbia has chosen the way of military neutrality; it makes its 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 long-term stability, development and progress”, Godfrey said.
Palmer added that the United States is dealing with the region, although that commitment is not on par with that of 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 Western Balkans, 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”, Palmer stressed./ibna