US senators meet Vucic: Serbia has to align its foreign policy with EU

NEWS 19.04.2022 21:57
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Source: Andrej ISAKOVIC / AFP

US Senators Jeanne Shaheen (NH, D), Chris Murphy (CT, D), and Thom Tillis (NC, R) held a news conference in Belgrade on Tuesday after meeting with President Aleksandar Vucic. In the conference, they called on Serbia to align its foreign policy with the European Union regarding Russia's war in Ukraine.

The senators said that “the important thing at present is for all democratic European countries to send a clear message to Russia and hold it accountable for the invasion of Ukraine.”

Senator Murphy, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, said that although they understood the complex history of Serbia’s relations with Russia he hoped that “we will continue working with Serbia to send Russia a clear message,” while his fellow committee member, Senator Shaheen, said that “the Western Balkans are important to the US, especially in this critical time in European history”. She expressed hope that the democratic countries of Europe will stand together in opposing the unprovoked war.

Shaheen said that they discussed sanctions against Russia with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. She added that Vucic told them that Serbia’s future lies in the west with the rest of Europe. “If that is the intention then you should have a foreign policy aligned with the European Union,” she said.

Murphy told reporters that “democratic nations can’t tolerate the targeting of civilians in the brutal war in Ukraine” and added that he hoped that the US “can stand with Serbia in coming weeks and months to send that message to Russia.”

Seator Tillis (Senate Armed Services Committee) commented the recent delivery of Chinese-made anti-aircraft missile systems to Serbia, saying that “if Serbia continues its way towards the EU, things could get more complicated, depending on where weapons come from.”

Media: US congressional delegation in Bosnia this week

“In the long term, every country should decide if its smart to link its security to China but if Serbia intends to be part of the EU it’s not in its long-term interest to develop security relations with China,” he added.

Murphy confirmed that they discussed Kosovo with Vucic, adding that Washington is “disappointed” with the lack of progress in implementing agreements between Belgrade and Pristina. “The conditions for recognition exist and both sides need to be able to take the steps because they have been outlined in the initial agreement,” he said and added that “the US should remain an active player in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue with the EU.”

Murphy said the trio would travel to Pristina next, in order to pressure the Kosovo government to fulfill its commitments agreed with Belgrade.

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