US foreign policy committee senators Chris Murphy and Jeanne Shaheen and Senator Thom Tillis, stressed after talks with Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić that it was important at this historic moment that all European democracies send a clear message to Russia and call it to account.
The senators added that Serbia must harmonize its foreign policy with that of the European Union.
“We understand that Serbia and Russia have a complex history, but we hope that we will continue to work with Serbia to send a clear message to Russia”, said Senator Murphy.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen added that this visit emphasizes the importance of the Western Balkans for the United States, especially at this critical moment for European history.
“We hope that the democratic countries of Europe will be together in opposing what is happening in this unprovoked war”, said Shaheen.
Asked by journalists whether the introduction of sanctions against Russia was also discussed with the President of Serbia, Senator Shaheen said that this had also been a topic of the meeting and added that she was sure that Serbia and the United States would continue to discuss it in future.
“As the President of Serbia has said, the future of Serbia lies in the west with the rest of Europe and it is moving in that direction. If that is the intention, then you should definitely see that you have a foreign policy that is harmonized with the European Union’s”, Shaheen stressed.
Asked about the delivery of Chinese weapons to Serbia, Senator Tillis answered that if Serbia continues to move towards the EU, things can be much more complicated, depending on where some supplies come from.
“In the long run, each country should decide whether it is wise to link its security to China. If Serbia intends to be part of the European Union, then it is not in its long-term interest to develop security relations with China”, said Tillis.
Concerning Kosovo, Senator Murphy answered that this topic was also on the agenda and that the United States is disappointed that there is not more progress in the implementation of the agreement.
“What is needed for the long-term goal, the conditions for recognition exist, both sides must be able to implement these steps because they are already outlined in the initial agreement. I think the United States should remain an active participant in these talks, along with the EU. But I am worried that our talks with Serbia about Ukraine may prevail over the very important talks that need to continue on the future of relations between Serbia and Kosovo”, said Murphy.
He added that he would travel to Priština this week, where he would put pressure on the Kosovo government to fulfill its promises under the agreement.
President Vučić pointed out that improving cooperation with the United States is one of Serbia’s foreign policy priorities.
“Our trade exchange will reach the amount of 1.2 billion dollars this year, which shows major progress in our economic relations. We hope for additional intensification of various types of cooperation and the realization of specific projects of mutual interest”, said Vučić.
The US senators met with US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill and Prime Minister Ana Brnabić, who said after the talks that the Serbian government was committed to strengthening its partnership with the United States.