Deputy Secretary William J. Burns today said the United States strongly supports Serbia’s candidacy status in the European Union, during an interview with Bojan Brkic of Radio Television of Serbia.
During the interview, Mr. Burns said the goal of Serbia joining the EU is well within reach in the coming weeks.
“While we do not have a vote in the European Union, we will do everything we can to encourage this outcome. We hope that Serbia will continue implementing its commitments in the coming weeks to help us to help Serbia make its candidacy status possible.” – Mr. Burns
In his visit to Belgrade in Serbia, Mr. Burns had a fruitful meeting with the President and met earlier today with the Prime Minister and Defense Minister.
He offered his belated congratulations on Serbia’s National Day.
“I come with a very straightforward message: President Obama, Secretary Clinton, and the entire American administration strongly support the deepening of our relationship with Serbia, and we continue to strongly support the European aspirations of Serbia.” – Mr. Burns
The US-Serbia bilateral relationship has grown considerably in recent years in a number of areas, including law enforcement and military.
On law enforcement cooperation, Burns said both countries work together effectively to counter common threats from narcotics, organized crime, and terrorism.
Both countries’ militaries work well together and both value the expansion of Serbia’s contributions in international peacekeeping.
“We welcome people-to-people and educational exchanges and we hope very much to expand trade and investment opportunities in the future. The Minister of Economy, with whom I met earlier today along with the Prime Minister, had a quite successful trade and investment mission to the United States in December.”
– Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns stressed that Serbia, with its highly skilled and multilingual population, has a great deal to offer to American investors and recent steps such as the acquisition by Cooper Tires of a tire factory in Serbia are a reminder of what is possible.
“We look forward to expanding our bilateral relationship in all these areas.”
– Mr. Burns
Burns said the United States is committed to support the aspirations of Kosovo and Serbia to achieve lasting peace and to complete their European integration.
Diplomatic relations between the then-Kingdom of Serbia and the United States were established in the 19th century.
Prior to World War I and the creation of Yugoslavia, Serbia and the United States enjoyed excellent relations. After the overthrow of the Milosevic government in October 2000, the United States reestablished a diplomatic mission. The U.S. Embassy formally reopened in May 2001.