U.S. "disappointed" with Serbia's decision

BELGRADE -- The U.S. is disappointed by Serbia’s decision not to take part at the U.S.-Western Balkans business summit, U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick said.

Mary Warlick (Tanjug, file)
Mary Warlick (Tanjug, file)

“Naturally we are disappointed that the Serbian state, and especially Serbian companies, have decided not to take part at this conference”, Warlick told B92.

Chief of the Belgrade delegation in the negotiations with Priština opened this month, Borko Stefanović, confirmed on Monday that Serbia would not take part at the gathering in Baltimore since Kosovo would there be treated as a sovereign state, and its delegation would be led by Prime Minister Hashim Thaci.

Warlick said that “economy should be separated from politics”, and so also the matter of the recognition of Kosovo as a sovereign country from trade, investments and other economic issues.

She stated that she was very encouraged by the program that the Serbian prime minister had presented to the parliament, and his announcement that he would make the whole team work hard in order to reach the government's goals including EU integration, economic growth and reforms.

“I know that the government is aware that there is little time and that the key priority is fulfillment of tasks which were posed by the EU. This will definitely need a lot of work, but I believe that by joint, hard and focused efforts these goals can be fulfilled. Our intention is to offer help in the process,” the U.S. ambassador stressed.

“I firmly believe that Serbia is on its way to joining the EU, and that it is committed to seeing not only itself, but also the entire region integrated in Europe, while the final goal is the EU accession. This is the goal that the U.S. is in favor of,” she underscored.

According to her, the U.S. and its embassy will continue to work on the bilateral relations with Serbia, offering an aid program of nearly USD 15mn per year intended for strengthening of the rule of law, establishment of institutions and reforms, which are Serbia's tasks on the EU path.

Warlick underlined that it is very encouraging that new U.S. companies were visiting Serbia, analyzing the market and considering future investments.

Speaking about the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, Warlick underlined that the U.S. was playing a supporting role, while the EU had assumed the role of the mediator, which has brought Belgrade and Priština to the same table in order to discuss the issues of utmost importance.

“We hope that this will be a positive and constructive process which will lead to betterment of everyday life of people in both countries. We strongly support the talks, and both teams have opened the dialogue well,” the ambassador added.