"U.S. sees Serbia as future EU member"

BELGRADE -- A U.S. State Department official has said that Serbia had made "huge progress in the European integration process."

(Beta/AP, file)
(Beta/AP, file)

The United States expects the EU will open accession talks with Serbia, says Philip Reeker, deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs at the U.S. State Department.

In an interview for Belgrade-based weekly NIN, Reeker said that following the Brussels agreement between Belgrade and Priština, Serbia"put the Washington administration in a position of encouraging its European partners to offer Serbia a start of membership talks."

"The United States does not get a vote in the EU. We expect Serbia will do everything needed to get the date for opening accession talks," said Reeker, stressing the the U.S. sees Serbia as a future EU member country.

The U.S. official called on Belgrade and Priština "to do everything they can to demonstrate unwavering commitment to the implementation of the Brussels agreement before the European Council session on June 28."

Reeker said that "the two sides are expected to fulfill the obligations contained in the agreement and the implementation plan, and that both sides understand what is expected of them and when, even though there are still some differences over how the agreement will be implemented in practice."

"The Serbian government has assumed a pragmatic position on Kosovo," he said, commending Serbian officials for recognizing the importance of normalizing relations with Kosovo for regional stability.

Reeker "dismissed claims that the Brussels agreement is a step towards Serbia's recognition of Kosovo," noting that "neither the agreement nor the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština require Serbia to recognize Kosovo, but are aimed at concrete measures in normalization of relations."

Asked whether ""a UN seat for Kosovo could become a requirement in the future," Reeker said the United States "obviously sees Kosovo as a future UN member country."

"I do not want to speculate on any hypothetical scenarios of how this goal can be achieved," said Reeker.