U.S. envoy: Verdict will not jeopardize dialogue

The U.S. ambassador to Serbia says that despite causing disappointment in Serbia, the acquittal of Ramush Haradinaj will not jeopardize the Kosovo talks.

Source: Tanjug

It also won't affect the good relations between Serbia and the United States, said Michael Kirby.

Kirby expects the dialogue will continue and the agreement on integrated management of crossings between central Serbia and Kosovo will be implemented.

We have heard from the government and the prime minister, and it is my opinion as well, that the dialogue will continue, Kirby told reporters after the presentation of USAID's book of recommendations for financing the growth of small and medium businesses.

The ambassador recalled that the international community was not demanding that Serbia recognize Kosovo but insisting on normalization of relations, which is not the same thing.

According to Kirby, the government needs to decide where it sees Serbia in the future, and Kosovo is part of the picture. The EU offers the best path which will make it possible for generations in Serbia to advance, said Kirby, noting that Europe offers only a few economic models Serbia could follow.

Among countries which are not in the EU, there is Switzerland which has developed the banking sector, which is not the case in Serbia, and Norway which has natural resources such as oil and gas which Serbia does not have, he said.

Russia has a population of 140 million and natural resources which Serbia does not have. Ukraine has a population of 50 million and natural resources, and the final model is Belarus, which we do not even need to discuss, said Kirby.

Considering these models, the EU is the best option for Serbia, he concluded.

The Serbian government has said it wants to start implementing the integrated crossings management agreement, which will not be perfectly easy to do on the ground. We are hearing from northern Kosovo that they are not too enthusiastic about it, said Kirby, adding the issue would be discussed when dialogue resumes in Brussels.

According to him, the dialogue should resume on December 4 in Brussels.

Commenting on the possible impact of the ICTY's verdicts on reconciliation in the region, he said people in Serbia had made it clear they were not satisfied with the court, but reiterated the U.S. respected the verdict and believed in the integrity of the proceedings.

I would like us to look to Serbia's future more than to the past, he concluded.


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