"Serbia taking on increasingly important role"

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Serbia's Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic met in Washington on Thursday with United States Secretary of State John Kerry.

Source: Tanjug

John Kerry told a joint news conference after their meeting in Washington that that Serbia was taking on an increasingly important role "in many respects."

"First of all, they are assuming the chairmanship of the OSCE. And this comes at a really important time given the Minsk agreement, the efforts that we are all making to try to see that agreement implemented," Kerry said.

Under the chairmanship Dacic, "we will all be looking for accountability in the process of trying to stabilize the eastern part of Ukraine, and see if we can't get on a different road," he said.

The U.S. official added that the OSCE observer status was "absolutely critical to our ability to know if both sides are adhering to the Minsk agreements, and so the United States welcomes the assumption of this responsibility."

Kerry touched on Serbia's European path, saying that the United States welcomes "the fact that Serbia has taken the step of moving towards EU accession."

"It will require a process of reforms and engagement. We certainly look forward to working with Serbia in that endeavor," the secretary of state said.

He said that the government in Belgrade has exhibited great leadership in helping to engage seriously in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and in helping to reach an agreement that really could begin to move things on a road to longer-term stability.

"We know it's difficult and we know there are complications, but we applaud the fact that most recently there was a meeting with the EU High Representative Mogherini. There was a successful outcome of that dialogue with important next steps taken," said Kerry.

Dacic said that Serbia attaches great importance to bilateral relations with the United States, especially in a time when Serbia is chairing a very important organization - the OSCE:

"As holder of the OSCE chairmanship-in-office, Serbia will be fully committed to honoring and meeting its principles and commitments, bearing in mind that former Yugoslavia was one of the founders of the OSCE, and we will do all we can to help bring about peace and coordinate all our actions in the entire OSCE region from Vladivostok to Vancouver."

"In line with this, we will be holding consultations at various places within the OSCE structures so that we can take the necessary steps and make the right moves," said he.

Dacic added that he and Kerry discussed not only the OSCE topics, but also touch upon some bilateral issues.

"And it is my great pleasure to have our bilateral relations advancing and going upwards, and I think that it is very important to renew the strategic partnership, which dates way back," Dacic said, pointing to the fact that the bilateral and diplomatic relations were established over 130 years ago.

Dacic voiced the hope that Kerry would take part in an OSCE Ministerial Council meeting in Belgrade in December this year.

"We would be very happy to see our two countries exchanging visits more frequently. And I have to say that we cannot even remember who was the last president of the United States who visited Serbia. I think that this was Mr. Ford," Dacic said.

The Serbian foreign minister noted that it would be very good and beneficial for the relationship between the United States and Serbia to advance, mirroring the development of political cooperation between them.

"We want Serbia to be a factor of stability and peace in the region, to resolve all issues with its neighbors in a diplomatic way and through dialogue. We will make maximum efforts and demonstrate responsibility as OSCE chair, especially when the whole world is watching what the OSCE, with its capacities, can do in this regard," Dacic said.

The Serbian foreign minister is wrapping up his several-day visit to the U.S. in his capacity as OSCE chairperson-in-office on Thursday.


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