U.S.-Balkans Summit underway
A two-day business summit, aimed at boosting investments and strengthening business cooperation, is underway in Baltimore.Source: B92, VOA
The only country of the region that does not have its representatives in Baltimore is Serbia, which decided not to participate in the summit because of Kosovo representatives who announced that they would attend the summit.
Almost 400 representatives of U.S. companies and firms from the region, as well as political leaders, are taking part in the meeting. One of the organizers Charles Dillon says that the summit should have been organized a long time ago.
“Such a summit should have happened much sooner because the U.S. is poorly represented in the region. The goal is to create an opportunity for the beginning of a dialogue, to establish trade and investment flow between the U.S. and the region. We are late, but better late than never,” he pointed out.
The U.S. officials were dissatisfied with Serbia’s decision not to send its representatives to Baltimore.
“It’s quite a disappointment. This is not a political conference, but economic one and I think that it would have been a great possibility for businesspeople and consumers in Serbia. Unfortunately, that was not possible due to politics,” Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Thomas Countryman stated.
He added that the U.S. officials had tried to make Belgrade change its decision.
“The Serbian government knows exactly what we think about this, but what’s more important is that they know what the state of Maryland thinks about this. That this wasn’t intentionally politically organized or that this was a trap for Serbia, but that it was only an economic opportunity. Well, in any case, there will be other economic opportunities and even more cooperation between the U.S. and Serbia in the economic sphere,” Countryman stressed.
The summit focuses on cooperation in areas that have a potential to grow, such as energy, tourism, trade, defense and information technology.