The US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs Hoyt Brian Yee expressed concern over close relations between the Russian Federation and Serbia as well as the growing Russian influence in the Balkan region during his meeting with the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić, TASS reported on October 24 citing the Serbian President’s press service.
In particular, the press service statement says:
“It was quite a frank conversation. The US official expressed concern over his perception that Serbia was with one foot on a EU path, and another in a union with Russia. He expressed concern over the Russian influence in the region”. The statement further says that President Vučić carefully listened to the US official and responded to his comments. The scope of their talk has not been made public; the press service is going to publish it “if the American side wants to reveal it”.
Hoyt Brian Yee said earlier, at the 17th Serbian Economic Forum, that Serbia had to make a choice between the US and Russia if it wanted to join the EU but not “sit on two chairs at the same time”.
Hoyt Brian Yee cited Croatia and Montenegro as an example, adding that “there is a positive trend, but the risk of further conflicts lingers” and that “stability and security cannot be taken for granted”.
The Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin responded to these blatant threats as follows:
“Undoubtedly, this is the heaviest public and very undiplomatic pressure on our country and goes against our right to make our own decisions. This is not a statement made by a friend or a person respecting Serbia, respecting our right to decide independently. Serbia makes its decisions on its own, without paying attention to the importance of those who believe that they can decide for us”.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also commented the US State Department official’s statements calling them provocative and crude.
“We would like to recall that the United States is not an EU member, and this is probably why it is unaware that many EU countries are involved in large-scale, mutually beneficial and productive cooperation with Russia. Nobody should prevent Serbia from having the same approach on the basis of its national interests.”
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged its US colleagues “not to impose on others hostile ideological stereotypes that undermine the foundations of international stability and cooperation in the Balkans and Europe in general”.
Previously, the US Vice President Joseph Biden said that Serbia played a fundamental role in the Balkan region.
During his visit to Serbia in August 2016 Biden said that the Western Balkans’ joint integration into the “democratic Europe” depended on Serbia which played the key role.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency