Hill: There is a much greater possibility for real progress in the dialogue than for problems on September 1st

Clearly, Belgrade and Pristina need to do more to address the issues. I would look forward to seeing some progress, said the US ambassador to Belgrade, Christopher Hill ahead of a meeting between the President of Serbia and the Kosovan Prime Minister in Brussels.

Three days ago, the US Embassy in Belgrade called on Facebook and Twitter users to ask Ambassador Christopher Hill questions about US-Serbian relations, cooperation, and the joint future.

After Pristina announced that it will start implementing the previously postponed decisions on license plates and declaration sheets from September, one of the questions posed said whether there is a possibility that a new conflict may emerge related to administrative crossings on September 1st and how is the embassy preparing for such a scenario?

The US ambassador to Serbia, however, said that there is a much greater possibility for real progress in the dialogue than for problems.

“Clearly, Belgrade and Pristina need to do more to address the issue. They have some pretty good mediators from the European Union, also the US has been very active in this. I would look forward to seeing some progress, and I think we can all push for that and make sure that people keep themselves on task and looking forward,“ he said.

The ambassador’s statement arrives more than ten days after the latest tensions in the North of Kosovo, but also seven days before the announced meeting between the Prime Minister of Kosovo and the President of Serbia in Brussels.

Answering the question about the different attitudes of Serbia and the USA towards Russia, i.e. the fact that official Belgrade did not impose sanctions on this country, Hill said that it is very important that the US and Serbia try to work together on big issues and to try to align themselves together.

“I think that we really have a good future ahead of us. Obviously, we have some differences on sanctions. Certainly, Serbia has some differences from its European Union partners, but I think the important thing for us is to concentrate on things that we agree on and try to move forward together,” Hill underlined.

When asked why the USA supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine, but not Serbia’s, Hill states that the situation in Ukraine is entirely different.

“We have a neighbor of Ukraine invade Ukraine, attack its civilians and continue to bombard its cities. Ukraine has really struggled against this absolutely malicious attack from Russia, an attack that continues to this day.”

He adds that he would be “very careful about trying to compare this situation with the situation some decades ago.”

When asked when Serbia will join NATO, Hill replied that the key part of the answer to this question is actually “when do the Serb people want to join NATO.”

“NATO has made very clear that if Serbia wants to be part of this alliance, it can in the future be part of this alliance. We have great respect for Serbia, its military, its leadership and we would like to see Serbia be not only our friend and our partner but also our ally,” Hill concluded.

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