Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Visiting Serbia : Biden "to push for progress" in Belgrade-Pristina relations

U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden is visiting Serbia to push for progress in Belgrade’s relations with "the breakaway Kosovo province."

This is according to the Bloomberg website, which identified the point as "one of the key conditions" on Serbia's path to joining the European Union.

Biden, who on Tuesday afternoon arrived in Belgrade, is set to meet with PM Aleksandar Vucic and President Tomislav Nikolic.

The article, ran under the headline, "Biden visits Serbia to talk security as Vucic keeps Russian ties" - noted that Vucic started his new 4-year term on August 11 promising to "prepare Serbia for joining the EU."

"He is also trying to balance his pro-European agenda by maintaining strong ties with Russia, its Orthodox Slav ally and the biggest international supporter of Serbia’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence," said Bloomberg.

The U.S. agency also noted that in the wake of the April parliamentary elections, the country's National Assembly gained "more members of the pro-Russian opposition, including the Serbia Radical Party of nationalist leader Vojislav Seselj" - who has "called on Serbs in the U.S. to support Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election and will lead a rally in central Belgrade to protest against Biden’s visit."

"Russia was the eighth biggest investor in Serbia between 2005 and 2013, with nearly 600 million euros worth of foreign direct investment, three times that of the U.S. Still, U.S. investors dominate the debt market with purchases of government bonds, making the country vulnerable to policy changes by the Fed," writes Bloomberg.

The article also said that relations between Serbia and the U.S. have been "strained" due to a lack of progress in apprehending the killers of three American-Albanians from Kosovo, the Bytyqi brothers, "after U.S.-led NATO forces pushed Serbian troops out of the province in a 1999 bombing campaign" - while Washington is also "seeking the perpetrators who demolished the U.S. embassy building in central Belgrade in February 2008, when protesters attacked embassies of countries that recognized Kosovo’s independence."
 Source: Tanjug, Bloomberg.com, b92


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