US State Secretary Mike Pompeo encouraged Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vucic to focus on “a comprehensive normalization agreement centered on mutual recognition,” the US State Department said in a statement on Wednesday.
Pompeo and Vucic met in New York on Tuesday what the US official described as "a productive lunch," on his Twitter account after the encounter.
The US President, Donald Trump's chief foreign affairs adviser, encouraged Vucic to focus on the strategic goal – the European Union membership - and to resume the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations.
Vucic said he asked "the US administration to try, though they have done it already, to influence the Kosovo Albanians to lift the taxes and by no means, we have the US support for that since it also believes it is essential to resume the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue."
Later on Wednesday, Vucic said the dialogue might continue in early December.
Ivica Buljic, Al-Jazeera Washington correspondent, said Tony Blair, former UK Prime Minister, attended the Tuesday’s meeting between Pompeo and Vucic. N1 asked Suzana Vasiljevic. Vucic’s media advisor, whether Blair took part in the conference and if he did in what capacity, but did not get a reply until Wednesday afternoon.
The two discussed a bilateral vision of a stable, safe and prosperous Western Balkans region and the US continuous support to Serbia’s European path. The State Department statement issued by spokesperson Morgan Ortagus reads as follows:
"Secretary Michael R. Pompeo met today in New York City with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Secretary Pompeo praised the strong U.S.-Serbia relationship.
The Secretary and President Vucic discussed the shared bilateral vision of a stable, secure, and prosperous Western Balkans region, and continued U.S. support for Serbia’s goal of integration into the European Union. Secretary Pompeo encouraged Serbia to focus on this strategic goal by accelerating domestic reforms and resuming negotiations with Kosovo on a comprehensive normalization agreement centered on mutual recognition.
The Secretary reiterated that both sides should avoid provocations that hinder the normalization process, and engage with the spirit of compromise and flexibility necessary to secure an agreement and unlock both countries’ potential."
On Wednesday, a day after “a constructive lunch” Vucic had with Pompeo, he met with Matthew Palmer, Deputy Assistant Secretary at U.S. Department of State - Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs and Damon Wilson, the executive vice president at the Atlantic Council, a foreign and public policy think tank based in Washington, and the talks also focused on the Kosovo issue and the US – Serbia relations.
“The protection of the interest of the Serbs in Kosovo and preservation of vital national and state interests were the essence of my efforts in the meeting with Wilson,” Vucic wrote on his Instagram account and shared some photos.
He added the meeting with Palmer was "long and serious."