US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said in an interview for Voice of America that a potential strategic partnership between the two countries is being discussed and that such an agreement is possible in the future.
In the context of the war in Ukraine and Serbia’s refusal to impose sanctions on Russia, Hill said that even when taking into account Belgrade’s dependence on Russian energy sources, it is not good for Serbia to sit on the fence “between good and evil”. He denied that there are specific deadlines that the US sets for resolving the Kosovo issue, but said that he hopes for progress soon and that America supports the proposal by France and Germany.
Hill, who took over the post on March 31 this year, also said he believes Serbia is a „complicated country.“
He said the dialogue has been going on for a very long time and needs to be revived. He welcomed the engagement of EU officials in the matter and said that US Secretary Antony Blinken emphasised the desire to move this issue forward.
Hill stressed that it is important that Serbia aligns its foreign policy with the EU and that it would be best if the country becomes a member state. He also said NATO membership would be good for Serbia’s security.
While he noted the complexity of the problem of Serbia’s dependence on Russia regarding energy, Hill stressed that many countries are struggling due to the introduction of sanctions, but that they still decided to introduce them because they know it is the right thing to do.
„And I think that Serbia should carefully consider this issue, the position of my government is that Serbia should join these sanctions. But that should be decided by Serbia’s leaders. What is happening in Ukraine is totally unacceptable. And I don’t think it’s good to sit on the fence between what is, essentially, good and evil. And I hope that people in Serbia will come to that conclusion,“ he said.
Hill also noted that Serbia is actively seeking other sources of gas and working on developing renewable energy sources to stop being dependent on a “very unreliable supplier“.
„Our message to Serbia is that it must diversify its energy sources, to rely less on Russian sources,” he said.