U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott says he would be surprised if recognizing Kosovo was made a condition for Serbia to join the EU.

Beta reported this quoting a statement cited by the Politika newspaper, made during Scott’s interview published on July 22.

“What Brussels demanded, and Kosovo and Serbia have accepted, is a concept for the normalization of their relations, and I hope that we will soon see some progress in the Brussels dialog,” Scott said in the interview.

Scott also said that Serbia and his country do not agree over Kosovo, “because the US recognized Kosovo’s independence and Belgrade did not – but that both agreed that the talks in Brussels should be used for Belgrade-Pristina relations to move towards larger-scale normalization.”

“This is why both sides are expected to fulfill all the obligations they have accepted in the process,” the diplomat said.

In a comment on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s recent visit to the United States, the ambassador described it as very successful, adding that ties between Serbia and his country were good and strong, and developing constantly.

When asked for a comment on speculation that US Vice President Mike Pence had had some questions on Russia’s influence in Serbia, Ambassador Scott said it would be inappropriate for him to discuss the details of bilateral meetings, but what he could say was that they had an excellent chance to discuss all aspects of cooperation.

“Here I mean regional cooperation, progress in the Brussels talks, Kosovo. They also discussed Russia’s role in the region, the occupation of Crimea and other trends that we have been witnessing when it comes to Moscow,” Scott said, adding that the meeting focused on supporting Serbia’s strategic goals and its efforts to join the EU.

Speaking about a visit by the embassy’s delegation to the Serbian-Russian Humanitarian Center, near Nis, the US ambassador said that he personally had not gone there, but that the embassy staff did not see anything that might convince them there was a need to grant the facility diplomatic status.

“I wasn’t there. They saw what, to be honest, I expected them to see. In essence, an empty structure with several tents and rescue boats,” Scott said, adding that the decision on whether to grant the center diplomatic status should be made by Serbia “in line with its interests.”

He recalled that several countries “from the region and beyond” last week offered Montenegro assistance in fighting fires and that “none of them asked for diplomatic status for their rescuers.”

“We can’t help but ask whether seeking diplomatic status for the humanitarian center means preparing the terrain for what they (Russians) intend to do in the future,” Scott said.