Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s meeting with the US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday in the United States is an opportunity to consolidate Belgrade’s ties with Washington, but also to talk about issues that are troubling the US administration, first of all – on whose side is Belgrade, reports the Voice of America.
Announcing the first meeting of Vucic with the new US administration and his first visit to the US since he assumed the presidency, VOA is wondering what could be the message to the new president of Serbia from the White House.
Luke Coffey from the Heritage Foundation, ideologically close to the new US administration, says that he would advise the White House to convey a strong message to Serbia to decide whether it wants to have a constructive role in the region and dedicate itself to Euro-Atlantic integration, “or it will continue flirting with Russia”.
Coffey believes that, of all countries of Southeastern Europe, Serbia probably has the least common interest with the United States.
“Serbia needs to be more cautious in foreign policy decisions. You can have good relations with Russia even if you do not have a [Serbian-Russian] humanitarian center, and if you do not participate in joint military exercises [with Russia], or organize a meeting of the leader of the Republika Srpska and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin on its territory. Serbia needs to become aware that we are aware of it”, said Luke Coffey.
At the same time, Vice-President of the Atlantic Council, Damon Wilson, points out that Serbia is the one who will make the final decision on what to do with the Russian center, and points out that the question for the United States is how to keep them present in Southeastern Europe.
“I suggest that the presence of American troops within KFOR and Bondsteel does not take place temporary, but permanently, to make it clear that America remains as a force there in the future”, said Wilson.