American message to Serbia: "If you rely on Russia..."

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, spoke about the relations between Russia and our country, that is, the agreement between the two countries on gas.

Source: B92, Prva V
Foto: TV Prva
Foto: TV Prva

U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, Anthony Godfrey, spoke about the relations between Russia and our country, that is, the agreement between the two countries on gas. He stated that the best idea would be "diversification of energy sources".

"Serbia has to make its own decisions, the best idea is to introduce different energy sources. Diversification and the way they produce energy. We have a saying in America: 'You don't want to put all your eggs in the same basket'. If you rely only on supply from Russia, it will be harder for you to negotiate a good price", Godfrey told TV Prva.

"I expect that Serbia will participate in an important project for the import of gas through Greece, which is a very important partnership," the US Ambassador added, adding that it was important for our country to introduce new ways of energy production, i.e. green energy.

He pointed out that Russia uses access to energy for political purposes. "I talked a lot with (Serbian President Aleksandar) Vucic and I am happy that we are talking directly. For the future, it is best for Serbia to diversify energy, because then it will have a better price. Russia uses access to energy for political purposes," Godfrey said, adding that Serbia should not be held hostage. Asked whether the United States considers military cooperation with Russia at a time of tensions with Ukraine, Godfrey said that America was worried about the situation in Ukraine.

"These are important goals. Serbia has opted for military neutrality... But we are proud that Serbia is a partner with the United States. Bilateral security cooperation is at the highest level, Serbia buys military equipment from America, France... If I were in this region, I would like to ask myself what are the military goals of Serbia and what is the money spent on those things, and not on infrastructure and energy... We recently had a parachute exercise with the Serbian Army", Godfrey said.

"The United States does not see Serbia as a threat, what I would look at is how Serbia treats its neighbors and how its neighbors perceive it," the US ambassador said, emphasizing that neighboring countries should see it as "the locomotive of the region."

When asked what he thinks about Kosovo and Metohija and the CSMs, he pointed out that "the United States supports a dialogue that EU supports".

"We call on Kurti to adhere to the Brussels Agreement. Special Representative Miroslav Lajcak has put pressure on the inclusion of the issue of Community of Serbian Municipalities and I expect it to be discussed. I share your dissatisfaction. This is the biggest obstacle to creating greater stability in the region. I expect Serbia and Kosovo to make progress, because they have to. If they want to provide a better life, all this must be done. Belgrade and Pristina must create a solution themselves, it cannot come from Russia, the US or the EU. There are steps that indicate the improvement. For example, the license plate conflict was resolved through Brussels", Godfrey said.

There is a provision in the Washington Agreement on the 5G network, according to which parts should not be procured by "unreliable customers". Next year, a tender will be held in Serbia, so Godfrey was asked how the United States would react if the job went to a Chinese company.

"I talked to Minister Matic, it is important that Serbia understands America's views. There is a risk. Some foreign investors see Chinese companies as unreliable, they would not want to cooperate within a network where such companies are involved. That could be an obstacle to foreign investment. Serbia should be aware of that," Godfrey said.

Speaking about the legal advisor in the Balkans, he pointed out that "the United States has strong cooperation with Serbia regarding the rule of law".

Commenting on the elections, Godfrey stated that it is not the job of a foreign government to interfere in the political processes in the country.

"We expect all citizens of Serbia to participate in the elections and get the opportunity to express their views. I think that Serbia together with the representatives of the EP is on a good path to improve the conditions for the elections, but there is still work to be done. There is also OSCE report, because that organization will also assess the elections. A referendum is ahead of you and I see that people are considering whether it is good or bad, Vučić said that these norms are important for Serbia's path to the EU. I hope that people will take part in the elections and express their position", U.S. Ambassador explained.

"We noticed that the lack of transparency in the court is a big obstacle and I expressed hope that this will improve the situation, and that this will lead to an increase in investments." He also referred to the participation of members of the opposition in the upcoming elections in April next year.

"We believe that the boycott is not helping anyone. All voters have the right to be able to choose a candidate depending on their views. I expect that political diversity will improve," Godfrey said.

Speaking to USAID, he pointed out that he was proud of the work of that organization in Serbia. He stated that the original goal was to build the infrastructure, while now he wants to establish and improve the business rating.

The special envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar, spoke about possible sanctions against the Republika Srpska, that is, against Milorad Dodik. Godfrey believes that this situation is not in Serbia's favor. "He understands that instability can have terrible consequences for Serbia, i.e. on its economic development. Serbia is not helped by instability in Bosnia-Herzegovina. We are glad that Serbia has independence and territorial integrity. Sanctions are among the options," Godfrey said.

The United States hopes that Dodik will understand that Bosnia-Herzegovina is a complete state. Speaking about his successor in that position, Christopher Hill, he said that this diplomat has an extensive experience. However, he pointed out that America's attitude towards Serbia will not change.

"The policy towards Serbia towards the Western Balkans remains consistent, regardless of the ambassador," Godfrey pointed out, adding that he was glad that relations between Serbia and the United States had improved.

He pointed out that he would miss his friends from Serbia, adding that Serbia is an "amazing country".


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