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Serbia’s EU progress vital for united, peaceful Western Balkans: Biden

BELGRADE:   (Xinhua) — Serbia is a key country to regional peace and stability and the United States are ready to help on its EU path, visiting U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday.

Biden arrived in Belgrade Tuesday and held separate meetings with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and President Tomislav Nikolic, with whom he discussed bilateral relations, issues of regional peace and stability as well as the country’s progress in European integrations.

Commending Serbia for recent moves in warming up relations with neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia, Biden said the country is the political and economic “cornerstone” of the region and it has high importance for the peace and stability of Western Balkans.

“I congratulate to you and wish that Serbia opens new chapters in EU negotiations,” he said at a press conference after meeting with Vucic.

The United States have decided to help support reforms that the Serbian government initiated as well as to assist Serbia on its EU path, said Biden.

Biden suggested Serbia has to become a “democratic part of the EU”, which is in the interests of both Serbia and the EU, and because it is of key importance that the region remains united and peaceful.

He offered his condolences to all families who lost their members in the 1999 NATO campaign against Serbia, calling it a “tough and painful moment” in the history of the two countries.

Suggesting that recently a new chapter has opened in relations between the United States and Serbia and that these relations will become much deeper in the future, he said direct investments in Serbia will increase along with development of ties between the two countries.

Biden said he is sure of future progress of the “Brussels dialogue” between Serbia and Kosovo and Metohija (the Serbian south province unilaterally proclaimed independence in 2008) despite the fact that the process will take “a lot of work and political will”.

Vucic expressed good will and revealed plans to meet Albanian PM and representatives from the southern province next month to discuss future moves.

Revealing that the biggest topic on the table today was regional stability, Vucic said that he expects help from the United States in maintaining peace and stability in the region, while Serbia is also ready to contribute to this goal as much as possible.

He stressed that key aspects for achieving stability in the region is to secure better life for the people, and Serbia will work on further developing rule of law so that it can attract even more U.S. investors.

Vucic thanked Biden for his support to the country’s EU path and said he hopes Serbia will manage to fulfill all its responsibilities in that regard.

After visiting Belgrade, Biden flew to Pristina, capital of the Kosovo and Metohija province, where he will on Wednesday meet leaders of the region.

(Source: Xinhua | 2016-08-17 04:08:13 | Editor: huaxia )

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