US ambassador to Serbia: Washington wants Serbia, Kosovo in normal relationship

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US Ambassador Christopher Hill told N1 on Tuesday that Washington wants to see Serbia and Kosovo achieve "a normal relationship."

“I think what we’re looking for is if Serbia and Kosovo can achieve a kind of normal relationship. That is no tension, normal trade relations, you know, there are a lot of economic issues that really need to be addressed and, while everyone focuses on the security and the political questions, they also ought to focus on the economic issues,” he said in the interview.

“Everyone would like to see an eventual status where everyone calms down and everyone recognizes everyone but I think what we’re focused right now on is to achieve some kind of normal situation where people can get on with their lives,” he said and added that the people who feel threatened need to feel comfortable and that the rules are there to work for them not just against them. “So they need to be reassured and I think that’s part of the task here,” the ambassador said.

Hill said that the US perspective on UN Security Council resolution 1244 is that it was overtaken by events. “How they eventually deal with that Resolution, how they eventually deal with the status questions I think will be very much up to the dialogue process … I think everyone’s familiar with what the problems are and I hope everyone’s familiar with what needs to be done to solve this, because the elements are on the table,” he added.

Asked about the fact that Serbia has not imposed sanctions on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, the ambassador said he understands that the country has a long and difficult history with sanctions, but that Serbia’s next generation has spoken. “I think Serbia wants to be a part of the West and I hope that’s something that can be moved along more quickly. I share the frustration that many people have that this process hasn’t gone as fast as it should … but I think ultimately the direction and the destination are the same and I hope the Serbian people will kind of redouble their efforts,” he said adding that Serbia should rightfully be part of the European Union.

“My government and myself, we think Serbia should act like an EU member and should join the burden that many other EU members, also small and also not able to actually control what Russia does, but they do it because they believe that it is their responsibility. I would like to see Serbia do that, but I understand that’s not the issue right now for many Serbs, they would like to see that the EU is really serious about their admission. So, I understand that frustration but I think Serbia needs to understand where it wants to be in a few years and it needs to understand who its friends are and who its friends are not and frankly I don’t see a lot off evidence for the idea that Russia is any kind of friend. It has Serbia to do things for their own, that is, for Russia’s interest and I’m not sure that’s really frankly speaking in Serbia’s interest,” the ambassador said.

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