Joe Biden in Neighbouring Serbia: New Chapter in Partnership

Written by on August 17, 2016 in Europe, Politics - No comments

In Belgrade, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden told the press, he was proud the U.S. and Serbia had started a new chapter. With Serbian Premier Aleksandar Vukovic, he had discussed ways to deepen the partnership between the two countries.

While Biden and Vukovic did sign a new extradition treaty, many aspects, including the most important ones, remain unsolved. Problem no. 1: Kosovo. Belgrade refuses to recognize the independence of the province. The Kosovo war, which started in February of 1998, could only be ended with a NATO intervention, in the course of which even Belgrade was bombarded. The West was not going to accept yet another “ethnic cleansing” campaign by Serbia, which had attacked Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia in the early 1990-s, in a campaign fought by both the Yugoslav Army and paramilitary gangs, who committed the worst crimes against humanity in Europe, since Nazi Germany murdered millions during the Second World War.

The question of a recognition of Kosovo’s independence on the part of Belgrade is not just a big issue between the U.S. and Serbia. A membership in the European Union, which Serbia is striving for, will just not be possible without that recognition.

Biden also reiterated, the U.S. wanted the perpetrators who demolished the American embassy building in 2008. At that time, protesters attacked embassies of states, which had recognized Kosovo. Biden will travel to Pristina today, in order to meet government officials there, while Serbia is not happy about that visit.

Vukovic said, he had discussed “significant topics” with Biden, including the ties between the Serbian and Albanian people. He also said, mistakes had been made on both sides. For the government of Serbia, it had never been a problem to take responsibility for mistakes committed “by our compatriots”. Statements of this kind, which do not really reflect what was done or said since 1990, usually do not go down well among the families of the Srebrenica men and boys, who were slaughtered by Milosevic’s thugs in July of 1995, or by tens of thousands in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo, who lost loved ones in Serbia’s many wars of conquest.

Still, Vukovic is trying to improve relations to both the West and Russia. It is a thin red line.

By Imanuel Marcus

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