In an interview with Radio Free Europe Balkans section, the U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Matthew Palmer said that it was time for the Western Balkans leaders to understand their role and lead their respective countries towards EU and NATO.
“The goal of the United States, European Union and countries in the region is the same – progress. For the Russian influence, on the other hand, it is more convenient to have corruption and unsustainable situation in these countries,” he said. “We need to face together this bad influence. Corrupt institutions are the best gateway for negative influence.”
Speaking from Sarajevo where he met regional leaders taking part in an European Bank for Reconstruction and Development forum, Palmer said that the position of the U.S. and the EU on the Western Balkans remains unchanged: “We want to help the region move forward towards western integration.”
Palmer underlined that the Prespa Agreement between North Macedonia and Greece shows how important leadership is. “I hope leaders of Belgrade and Pristina will draw lessons from this example and set on the road of compromise and of finding a good solution,” he said.