Outgoing US ambassador to Serbia Kyle Scott said on Monday that Belgrade and Washington had a different opinion about Kosovo but that they agreed that the only way towards progress was the resumption of the dialogue on the normalisation of relations, the Beta news agency reported.
In an interview with the Belgrade based daily Blic, Scott reiterated the US stand that Serbia should stop its campaign for the withdrawal of Kosovo’s independence and added he could not understand how the humiliation of the partners in the dialogue could help in searching for an agreement.
“The campaign for annulling the decision on recognition is equally unhelpful in an attempt by the two sides to get back to the negotiating table as are the taxes (100 percent import duties Pristina introduced on goods from Serbia and Bosnia last November),” the ambassador said.
He added that “the US has recently nominated its special envoy to the Western Balkans (Matthew Palmer) and he is committed to helping both sides to progress. But we cannot wish that more than you in the region.”
Commenting on Serbia’s main opposition parties’ decision to boycott the next spring general elections, Scott said he saw some sense in their complaints, especially about the situation with media.
However, he added he hoped that progress would be made through the dialogue and that the conditions for the opposition’s participation in the vote would be made. “It is in Serbia’s favour to have a strong and visible opposition and a parliament which will reflect the public opinion.”
Scott said Serbia should decide on its future based on real information and not on the tabloids’ articles, adding people in Serbia should understand the US was advocating strong Serbia within the European Union.
He said the US did not have a problem with Serbia’s relations with Russia but stressed that “the Russian idea about Serbia is not the same as the one the US and the EU have.”