Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Friday told visiting U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state Matthew Palmer that his country was opposed to the establishment of the Kosovo army.
Vucic and Palmer dedicated a large part of Friday’s meeting to the issue of Serbia’s southern province Kosovo and Metohija. Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008. Serbia rejects it and considers Kosovo its own province.
Vucic and Palmer expressed totally different views on the issue, one day after Pristina’s parliament voted for the establishment of a national army, despite fierce opposition from the ethnic Serb minority.
“The formation of the army does not stand in any international document, from Resolution 1244, through the Brussels Agreement, to an agreement with NATO that clearly defines that the security forces in the province cannot be engaged without the consent of NATO and the Serbian community in Kosovo and Metohija,” Vucic said, in a statement of the president’s cabinet after the meeting.
“We ask American partners to understand the position of Serbia,” said Vucic, adding that he believes that the U.S. will understand that the formation of a Kosovo army could endanger peace and stability and lead to serious consequences.
Palmer, however, said that the United States supports the transformation of Kosovo security forces into the Kosovo army.
“It is a transition that will take a long time and we work very carefully with our partners in Pristina to support the transition,” Palmer said.
He also said the U.S. supported the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina with an aim to achieve full normalization of relations.
Vucic said Serbia was “pleased that people in the U.S. administration want to hear our views and discuss them”.
“It is clear that we do not have the same views on Kosovo, but Serbia wants a continuation of the dialogue, and we agree with the United States that it is necessary to reach a compromise,” Vucic added.