On Serbia National Day, Secretary Blinken sent a strong message of support and empowerment to the Serbian people and the Western Balkans. Blinken’s sheer optimism for the future of US-Serbia relations jumps off the page. As someone who speaks to Secretary Blinken on a regular basis and is familiar with his thinking, Ned Price told The Pavlovic Today what’s behind Blinken’s optimism for US-Serbia relations.
“Secretary Blinken is, to his core, optimistic,” announced Ned Price. “I think you have to be optimistic if you’re going to be in the business of diplomacy,” he noted. “It’s what motivates I think many of us knowing that through US engagement, through American leadership on the world stage, we have an opportunity to change the world for the better, to leave the world a little bit more secure, a little bit more stable, more prosperous and filled with economic opportunity for people in this country, but also for people around the world,” shared Price. “I think you see that optimism reflected in the statement that he issued today.”
Secretary Blinken said that the US “values the strategic partnership we enjoy with Serbia.” Asked by The Pavlovic Today to talk in more detail about Blinken’s thinking related to the “strategic partnership” between two countries Price said that Secretary Blinken considers the US relationship with Serbia a “strategic partnership” due to its “multifaceted” nature.
“We have a long standing relationship with Serbia,” said Price. “We’ve been with Serbia over the course of decades, standing by its side as a partner in the face of various challenges, “stated Price, referring to a broad range of issues from security to policy to economy and the ties the American people and Serbs share.
“As you know, the Secretary has been personally invested in many of these issues in the region. The tensions between Kosovo and Serbia is something that does have his full attention.”
On February 1, Blinken spoke to Serbian President Vucic on the phone. According to Price, the US Secretary thanked the Serbian head of state “for the constructive engagement that we had seen from the President and his team in the context of the EU dialogue to find a way out of these tensions.”
Commenting for The Pavlovic Today on Secretary Blinken’s predictions that vast rewards await the Serbian people and the entire region once Serbian President Vucic and Kosovo’s PM Kurti make “difficult compromises,” Price spelled out what rewards Blinken had in mind.
Secretary Blinken, according to Price, has “consistently” along with Gabriel Escobar, Deputy Assistant Secretary who oversees the US policy toward Western Balkans, “underlined the opportunities that could come with a resolution to some of these very complex and thorny issues.”
There are “opportunities,” according to Price, for the people of Serbia and Kosovo “to leave the broader Western Balkan region, a bit more stable, a bit more secure, building in some cases, literally, roads and bridges” among the communities in the region.
“That is very much what we’re seeking to do in this case,” said Price. “It’s what we’re seeking to do, really, with our diplomacy across regions to foster more interconnectedness and through interconnecting, building understanding, building partnership, and building security and stability and prosperity.”