THE PAVLOVIC TODAY: Tomorrow in Brussels, the EU-led dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo will take place. Can you tell me what the US expectation specifically is in terms of the outcome for tomorrow’s meeting? On a scale from zero to ten, where would you situate the priority Kosovo-Serbia crisis is for the United States? 

Ned Price: We’re pleased that Serbia and Kosovo leaders will meet in Brussels under the EU-facilitated dialogue tomorrow.

NED PRICE: Well, broadly, we are pleased that Serbia and Kosovo leaders will meet in Brussels under the EU-facilitated dialogue tomorrow. We fully support this dialogue. It’s important we believe that both parties use this opportunity to advance their discussions on normalization. It is a priority of ours. We would like to see progress made and the implementation of past dialogue agreements.

Dialogue and compromise are critical components of governance; they are not signs of weakness. They are both essential to reach a locally owned agreement on normalization of relations, which remains fundamental to both countries’ EU aspirations. And we’re hopeful that leaders in Serbia and Kosovo understand the importance of moving forward, not backward, through the EU-facilitated dialogue.

A senior official here from the department will travel to Brussels to support the leaders meeting in this EU-facilitated dialogue. We are not a direct participant in these talks, but the success of these talks, to your second question – and I’m always loath to give rankings or gradings, numerical or otherwise – but it is an absolute priority of ours.

THE PAVLOVIC TODAY: And the follow-up questions, because it’s relevant and I’d say newsworthy. Today at the NATO joint press conference between President Vucic and Secretary General, President Vucic said that he does not welcome the Russian military base in Serbia or anywhere in the Western Balkans. Do you welcome that response? Do you think it’s a step toward building a stronger relationship between Serbia and the United States?

NED PRICE: We certainly think it’s a step in the direction of Serbia’s sovereignty, its territorial integrity. These are sovereign decisions on the part of the Serbian Government, but took note of the president’s [Vucic] remarks, and it is his sovereign decision. But we’ve made the point around the world, including in that region, that it can’t be business as usual with Russia and that countries need to continue to speak clearly and to act in support of our Ukrainian partners.

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Ksenija Pavlovic McAteer

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department...

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