US Senator Ron Johnson will be visiting Belgrade on 10th and 11th September, the US embassy confirmed to Tanjug on Wednesday.
Johnson, a Wisconsin-based Republican and businessman, is a member of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and chairs the Subcommittee on Europe and Regional Security Cooperation, as well as the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.
Previously, Johnson visited Belgrade in February when he met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Also, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic met with him in late July in Washington.
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Ron Johnson is an American official who is assisting in the new phase of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, and one of the main reasons for this is his loyalty and closeness to US President Donald Trump.
He is considered one of the key Trump confidantes. The media have been speculating that Johnson is bringing a special message from the US president in which he says that he supports the agreement that Belgrade and Pristina might reach, and maybe even come to Serbia to finalize this agreement.
His arrival, however, confirms the American interest in Belgrade’s position and plans.
This is also indicated by the fact that this will not be Johnson’s first visit to the Serbian capital. Last time, Vucic asked Johnson to help stabilize the region by asking the Kosovo Albanians to be ready for compromise solutions.
After Belgrade, Johnson visited Pristina and spoke with Kosovo Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj, who said that US support was very important to the Pristina authorities.
Against the immunity for the Russian Centre
One of the meetings between Vucic and Johnson in Belgrade happened a little over a year ago, at the end of August 2017, when Johnson said that he hoped that President Vucic and Serbia would oppose all attempts to give diplomatic immunity to the Russian-Serbian humanitarian centre in Nis, while Vucic said that Serbia made decisions in accordance with its interests.
This was not was not Johnson’s first statement on the Russian influence in the Balkans. Earlier, the Republican senator acknowledged that Russia’s influence was widespread across Eastern Europe and added: “We cannot neglect the Balkans, we just cannot. I think that the EU must continue with their policy of admitting new members”, Johnson said.
Not afraid of Trump
What is interesting about Johnson and his relationship with Trump is that Johnson, although generally supportive of Trump in public, is not afraid to present his own opinions to the US president even if they are different to Trump’s unlike many close associates of the White House chief.
Thus, in one of his Twitter posts last month, he commented on Trump’s trade tariff measures towards China and the trade war between the two world economic giants and said:
“I support the US President Donald Trump’s call for reciprocal trade and his efforts to stop China’s theft of US intellectual property. But we must stop ourselves from permanently damaging the economy of America through tariffs and trade war,” Johnson wrote on this social network.
Photo credits: Anadolija
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