The US-Serbia agreement severely criticized by the West

As of January this year, Serbia and the US will have so-called liaison officers. In practice, this means that our diplomats (liaison officers) will go to Washington and work for a year at the State Department.

The fact that such officers would be at the source of the internal functioning of American diplomacy was met with condemnation in certain circles in the USA, while the signing of the relevant Memorandum of Understanding was interpreted as Washington doing favours to Belgrade at the sensitive time for Serbian state affairs in the light of the efforts to reach an agreement with Pristina.

The signing of this important document went almost unnoticed. It was “authenticated” at the beginning of January, i.e. signed by the Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic and the US Ambassador to Belgrade, Christopher Hill. Furthermore, two days ago, the Serbian government received a congratulatory message from the US State Department, on the occasion of Serbia’s Statehood Day, which said:

“I am pleased our two countries recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create liaison positions for Serbian diplomats within the U.S. Department of State.  This unique program will not only foster a better understanding of our respective foreign policy goals and objectives but will forge new channels of communication and build lasting partnerships.”

Earlier, Ambassador Hill expressed his satisfaction with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of a liaison officer, a position which is to be filled by a diplomat who would work in the State Department.

“We think that this is the right opportunity for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the State Department to grow closer and for our diplomats to get to know each other better. I believe that Serbia traditionally has good diplomats”, stated Ambassador Hill.

In his blog, Daniel Server, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, strongly criticized the signing of the memorandum with Serbia and pointed out that a similar document should have been signed with Kosovo too.

“Such liaison officers learn a great deal about the inner workings of US diplomacy. Even if assigned to roles far from the European Bureau, the signal Washington is sending is clear: we favor Serbia’s perspective in the dialogue. The only way to make this move palatable is to offer the same to Kosovo in two days’ time when it is Kosovo’s national day. The heavy lean of the Americans toward Belgrade is ugly diplomacy. It favors the less friendly party while making the more friendly party uncomfortable. Washington expects its favors to Belgrade returned in some indefinite future while demanding Pristina agree to Open Balkans and the Association right now. It won’t be hard for Belgrade to agree to “normalization” that includes validation of Serbia’s authority over the Kosovo Serb population.” 

(Blic, 16.02.2023)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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