U.S. Special Envoy for the Balkans Gabriel Escobar: We have an Answer to Russia’s Influence

United States (U.S.) Deputy Secretary of State and U.S.President’s Special Envoy for the Western Balkans, Gabriel Escobar said the new U.S. administration would be very active in the region, saying the U.S. had a response to Russia’s influence.

Speaking about the engagement of the new U.S. administration in the region, Escobar stated in an online address to participants in the 2BS forum in Budva that Washington believes that a long-term solution to many problems in the Balkans is membership in European Union (EU) for all countries in the region.

“That has not changed in any administration since the 1990s and the break-up of Yugoslavia,” Escobar told.

He reminded that all administrations since then “pushed the governments from the region to advance in the EU candidacy, to carry out reforms to fight corruption, implement the rule of law,and create democratic opportunities for different voices in society, and improve the economy so that it is not only for people affiliated with political parties and government”.

Also, he noted that this U.S. administration will not have a different approach to the Balkans, saying that “you will see us very active”, and that it will be a partner with those governments that want to keep independent, sovereign, inclusive, and democratic governments, as Voice of America reported.

“For us, the cornerstone of our policy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is support for Dayton, support for BiH’s territorial integrity, and support for all reforms needed for BiH’s accession to the EU. When it comes to Serbia and Kosovo, our approach is – we continue to support EU-led dialogue. As we progress, we hope to be able to work with both governments on all the solutions they find together. As for Montenegro, you have a new government, and that new government has our support, as long as it remains democratic and focused on its European future,” Escobar pointed out.

According to him, Europe should accelerate the dynamics of the integration process of the Western Balkans, while dynamic economic integration is taking place in the Balkans.

“We want to be a partner in that, and look for opportunities to use the Balkans to explain to the rest of the world that the Balkans as we see is a region with huge opportunities,” Escobar said, adding that the new administration would “work hard on commercial and economic initiatives.”


Source: Klix.ba

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