"Recognition" or "sanctions" that is the question
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic to meet US Special Envoy to the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer in Belgrade todaySource: Tanjug
According to Tanjug, it will be an opportunity to clarify the positions of both sides on issues focused in two words, to which the Pristina media reduced the messages of a US official in Pristina: "recognition" and "sanctions".
The first - recognition - he cited, as reported by the Albanian-language media, as a condition without which Serbia would never enter the European Union, though the statement quoted him as saying - "without solving the problem with Kosovo".
It is not expected from Pristina to do anything special, it is evident from Palmer's talks with politicians there, except that the US, he said, is "encouraging the new Kosovo government to strengthen its dialogue plan with Serbia" ... whatever that means.
In the meantime, Palmer referred to "sanctions," something that has not been heard for a long time, at least not publicly and explicitly: "The procurement of Russian weapons by Serbia poses a risk of imposing a sanction and we hope that our Serbian partners will be careful about any transactions of this kind", Palmer emphasized in an interview with Macedonian television Alsat M.
Speaking about Serbia's being conditioned in order to reach EU membership, President Vucic said that he followed all Palmer statements with great care and knew that he was a top professional, who does his job directly in accordance with State Department and US policies. Still, he said, he was surprised by the fact that in both Pristina and Skopje, Palmer spoke essentially only about Belgrade's obligations, and never mentioned Pristina's obligations.
"If everything is exactly as Matthew Palmer said in Kosovo, where I expected that they would seek to lower expectations of the Pristina authorities and indicate that a compromise was needed, then I wonder what to negotiate about? At what point in time should we recognize an independent Kosovo and have their tariffs abolished? It reminds me of some kind of a joke", the President said.
In any case, he says, we will be ready for talks and for reaching compromise solutions, but we will never approve of Serbia being humiliated.
He also said that the conversation with Palmer is important, because in a relatively short time, he and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic will also meet with US Presidential Special Envoy Richard Grenell.
To Palmer's warning or "slight" threat of sanctions, due to the Russian S-400, the president replies: "We did not get the S-400, and for all else they all know for a long time and I do not think it represents any problem."
"We will take care, of course, because I would not want anyone in Serbia to be exposed in any way to the sanctions imposed on us by the strongest world power. Regardless of the fact that they would be completely unjustified and unjust", Vucic said.
In any case, he expects an open and honest conversation with a US official at an important moment for Serbia.
On the eve of his arrival in Belgrade after visiting Skopje and Pristina, Palmer also said that Kosovo cannot be left out of a lasting solution in the Balkans, and that resolving "Kosovo-Serbia relations" remains a strategic priority for the United States.
The meeting between the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic and US Special Representative for the Western Balkans Matthew Palmer is scheduled for 10.00, at the seat of the President of Serbia.