From: Ilva Tare
Serbia signing with Russia in New York was not helpful, says US Senator

Russia’s aggression in Ukraine has been roundly condemned across the West and the EU and the US have sanctioned Putin’s regime following the attack. Serbia, an EU candidate country has pledged to align with Western policy. However, its actions at the recent UNGA meeting showed a Belgrade signing a foreign policy agreement with Moscow. How does the US Senate read this move?

Senator Jeanne Shaheen stated in an interview with Ilva Tare for #BalkansDebrief “I think that was not helpful as we look at the future of Serbia. Serbia’s future is not gonna lie with Russia. As we’ve seen with Russia’s war in Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s interest in the countries that he is looking to include in a future Russian Empire is not to encourage freedom and democracy in those countries. I don’t think that’s the future of that President Vucic and the people of Serbia want, and that’s the future they’re looking at with Vladimir Putin and Russia,” Shaheen added.

When asked about Bosnia’s future after the elections she observed and the decision of the Office of the High Representative, she says, “Unfortunately, it’s been four years since a government has been formed in Bosnia Herzegovina, so I think it was important for us to take some action to try and deblock or unblock the barriers to being able to form a government because it’s important to the people of the country.”

What are the chances that the EUFOR Althea mandate will be renewed in light of Russia’s veto at the UN, Senator Shaheen says, and what are the options? “One is for NATO to expand a presence there. I think Vladimir Putin is not gonna like that as an option very much. So I would think it’s in his interest to be willing to work with the international community and ensure that peace instability remain in the region”, she asserts.

Albania was another country she visited during a massive cyberattack reportedly launched by Iran in retaliation for hosting MEK members. “Albania is a very strong ally of the United States,” Senator Shaheen said, confirming that the United States will assist Albania in rebuilding its cyber infrastructure. “And we are in the process of putting together our budget appropriation, which is due in December,” she said in an interview for the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center’s #BalkansDebrief program.

Ilva Tare, is a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council in Washington. She is now hosting Balkans Debrief, a new talk show presented by the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center.

Balkans Debrief  features in-depth analysis and exclusive insights with policymakers and key players on subjects impacting more than 18 million people.