Matthew Palmer, the United States’ special envoy for the Western Balkans, expressed concern over Russia’s intervention in the region and its attempts to make the region ‘divisive, against itself and with an element of chaos in it’.
In an interview with Radio Free Europe in Sofia, Palmer stressed that the US is concerned about Russia’s intentions and activities in the Western Balkans.
He highlighted Russia’s efforts to reduce support for the Prespa Agreement between Skopje and Athens, as an example of the malicious activity of the Russian state.
According to Palmer, Russia wants to have enough influence in the Balkans to play to its interests with the level of tension and clashes between states.
The diplomat said the US and EU vision is far from what Russia is trying to do in the region:
“A vision for a region at peace with itself, at peace with its neighbors, sustainable, prosperous and integrated into the European family of nations. This is not Russia’s vision.”
Speaking about Albania and North Macedonia, Palmer said he hopes the EU will open negotiations in March:
“We think both countries deserve credit,” adding, “We think it is an important signal that should be sent to the region. We think it is essential that Northern Macedonia and Albania have a clear European path and a European perspective.”