The 25th anniversary of the NATO bombings, O’Brien: The USA is a strong supporter of Kosovo

The Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs James O’Brien spoke on the occasion of marking the 25th anniversary of the NATO bombings, which ended the regime of the butcher of the Balkans, Slobodan Milosevic.

He emphasized that these NATO actions were taken to end a terrible violence that was being exercised by Serbia against the innocent Albanian population in Kosovo.

The American diplomat has commented on the tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, after the September 24 aggression in Banjska, saying that the situation on the ground should be de-escalated and that Vucic knows that any eventual military action against Kosovo would be unacceptable.

“In Serbia, President Vucic knows well that any use of force against Kosovo would be unacceptable and would be regarded as putting in danger the NATO troops, which are there in order to protect the population, whether they are ethnic Serbs or Albanians. He has said that there will be no use of force. So, these exercises (of Serbia), yes, we are tracking them, but the key point here is that both sides need to reduce the tensions around the region, and that involves actions that are directly related to the exercises. So, on the Serb side we have made clear that the individuals who were involved in the acts of September of last year need to be held accountable for their actions, and we expect that that will happen and happen soon. We want to see those tensions remain low and so some of these activities are ones we would prefer not happen”, said O’Brien.

O’Brien said that the US is a strong supporter of Kosovo’s engagement and membership in international organizations and this means meeting the highest standards required by those international organizations.

He added that in this context, they hope to see in the coming days that the Government of Kosovo undertakes actions, which are required and for which it has agreed with the international community.

“On the Central Bank decree having to do with the dinar, Miroslav Lajcak, the EU special representative, has come up with a number of very specific ideas. The fundamental point here is that no government should seek to impoverish its citizens, and we see in the north of Kosovo that it is very difficult for a number of individuals to buy the things they need for their daily lives. Gabriel Escobar just traveled there, in large part to see for himself, but to see for us in the US government the situation, and what he came back with was a sense that this decree is being implemented in a way that makes it difficult for Kosovo’s own citizens to go about their daily lives. That is not an effective government in operation. So, Kosovo’s friends are saying that we would like to see this decree now revised, implemented in a way that allows people to pay for the goods they need in their daily life”, he said.

O’Brien also spoke about the establishment of the association of municipalities with a Serbian majority, which he said should be implemented by Kosovo, as he welcomed the decision on the Deçani Monastery, despite the fact that, as he said, these decisions are serious towards membership in international organizations.