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Serbian Leader Tells VOA His U.S. Visit Increases ‘Mutual Understanding’

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic (left) on the set of Open Studio with Serbian Service host Bratislav Djordjevic.

Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic concluded his first official visit to the United States as Serbia’s leader with an interview at VOA headquarters in Washington.

Appearing Thursday on VOA Serbian’s Open Studio TV program, Prime Minister Vucic said the United States supports Belgrade’s efforts to join the European Union: “U.S. officials I met want to encourage the European Union to open association talks with Serbia. Our better mutual understanding with the U.S., you’ll see, will help us to get into the EU faster. Washington is a destination of extraordinary importance for us.”

In what appears to be a major policy shift toward the West, the prime minister also said that his country was ready to accept U.S. calls to reduce dependency on Russian gas by adding alternative energy sources and pipelines that would bring gas to Serbia through Hungary and Croatia.

He also emphasized to VOA his government’s eagerness to find those responsible for murdering three American-Albanian brothers who fought alongside the Kosovo Liberation Army during the late 1990s war against Slobodan Milosevic’s troops. After acknowledging that the issue had come up in his talks with U.S. officials, he said: “It is in our best interest to resolve this case – not just because of politics and American demands, but because that is in the best interest of law and justice.”

A resolution was recently introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives calling for those responsible for the “execution-style murders” of the three Americans to be brought to justice and for the murders to “remain a significant factor” in Washington’s relations with Belgrade.