Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Vucic meets with US official after his statements cause stir

The meeting at the Palace of Serbia on Tuesday (Tanjug)
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic received on Tuesday at the Palace of Serbia in New Belgrade US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Hoyt Brian Yee.


Earlier today, Yee met with Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, and Deputy Prime Minister Zoran Mihajlovic.

After the meeting with Vucic, that lasted an hour and a half, the president's cabinet told Tanjug that the conversation was "absolutely open and honest."

"A press release will show what Yee said at the meeting, and we will find out what President Vucic said if the US side is willing to communicate that," a source in the office said after the meeting, also attended by US Ambassador to Belgrade Kyle Scott.

The US State Department official on Monday participated at the 17th Serbian Economic Summit in Belgrade, and caused a series of reactions with his statements, including that Serbia "cannot sit on two chairs if it wants to join the EU."

Yee on Monday also said the Russian-Serbian Humanitarian Center in Nis should not be granted diplomatic status.

Serbian Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin reacted to all this strongly earlier on Tuesday, saying that this was "by far the most difficult public and very undiplomatic pressure exerted on our country and on our right to decide independently."

Vulin also remarked that he did not know what the position of the state leadership would be, but that he personally believes the comments in question did not come from either a friend, or a man who respects Serbia, "and our policy and the right to decide."

After this, media reported that Tanja Miscevic, who heads Serbia's team in accession negotiations with the EU, said Yee's statements were "interpreted differently" and also, "taken out of context."

Miscevic added that Serbia was "not sitting on two chairs" but instead has "a clear strategic determination and that is, the EU."

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