BELGRADE, Serbia-Serbian nationalists on Friday expressed their opposition to the upcoming visit by U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, accusing him of being anti-Serb.
Biden arrives in Serbia next week as part of a Balkan tour that also includes visits to Bosnia and Kosovo. He is expected to meet with local political leaders and U.S. military and other personnel stationed in the region.
The tour is widely seen in Serbia as an important sign of continued U.S. support for the stabilization of the Balkans, which was embroiled in a series of ethnic conflicts during the 1990s.
But many in Serbia still view the U.S. as anti-Serb because of Washington's support for Kosovo's statehood. The former Serbian province declared independence last year.
The U.S. also led a NATO bombing campaign in 1999 that ended Belgrade's crackdown against the separatists in Kosovo, and Serbia's rule in the region.
Several nationalist parties handed a list of alleged Biden statements to the Foreign Ministry and accused him of supporting the 1999 NATO bombing.
"We believe that the statements and policies of Joseph Biden are contrary to the interests of Serbia and the Serbian people," said Jovan Palalic, of the Serbian Democratic Party.
Another politician, Aleksandar Vulin, added that Biden "is not welcome in Serbia."
The U.S. Embassy did not immediately comment on the nationalists' statements about Biden.
Serbian Interior Minister Ivica Dacic said Thursday authorities were boosting security measures to the highest level for Biden's visit.
Joe Biden Caught Virulent Serbophobia from the Ustasha Clergy Back in the Early 1980s
Friday, September 12, 2008
(ANSA) - BELGRADO, 15 MAG - Il Partito democratico serbo (Dss) dell'ex presidente ed ex premier Vojislav Kostunica, insieme all'alleato di coalizione di Nuova Serbia (Ns), ha diffuso un documento di critica e condanna della visita che il vicepresidente americano Joe Biden effettuera' a Belgrado la prossima settimana. Come riferisce l'agenzia Tanjug, nel documento - intitolato 'Mai nella Nato' - si stigmatizza la politica di Biden, che sarebbe contraria agli interessi della Serbia. ''Noi siamo convinti che le dichiarazioni e la politica seguita da Biden siano contrarie agli interessi della Serbia e dei suoi cittadini'', ha detto Jovan Palalic, deputato del Dss. A suo avviso, proprio la politica seguita da Biden porto' ai bombardamenti della Nato sulla Serbia e all'appoggio per la secessione e l'indipendenza del Kosovo. Secondo Palalic, Biden durante la sua visita potrebbe cercare di fare nuove pressioni sulla Serbia. Nei colloqui a Belgrado, ha affermato il deputato, il vicepresidente americano ''esercitera' molto probabilmente nuove pressioni sulla Serbia affinche' stabilisca relazioni di buon vicinato con il falso stato del Kosovo, indebolisca le istituzioni della Republika Srpska e rinunci alla neutralita' militare per cominciare il processo di adesione alla Nato''. Biden comincera' il 18 maggio un giro nei Balcani occidentali, visitando Serbia, Bosnia-Erzegovina e Kosovo. Secondo la tv B92, il vicepresidente dovrebbe fare tappa a Belgrado il 20 maggio. (ANSA). QN
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Sofia Echo - May 2, 2009
Biden bypasses Bulgaria but will visit Serbia
by Gabriel Hershman
US vice president Joe Biden will be visiting the Western Balkans in May but...Bulgaria would appear not to be on his planned itinerary.
The news came from the press service of the office of the Vice President of the United States.
According to the official message, Biden's Balkans tour will not reach Bulgaria because it will concentrate on the Western Balkans. Biden will be visiting Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo. Biden's tour of the Balkans is due to start on May 18. He will be meeting with political leaders as well as with American troops stationed there.
His trip to Serbia could potentially be tense because Biden was one of the strongest supporters of the allied bombing of Belgrade in the 1990s.
According to reports, Biden did not hesistate to call former Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic "a thug" to his face.
A Serbian political analyst, Obrad Kesic, was on record last year as saying that it would not be good for Serbia if Joseph Biden were elected US vice-president.
"He was not only one of those who the tabled resolution to bomb Yugoslavia in 1999, but he is also firm in his belief that changes in Serbia came as a result of pressure from Washington," Kesic told Belgrade daily Blic.
Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and is recognised by at least 58 countries including the United States and most EU member states.
Serbia, along with Russia, had protested against the Bush administration's recognition of Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence last year.
According to statements from the press service, Kosovo's capital, Pristina, is likely to be Biden's first stop on his Balkans visit. There, one can assume, Biden will be assured of a warm welcome.
Beta News Agency - May 14, 2009
Sejdiu: Biden visit historic
PRISTINA - Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu says that the upcoming visit of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden to Kosovo will be a historic event.
“The visit will be special, and of historic significance,” Sejdiu said, adding that the arrival of American officials was a sign of support for Kosovo, democracy and the successful development of all the countries in the region.
Sejdiu said that Biden’s visit would be an opportunity to underline common and bilateral commitment to further, strong cooperation “between the two countries.”
Kosovo media have identified Biden as one of the most prominent supporters of Kosovo independence over the last two decades.
In a report previewing Biden’s visit to Kosovo, Radio Television Kosovo stated that the vice-president’s visit was expected not only to confirm continued U.S. support for Kosovo independence, “but the sanctity of territorial integrity” as well. [No doubt said with a straight face.]
Kosovo will be Biden’s first stop on his tour of the Balkans, before he moves on to Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia.
Makfax - May 14, 2009
US may appoint new Balkan envoy
Brussels/Belgrade - Washington is displeased with the development of events in the Balkans, particularly with the EU's policy on Balkans' integration into the bloc, and it is likely to appoint a new envoy for the region.
U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Stuart Jones conveyed Washington's position at a meeting with journalists accredited to Brussels, the Makfax news agency said.
It's not a secret that the US is deeply concerned by frequent messages by some EU members challenging the Balkans' accession into the EU and NATO, Jones said.
He stressed that Washington wants to double efforts with the EU to speed up the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Balkans.
"The EU and NATO membership perspective is an important encouragement for reforms and stabilization of the region. Any halt of the process could jeopardize the reform process and the stability of the entire region," the US diplomat said.
He added that Vice President Jospeh Biden, who is due to visit Sarajevo, Belgrade and Pristina next week, will send a message that the new administration in Washington is very much interested in Balkan events.
Although the decision on appointing a new US envoy on the Balkans is still under consideration, his task would be to speed up the Euro-Atlantic integration of the region.
Deutsche Presse-Agentur - May 17, 2009
US refocusing on Balkans with Biden visit
-[The] US led airstrikes against Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia, as well as anchoring [military] missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.
In Kosovo, Biden on Thursday is expected to affirm US support for Kosovo and discourage ***separatist ambitions of the Serb minority*** dominating the northernmost section of the new country.
WASHINGTON AND BELGRADE - US Vice President Joe Biden will embark this week on a tour of the Balkans to “refocus” on the region and “reset” uneasy relations with Serbia, the largest and central former Yugoslav republic.
Starting on Tuesday and ending on Thursday, Biden will visit Bosnia, Serbia and Kosovo. Although the West remains frustrated by the stalled progress of Bosnia and concerned about the potential for violence in Kosovo, Biden’s task will be to offer a new start to Belgrade.
“This is a tremendous opportunity to make it very clear to the government of Serbia ... that we hope to be able to press the reset button with Serbia,” a senior US official said, acknowledging “realistic expectations” that some differences “we’re not going to resolve, particularly over Kosovo.”
The task will not be easy, with relations burdened by the US role in the bombing a decade ago of Serbia — over former Serbian president Slobodan Milosevic’s actions in Kosovo — and Washington’s backing of Kosovo’s secession last year from Serbia.
“Biden would probably try to perform a small miracle and demonstrate that America is fully open toward Serbia, ready not only for correct but good relations,” Washington-based Serbian analyst Obrad Kesic told the Voice of America radio.
“That will, however, be difficult within the context of conditioning, particularly that linked to the independence of Kosovo,” Kesix said.
The US official said that Biden, who ix expected in Belgrade on Wednesday, would not press Serbia to recognize Kosovo’s independence, asking only that Serbia refrain from undermining Kosovo’s independence.
“We’re very realistic about this. We’re going to have to agree to disagree,” the official said. “We have an opportunity to reset and restart the relationship between the United States and Serbia.”
Biden’s visit signals a refocusing under new US President Barack Obama on the Balkan region, which was in the international spotlight during the wars of the 1990s, but largely off the top-priority agenda during the post-Sept. 11, 2001, US preoccupation with the Middle East.
Along with diplomatic leadership in the Balkans in the previous decade, the US led airstrikes against Serbs in Bosnia and Serbia, as well as anchoring peacekeeping missions in Bosnia and Kosovo.
In Kosovo, Biden on Thursday is expected to affirm US support for Kosovo and discourage separatist ambitions of the Serb minority dominating the northernmost section of the new country.