Remarks With Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Prime Minister's Residence
Belgrade, Serbia
December 2, 2015

PRIME MINISTER VUCIC: (Via interpreter) Well, first of all, welcome and thank you for coming to Serbia. Thank you for coming to Belgrade. You’re very welcome in our country. And we are also really honored because such an important meeting is taking place here in Serbia. And also we are very honored and grateful that you, as the State Secretary, came to visit us. We are also grateful to the United States for supporting Serbia on its European path, and also your really – and for the close support regarding – we really would like to develop our cooperation regarding political-economic relations. And we are looking not only to preserve stability not only in our country, but also in the region, because we believe this is really something that is really the most important for the development of all countries in the region. And I am really sure that – I really believe in your support, not also when it comes to our European path, but generally. And we will try also to keep such relations in the future. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Keep what? I didn’t hear.

INTERPRETER: Keep in the same path as – same relations in the future.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you. Thank you.

PRIME MINISTER VUCIC: Thank you. And feel at home, please. (Laughter.)

SECRETARY KERRY: I do. I feel good. Mr. Prime Minister, thank you very, very much. I am very happy to be here in Belgrade, and very much looking forward to a conversation with you regarding the bilateral relationship – the importance of what we are doing together. Mr. Prime Minister, I want to congratulate you because you are leading Serbia on a very important path to define a new Serbia, and to move as rapidly as possible towards the EU integration, which we completely support and believe will be good for the economy of your country, good for your people, create more opportunity and help to provide stability and prosperity.

Prime Minister Vucic and I had an opportunity to speak not so long ago in the United States, where we talked about my coming here, but more importantly, we talked about the choices that Serbia is making to improve the economy, to open up for greater foreign direct investment in Serbia, and really to try to move into this new global economy with all of the abilities of the people of Serbia who are talented, educated, and ready to work.

So we will talk this evening about some of the ways in which the United States can be helpful, can partner in this journey. And one of the things that I would like to stress is our respect for the initiative the prime minister has taken to enter into the dialogue with Kosovo, and to work with the Government of Kosovo in this dialogue to put the past in the past and to help define a future that works for everybody more effectively.

And finally, let me just say that we also share an interest with all countries in the region to respond together to the challenge of violent extremism, which is having a profound impact on all of Europe, all of the Middle East, South Asia, and we have an obligation to work together and find ways to cooperate together in order to win this struggle for civility, for stability, and for a peaceful, democratic future for the region. And I look forward to my conversation with the prime minister, and again, I thank him for a generous welcome. I’m very happy to be here. Thank you. Thank you.

Yes. Thank you very much, everybody. Thank you. Thank you.