After a brief lull in the capital of Serbia again frequent Western diplomats. Us Senator John McCain not only congratulated the Serbian Prime Minister’s success in the presidential election, but also personally came to Serbia to tell what Serbia is a “reconciling force” in the region. Well, such beautiful words, as a rule, is not limited, and they should always be big “but”.
“But,” McCain touched on his concerns, as he put it, “Russia’s behavior in the region.” As an example, he mentioned the once brotherly Montenegro.
No sooner had the McCain land in Washington (or wherever he was headed), and in Serbia have already arrived, the German foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel. During a visit by a high German functionary, patting the trappings of Serbia, which is galloping to full membership in the EU, said a phrase — frankly speaking, the didactic tone — that “Germany supports the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo and for the EU it is important that both process (accession negotiations and normalization of relations with Kosovo) occur in parallel.”
Both Western visitor was heard from Serbia that we will maintain military neutrality will continue to move to the EU and is ready to hold talks with Brussels. However, diplomatic language is understood by only a select few, and what was said between the lines and eye to eye, we can only guess.
What are the messages of Western guests could bring to Belgrade?
Dusan Prorokovic from the Center for strategic alternatives, said that the arrival of McCain and Gabriel in Belgrade should be considered in the context of a series of visits of the representatives of Western institutions in Serbia. These visits representatives of Western state and non-state actors applied for a longer period and much more frequently than in the case of Zagreb, Sofia, Skopje, Tirana and Podgorica.
“After all, Serbia is the only island in a sea of NATO and the European Union in this part of Europe. Serbia’s foreign policy different from the policy of Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria or Albania, and it is clear for relations with Russia, as well as certain of our actions related to Syria. Serbia is the only European country that has sent humanitarian aid to Syria in 2016, thus, submitting a political signal to Bashar al-Assad. In addition, Serbia is a strategic partner of China. So all these visits are intended to continue to exert pressure on Serbia and to subordinate our foreign policy to the interests of NATO and the EU”, — believes Prorokovic.
He is confident that Russia, besides Kosovo, is the major topic of talks during all these visits of Western officials in Belgrade for the past year until today, and believes that these two topics are closely linked.
“Serbia without Kosovo and Metohija occupies an important position, however, considering the population, our military strength, and economic indicators, is not so significant actor in international relations, to be given so much attention. So what’s the reason? The fact that Serbia has the political power and the ability to unite with Montenegro, a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, and in certain conditions, and with the support of Russia might also strengthening cooperation with Bulgaria. All of this can disrupt long-term plans of the Atlantic centers of power in this part of Europe,” says Prorokovic.
Serbia, in the words of Prorokovic, is in the region of great interest to Western centers of power due to the fact that it is not part of the European Union or NATO.
“Despite all the things that we have done for 20 years, Serbia has not broken, and the Serbian question was not solved as I wanted NATO. In similar circumstances in the broader international context, given Russia’s position as one of the important poles of a multipolar world, it takes on a new meaning. Hence, a certain pressure exerted on us. That is, on the one hand, we are forced to abandon Kosovo, which legitimized the NATO intervention and would put the pressure in very different context. Then Serbia would have nothing to claim or to start something in Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina or Macedonia. But on the other hand, Serbia is trying to isolate Russia, which also wants to disrupt the plans of NATO in this part of Europe,” — concludes Prorokovic.
Opinion foreign policy analyst Dragan Djukanovic about the visit of McCain’s American and German Gabriel in Belgrade and their messages of Serbia different from the position of dušan Prorokovic. According to Djukanovic, both of the visit was the result of our continuous multidimensional foreign policy.
“She’s not focused on one centre, and dispersed in the area from Washington to Brussels, up to Moscow. In light of this need to interpret the messages that they brought with them. I assume that from Serbia they expect that the movement will continue on its European path and do not want any changes in relation to membership in NATO. Here are some basic coordinates”.
In fear of McCain’s ties to Russian influence Djukanovic did not see anything new.
“The consistency of American policy in the Balkans is obvious, and after the arrival of the administration of the trump. Her priority remains the introduction of individual countries in NATO. Now the focus is Montenegro, and it is they associate a certain strengthen its own position. On the other hand, Serbia maintains military neutrality, and it is not under any pressure to her decision has changed.”