Vladimir Marinković, President of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress: We have a great opportunity to renew our friendship

Today’s relations between Serbia and the United States are at a high level and the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries is strongly being considered on both sides.


This year, the U.S. and Serbia mark 140 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. This anniversary is a great opportunity for our two countries, although preoccupied with overcoming great challenges, to improve bilateral relations at all levels and remind our friendly peoples of the common history and cooperation and the struggle for values ​​that we still share and relate to freedom, democracy and liberal market economy, as well as that there is a lot of room to make the most of the potentials.

Vladimir Marinković, President of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress

It is interesting to note that the establishment of diplomatic relations was initiated by the United States, which was back then looking for new markets and opportunities for cooperation in trade. After many years of negotiations, the document establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries was signed by the then Foreign Minister of the Principality of Serbia and the doyen of Serbian foreign affairs, Čedomilj Mijatović and a U.S. diplomat Eugene Schuyler. These relations, through alliances in both world wars, have formed friendly and fraternal ties between our peoples, linking common struggles and common values ​​through the work of great historical figures such as Mihajlo Pupin, Woodrow Wilson, John Frothingham, King Aleksandar and many others. It is very important also to note the famous Operation Halyard which was the largest rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Air Force, during which over 500 U.S. pilots were rescued by the Yugoslav Army during World War II and who subsequently spent several months in the village of Pranjani in western Serbia where they received a warm welcome from the villagers and their families who shared with them everything they owned.


Unfortunately, as in many other instances, Serbia has not commemorated these events and important people in the past, nor has it reminded Americans of all these events, forgetting the fact that no friendship can be taken for granted but has to be nurtured daily. As a result, we have allowed certain people, whom the Americans have not even heard of, to become their friends and allies who have gained immense American help and trust.

Vladimir Marinković, President of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress


Only a few years ago, quite a few initiatives were launched to remind ourselves of our common history, to talk about it, to show everywhere we could that we fought against fascism and Nazism with the Americans, that we were persecuted and killed as a nation, but also that we were respected and that Serbian the flag is the only foreign flag next to the French that fluttered on the White House mast and that President Wilson called on the people of the United States to pray for the small but brave and free-spirited Serbian people.

Unfortunately, we need to realize both our mistakes and our inactions, especially the inaction of the political elites until 2012 who did almost nothing to actively improve relations with America and revert to the old allied path.

Today’s relations between Serbia and the United States are at a high level and the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries is strongly being considered on both sides.

 Also, the armed conflicts during the 1990s are part of our common history, which ended with the NATO aggression directed towards our country and which left a lasting mark on the relations between our two countries, but which also teaches and reminds us to continuously work on making sure that such misunderstandings never happen again.


Today’s relations between Serbia and the United States are at a high level and the establishment of a strategic partnership between the two countries is strongly being considered on both sides which would additionally solidify our ties and the fight for common values to the benefit of both nations and the whole Western Balkan region. I believe that the prerequisites for forming a strategic partnership have been created, following good examples that we can already see in practice which are yielding excellent results, as is the case in our country’s relations with France, the People’s Republic of China and the United Arab Emirates which generated direct support, brought new investments and jobs, and created sincere, sustainable friendship that benefits our peoples when most needed.


The United States has shown strong interest in Serbia in the last few years and is practically committed to showing good will, great respect and a clear interest in Serbia’s progress and accomplishments all its strategic goals. America and American politicians especially appreciate our country’s results in economic reforms and the fight against the coronavirus, encouraging their companies to do business in Serbia while presenting it as one of the most favorable business destinations in Europe.


We can say that, in the past few years, primarily thanks to President Vučić, Serbia has been a serious and most importantly, a reliable foreign partner of America, which has proven that it can be a pillar of stability and a leader in the region.

Vladimir Marinković, President of the Serbian-American Friendship Congress


During the 1990s, we did not know how to use this opportunity but other countries did. However, what has been done in Serbia in terms of economy, investments, and diplomacy shows that Serbia can win this battle with full commitment, knowledge and proactivism which was introduced into the Serbian political agenda by President Vučić. That is why Serbia today has a lot of friends in the US Congress and Senate, administration, universities, and think-thank organizations who have the will and desire to understand Serbia and work with it.


Trump’s administration sent out a lot of good messages and showed respect which resulted in the signing of the Washington Agreement by President Vučić and President Trump, which is certainly the biggest Serbian diplomatic victory in the past thirty years. Finally, Serbia stands to receive a lot of economic benefits stemming from this agreement, which respects the fact that Serbia has legitimate interests in Kosovo and Metohija, excluding the pressure that has been exerted for many years as an integral part of the agenda of American politicians who wanted Serbia simply to acknowledge the situation on the ground and renounce its southern province.

Both countries and peoples have a great opportunity to renew their friendship and alliance and raise bilateral relations to the highest possible level.

 It is clear that Washington rather than Brussels is the right address to turn to for resolving such an important political issue as Kosovo and Metohija and it is even more significant that Vučić has managed to win all this for our country, which is no longer required to be a mere observer of events but part of the solution, compromise or as Rick Grenell would say, “creative” or “imaginative solutions” that would ensure long-term peace and a stable future for the entire region.


It is very important that Washington’s messages for Serbia are encouraging, given that this is a model that can increase the readiness of the citizens of our country for forging a strong alliance with America. This is validated by the fact that only two weeks after the signing of the Washington Agreement, the Serbian people’s trust and support for cooperation with the United States increased by as much as 2.5 times, from 11% to 26%, which is an indication that sincere and concrete mutual support gives great results in terms of Serbia and its citizens.


The current U.S. Ambassador to Serbia, H.E. Anthony Godfrey also plays a major role in improving relations between the two countries. Ambassador Godfrey has done a lot to ease the tension in relations and considering that he came to Serbia only a short time ago, has managed to change the perception of many people in Serbia who saw American ambassadors as people who came to Serbia only to deliver ultimatums and put pressure on our institutions.


Although the U.S. administration has changed and many state officials have not been favoring Serbia in the previous period, it is essential that Serbia continues with a proactive policy and takes advantage of the fact that President Vučić has definitely changed the image of Serbia in America. Likely, the U.S. administration’s approach won’t “run on autopilot” again or be based on a policy pursued until 2012. Up until 2012, American officials thought that the issue of Kosovo and Metohija had been resolved and did not even want to discuss it. Today, they acknowledge the fact that every solution has to include Serbia, even though they have not fundamentally changed their political agenda. Secretary of State Antony Blinken knows the situation in Serbia and the region well and, like President Biden, is aware that Serbia is ready for dialogue and compromise, but not for a unilateral solution that will undermine the dignity of our state and people. President Vučić has repeatedly demonstrated the readiness to achieve long-lasting peace but has also shown strong national leadership and a vision that came to the fore in full capacity in Washington last September.


Both countries and peoples have a great opportunity to renew their friendship and alliance and raise bilateral relations to the highest possible level. There is absolutely no doubt that President Vučić and Serbia will be able to seize this opportunity and together with American friends, start a new era of cooperation, understanding, economic and military collaboration, as well as to build a common transatlantic future that will provide our people with long-lasting peace and a safe future for our children. We owe that to each other.

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