Statement by Vice President Joe Biden on Talks Between the Leaders of Kosova and Serbia

I have been a longtime and vocal supporter of peace and reconciliation in southeastern Europe, and the decision by Kosova Prime Minister Avdullah Hoti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to restart dialogue on the normalization of relations between their countries is a vital step forward in this critical region. A comprehensive settlement that will lead to mutual recognition, preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both states, and strengthen their democratic institutions is essential for Kosova and Serbia to move forward. It would enhance both countries’ security and prosperity, advance their aspirations for membership in the European Union and other multilateral institutions, and support the enduring aim of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.

Reaching this goal requires transatlantic cooperation. History teaches us that when the United States and Europe lead together, we can succeed in ending conflicts and ushering in new opportunities for peace and prosperity – in southeastern Europe and beyond. This partnership is as necessary today as it has ever been, and it requires all parties to work together toward our shared goal. It requires American leadership and partnership. Yet, the Trump administration failed to coordinate with the European Union’s envoys — who have facilitated a dialogue between the two countries for nearly a decade — in planning a White House meeting with the leaders of Kosova and Serbia last month. While the meeting was ultimately cancelled, the message to our EU partners was still loud and clear. The United States should be working together with our European partners, not turning our back on them. That’s our best hope to facilitate a sustainable resolution that can unlock a more peaceful, prosperous, and European future for both countries. And if I am elected president, my administration will facilitate peace and security in southeastern Europe and work in tandem with our EU partners to make that dream a reality.

I encourage the leaders of Serbia and Kosova to approach these talks with a spirit of compromise and reconciliation, knowing that they have the full support of the American people.