Serbia and the United States share common values, Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said in Belgrade on Tuesday during talks with US Vice President Joe Biden, adding that bilateral relations were outstanding and that he counted the US among the many friends Serbia had in the world.
Biden said the US had a firm interest in Serbia's achieving political and economic success. "You have undertaken difficult reforms which are already yielding results and I congratulate you on what you have done," he was quoted as saying in a statement from Nikolic's office.
Biden said Europe's instability was a problem for the US too and that the US was committed to a strong, democratic, stable and safe Europe. He added that the US did not expect Serbia to choose between Russia and America.
Nikolic said Serbia was "firmly committed to peace and stability" in the region. "Bilateral relations with Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Macedonia are very good," he said, adding that Serbia supported the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. He called the relations with Croatia "puzzling," saying that "tones similar to those in World War II are being heard" in Croatia.
Nikolic underlined Serbia's commitment to the European path and European Union membership but said that, as Serbia's president, he could not take part "in the signing of an agreement (on Kosovo) which would envisage an inter-state character."
Nikolic said Serbia "cannot impose sanctions against Russia. We are tied to Russia, we are also tied to the US, where a numerous Serbian community lives. We were allies in two wars and share two of the world's biggest scientists, Tesla and Pupin, and that's an important point in common."
Earlier in the evening, Biden also talked with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic. Later, Biden went to Pristina for talks with Kosovo President Hashim Thaci and PM Isa MUstafa.