DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
Following Her Meeting with Serbian President Boris
October 12, 2010, Palace of Serbia, Belgrade
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much, Mr. President.
And thank you for the warm welcome that you have extended and the
opportunity we've had to discuss in depth and at length a number of
issues, many of which you mentioned in your statement.
For me personally, it is a great honor to be here in
Serbia ten years after the people of this country began to reclaim their
own future. That victory of the people's will was a milestone in the
long struggle to build Serbia's democracy. And in the decade that has
followed, Serbia has made great progress, and we, speaking on behalf of
the United States, owe a debt of gratitude to all of those who helped
create that progress: members of Serbia's civil society; its political
leaders, Mr. President; and of course, the citizens themselves.
It is not any mystery why democracy is the preferred
political system in the 21st century, because it does give individuals
the opportunity to pursue their own dreams within a political system
that recognizes the need for supporting the individual and yet moving
forward with determination of a nation.
Serbia, of course, like any country, still faces
challenges today, but it is very clear to me that Serbia is on a path
toward greater partnership with the Euro-Atlantic community and stronger
relations with its neighbors. The United States is committed to working
with Serbia as you advance toward these goals.
When President Tadic and I have spoken on previous
occasions - by telephone, in person, and particularly today - I have
underscored that we have an interest in the peace and prosperity of this
region. And we are encouraged that many countries are moving toward
greater integration with the European Union. But no country has more to
gain than Serbia. EU membership could help transform Serbia's economy
and anchor the entire region in Europe.
Achieving the goal of EU integration requires
leadership. And Mr. President, you have been providing that leadership.
Now, there are areas where, as the President said, we will not agree,
and foremost among them is Kosovo. But we believe that the September 9th
United Nations General Assembly resolution provides a good basis for a
meaningful, forward-looking dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. That
dialogue can and will benefit people in Kosovo and Serbia by addressing
practical, day-to-day issues and the long-term relationship between you.
It will also have a positive impact on the relationship between Serbia,
your neighbors, Europe, and the United States.
I also want publicly to thank Serbia for your strong
cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former
Yugoslavia. I appreciate all that has been done by your government,
particularly your law enforcement officials, and I appreciate again
hearing from President Tadic the high priority that Serbia places on
fulfilling its remaining obligations to the Tribunal. I have stated
publicly and I will state again that Serbia is making a good-faith
effort on behalf of arresting (inaudible) fugitive, and that effort
should be recognized by others.
I also thank President Tadic and your government for
your commitment to protect the human rights of all the citizens of your
country. I especially want to commend the bravery of the police who
provided security for the event for last Sunday's pride parade. It was
not easy, and yet we watched as the official law enforcement forces
demonstrated unequivocally your support for the rights of all.
Let me close by reaffirming our admiration for the
progress that has taken place here in Serbia over the last decade. As
Vice President Biden said when he was here, the United States values
Serbia as a country with not only a tremendous history, but more
importantly a vast potential. We believe in the potential of Serbia.
Serbian Americans have made many contributions to the growth and
development of the United States, and we are absolutely convinced that
Serbia can become not only a member of the European Union but a leader
in Europe, an example in Europe. And the United States is committed to
working with you to help you build a better future for this country, for
your people, and for this region.
Mr. President, thank you for not only your words
today, but more importantly, your vision and your leadership and your
actions in pursuit of that vision over the past years; and know that you
will have a partner as you continue down this path toward European
integration and toward building the kind of Serbia that the children of
Serbia deserve to have. Thank you very much.