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US Steps-Up Pressure on Serbia to Sign Accord With Kosovo in 2015 - Nuland

© Sputnik / Alexandr Maksimenko / Go to the photo bankUS Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland
US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland - Sputnik International
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The US government is putting new pressure on Serbia to cede more sovereignty to Kosovo by signing the Belgrade-Pristina Accord this year, US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland stated on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The Stabilization and Association Agreement is an international treaty, which when signed, will give Serbia the status of an associated state to the EU.

Among the obligations that Serbia will have to accept under the SAA will be the establishment of a free trade area and the harmonization of state laws with EU law.

“We want 2015 to be the year that advances the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue so the EU [European Union] can open chapters for Serbia and sign the SAA [Stabilization and Association Agreement] for Kosovo.”

Nuland acknowledged that the Serbian government would have to make potentially unpopular concessions to meet EU terms on the SAA, which the United States supports.

“But that will take courageous decisions in both Pristina and Belgrade. Again, together with the EU, America says: seize this moment and we will help.”

In 1999, the United States and its NATO allies waged a bombing campaign against Serbia for 78 days to force relinquish its historic province of Kosovo and permit mostly Muslim Albanians in Kosovo to claim independence.

"Kosovo and Serbia are making progress in healing their past wounds and creating the arrangements to live as good neighbors.”

However, she continued, “[T]he job is far from finished.”

Nuland is a former chief of staff to Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott under President Bill Clinton. She also served as principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney and then as US ambassador to NATO.

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