U.S. Air Force General Tod Walters visits Belgrade for the first time in a new capacity
The Supreme Commander of NATO Forces met on Wednesday in Belgrade with the Serbian leadership. This is the first visit of U.S. Air Force General Tod Walters to Serbia as one of the top military leaders of the North Atlantic Alliance..
Todd Walters, appointed NATO Supreme Commander in May, met with General Milan Moisilovic, head of the Serbian Armed Forces, as well as President Aleksandar Vucic and Defense Minister Aleksandar Vulin.
“We discussed a wide range of issues, and I am pleased to report that through hard work and dedication, Serbia is contributing to peace and stability in the western Balkans,” General Walters said in a comment to the Serbian Voice of America. He did not answer a question about the possibility of visiting Kosovo during his current trip to the Balkans.
Serbia does not recognize the independence of Kosovo, but the EU leadership says that the normalization of relations between the two countries is a prerequisite for Serbia’s admission to the EU. EU-mediated talks between Belgrade and Pristina stalled a few months ago.
The Serbian President issued a statement following his meeting with Walters, calling the NATO-led Kosovo peacekeeping force a “security guarantor” for Serbs living in Kosovo.
Vucic added that Belgrade has agreed with Walters to create a hotline between the Serbian military and the Kosovo Peacekeeping Force (KFOR) to respond to possible outbreaks of violence or rising tensions in the region.
“Good communication between the Serbian Armed Forces and KFOR is important for preventing crises in Kosovo and Metohija. This is a guarantee of security for the Serbian population of Kosovo, ”Vucic said..
General Walters supports Belgrade’s efforts to maintain stability and develop cooperation in the region.
Serbia officially started the process of joining the European Union in 2008. At the same time, the country maintains close ties with Russia and China, whose growing influence in the Balkans is of concern to Western countries..
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