Djuric: For many American officials, Kurti is part of the problem, not the solution

Marko Đurić
Source: Prt. Scr.

The Ambassador of Serbia to the United States of America, Marko Djuric, stated that Albin Kurti, not for all, but for many American officials, was part of the problem.

Djuric said on TV Happy that one of the biggest compliments he had received in his political career had been Kurti's campaign in which Kurti had lied that he and Petar Petkovic had participated in the attack on the American embassy in Belgrade in 2008.

"That lie is an indicator of desperation and serves to mask the fact that Kurti participated in the attack on the American ambassador in the Assembly of Kosovo when the members of the Self-Determination Movement physically dragged her. The Americans do not forget that, as well as the fact that the Self-Determination Movement organized the overturning of a truck with Coca-Cola only because it was produced in Zemun," Djuric says.

He adds that it is not easy for such people to be declared as great American friends.

"We do not present ourselves as anyone's friends, least of all servants, but as people who want a healthy and normal relationship. Kurti was perceived as someone who does not want to respect either the Brussels or Washington agreement and for many American officials, not all, he is a part of the problem, not a solution," Djuric says.

The Serbian ambassador to the US says that being a Serbian politician and against America can be good for some part of the public opinion in Serbia, considering the history of relations in the last 30 years, but that for Kurti, as an Albanian politician, having such a relationship is not even healthy, nor good in the political sense.

"Kurti definitely does not have a monopoly on good relations with America in the region, and that's putting it mildly," Djuric said.

Responding to comments that Pristina is also aware that something has changed when it comes to relations between Serbia and the US, but also Kosovo and the US, Djuric states that Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic has set the building of Serbia's position in the US and the development of the Serbian lobby as one of the objectives of the Serbian politics.

He states that the Embassy of Serbia in Washington had the full support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government to implement this and says that this is done by organizing various events where you can show what Serbia is.

In this sense, he states that since the beginning of the year, they have had only 15 public events, and not only the reception but also the conference of the Serbian diaspora in the US.

"At the conference, we encouraged them to organize politically, to work not only for the interests of the Serbian community in America, but also for their country, for Serbia, to organize support as the Albanians did, and this is starting to give certain results," he says. 

Stating that Washington is an elite environment and that it is not characterized by the demagogic modesty of certain European capitals, Djuric reiterates that it is important to show oneself there and in this sense states that the Embassy of Serbia also organizes cultural events, such as an evening of Serbian culture with the NBA, followed by performances by Serbian opera divas, but also the promotion of the monograph 140 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and America...

In addition, as he says, he talks and meets with people from all walks of life every day.

"I talked to a large number of new senators, those are not easy conversations, not only with senators, but also with people from the institute who are on the opposite side of us. It is a big illusion that we can pretend that our problems will disappear if we turn a blind eye to them and that we can pretend that our position will change if we don't have an active relationship. We, as a people, have virtues, but also flaws, and our collective flaw is that we think that we don't need to prove anything to anyone. The truth will not win by itself, unfortunately," Djuric said.

He adds that we must present Serbian interests as shared with American interests and points out that there are no eternal friendships, only eternal interests.

"We can influence that our interests are harmonized as much as possible with American interests," Djuric said.

Commenting on Janusz Bugajski's statement that America plans for Serbia to be the leader of the Balkans, Djuric says that Bugajski and Serwer are politicians who have an attitude that is traditionally different from ours, so that attitude is not something that can be expected, and seen.

"But our job is to change the image of the ambitions of the Serbs as an old European nation every day and to refresh the image of Serbia every day. When you say that it has changed the paradigm of economy and politics, it's a surprise there, they don't expect that Serbia is the second fastest growing in Europe; that it has the construction of roads, the digital economy, and that it is leading in this in a region that is still not stable, but is a source of conflicts," he said.

According to him, just as there is a well-founded image of America and Americans in the past few decades, the image of us also has a foundation, and we have the responsibility to change that image on both sides.

"We must not allow ourselves to underestimate America's role in Western civilization and to underestimate them as people who do not know geography," Djuric says.

In this sense, he states that he visited Boston and that he gave a lecture twice at Harvard, which is one of the 15 universities in Boston where you can hear different opinions, and those who are against interventionism, and weapons for political purposes.

"More important than that is what we have the opportunity to say to the people who lead the departments, but also to the students themselves and to talk about the positive things that are happening here. When you say that we are building 10 highways and that we have reduced unemployment since 2013, it may be uninteresting data, but to people who know and understand what the economy means, it is a signal that Serbia is thinking seriously about the future," the Serbian ambassador to America says.

Speaking about the visit of US Senator Steven Daines, Djuric says that this American politician is moderate, acceptable to all segments of the Republican Party, and that he expressed his admiration for what had been achieved in Serbia in the last few years.

Announcing the visit of congressman Eric Swalwell, Djuric states that he is one of the most famous democratic politicians, that he is 41 years old, was not involved in any events of the nineties, and has no negative prejudices towards Serbia.

"Relations with someone like him are a pledge for better relations between Serbia and America in the future," Djuric points out and adds that he represents California, where some of the most modern companies come from.

He says he's interested in learning about the biotech program here.

"Our work has not progressed as much as it should, there is a mountain of work waiting for us, but the essence is in us and we must continue to work on ourselves, to develop as a society, our economy," Djuric says.

Djuric announced that Serbia would establish an American-Serbian business council in Washington in about a month, which would be a significant step in connecting the Serbian and American economies and businessmen.

"It is a step forward that we are working with American businessmen, recently there were 16 American companies," Djuric said.

Answering the question of whether he has met Elon Musk, Djuric says that so far he has not been able to reach him, but that does not mean that he has not been trying.

"Later this year in June, we will also organize Tesla Day in Washington, I hope we will have the support of the Tesla Company," Djuric said.