Virtually every state in the Western Balkans has recently held free and fair national elections, with the participation of all political parties, and with results that reflected the will of the people. “This is a historic accomplishment,” said Vice President Mike Pence on a recent visit to Montenegro.” He urged leaders in the region to “make the most of this moment.”
“You have the opportunity to settle grievances of the past and bring people of different backgrounds and beliefs together in pursuit of the common good,” said Vice President Pence. “You can strengthen your economies and open the pathway to prosperity for your people through tax and regulatory reform. You can tackle corruption and build accountable and transparent governments which will deliver on the highest aspirations of your people and build confidence among those who would invest in the prosperity of your future.”
The United States will continue to support the Western Balkans countries as they take steps toward good government, democratic reform, and the rule of law. The U.S will also partner with individuals to foster civil society, a free and independent press, and an economy that opens opportunity for all who seek it.
The U.S. will continue to support the Dayton Accords and the principles they represent, and is committed to dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo to fully normalize relations between them.
Vice President Pence stressed that security is the foundation of prosperity. For that reason, “we’ll continue to build your capability to operate alongside NATO and other Western forces.”
But as President Trump has made clear, all who would wish to join the NATO alliance must meet the minimum commitment of spending at least 2 percent of gross domestic product on their own national defense.
“This investment,” said Vice President Pence, “is necessary to keep our solemn pledge that an attack on one is an attack on all.”
A commitment to democratic values and to NATO will lay the foundation for lasting prosperity and security. As Vice President Pence said, “Ours is a shared future of liberty and freedom. United in this great ‘community of nations,’ I know we'll face that future together” as allies and friends.