The United States and its European partners share a common goal in South Eastern Europe, and that goal is to promote the stability and integration of the Western Balkan countries into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg has said:
"From the beginning of this Administration, we have made clear that the United States remains deeply committed to building a stable and prosperous Balkan region by helping all the countries in the region to achieve both their European and Euro-Atlantic aspirations, and by encouraging them to move with progress towards strengthening the rule of law, fighting crime and corruption, and developing economic opportunities for all the people in the region."
On April 6 to 9, Deputy Secretary Steinberg made an official visit to Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Kosovo. He began his visit in Ljubljana. "Slovenia has been an important partner not only in promoting stability in the Balkans but as a NATO ally elsewhere around the world and particularly in Afghanistan," said Deputy Secretary Steinberg. "The recent Brdo Conference held by Slovenia was a welcome example of how the countries in the region can come together to promote stability and opportunity."
The situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina is more complex. The country's three major ethnic groups -- Serbs, Croats and Bosniaks -- often do not see eye-to-eye on major issues, and the ensuing tug-of-war has brought the country to a stalemate. Deputy Secretary Steinberg along with Spanish Foreign Minister and current EU President Miguel Angel Moratinos delivered a joint U.S.-EU message of support and continued engagement, hoping to encourage Bosnian leaders to make progress on reforms needed if Bosnia and Herzegovina is to achieve European and Euro-Atlantic integration. "We don’t want to see Bosnia fall behind its partners in the region," said Deputy Secretary Steinberg.
In Serbia, the Deputy Secretary affirmed the U.S. commitment to foster stability in the region and encouraged practical cooperation with Kosovo. And in Pristina, the Deputy Secretary reaffirmed U.S. commitment to Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
"Despite the great successes we've had," said Deputy Secretary Steinberg, "we have a lot more work to do, but the United States, along with the EU, will stand as a partner to the countries in the region for a brighter, stable, prosperous future."