US Ambassador to Serbia Hill sees integration with West as key; US Ambassador to Kosovo „disappointed” with Kosovo decision to bar ethnic Serb voting in Serbia elections

Two US ambassadors weighed in over the past two days on Serbia, with US Ambassador to Serbia Chistopher Hill seeing the need for “full integration” of the region with the West, and US Ambassador to Kosovo Jeffrey Hovenier stating that the US was “disappointed” with a recent decision that will make voting in the Serbian parliamentary elections scheduled for Dec. 17 difficult for local ethnic Serbs.

With regard to the former, Hill, who has long been a key US ambassador in Central and Southeastern Europe both, stated that integration with the West is key.

“The Western Balkans countries need to get to their destination,” Hill said Dec. 6 in an official Twitte/X statement. “And the destination is full integration into the West. That is the path that will improve lives for this and future generations.”

Hovenier, however, was more in the moment, noting that a decision by the government of Kosovo that will prevent local voting in the Serbian Dec. 17 elections is a “disappointment.”

Traditionally, in line with agreements that were negotiated following the war in Kosovo, ethnic Serbs in Kosovo could vote in Serbian elections through local polling stations overseen by the OSCE. This, however, came to an end, and as Hovenier noted, the US has pushed for such polling stations to be allowed since 2022.

“Our position has not changed since this issue was first raised in 2022,” he said, as cited by the Albanian Daily News. “We continue to express our disappointment that the government of Kosovo chose not to continue the long-standing practice of allowing the OSCE to collect the ballots of Serbian voters with voting rights living in Kosovo.”

The ambassador added that the US “strongly believes” that all eligible voters should be allowed to vote.

Photo of US Ambassador to Kosovo Jeffrey Hovenier by United States Department of State, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

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