McCain: US needs to reconfirm engagement in the Balkans

 Republican Senator John McCain called for the reconfirmation of the American and European engagement in the Balkans, which as he said despite having made significant progress since the 1990s conflicts, there are still considerable difficulties and instability. Arizona Senator, chairman of the Armed Services Commission, said this commitment would be critical to withstand Russian intervention in the region.

Returning after a tour in the region, Senator McCain mentioned the challenges to the Balkan region as the crisis in Macedonia, Serbia's leadership after the presidential election, and the role of radical Islamization.

"My concern is that while our attention has shifted to Russia, Ukraine, the Middle East, China, we have not paid the attention, not even the Europeans have paid the proper attention to the Balkans," he said.

Senator McCain said it is clear that the Russians are trying to extend their influence in the region.

"The coup d'etat in Montenegro is a clear example. It was an attempt to overthrow a country's elected government," he said.

Russia has described Montenegro's expected NATO membership as a provocation, due to the country's geographic proximity to Russia. The Kremlin has long considered the Balkans as part of its sphere of influence.

The fact that Russia is expanding influence, he attributes this to the lack of American and European leadership in the area and says is thought to be the most unstable region in Europe.

"We played a role in resolving conflicts there, which caused loss of life, and seems that recent years have been pulled and this is another example of the absolute need for the United States leadership role."

Senator McCain voiced particularlythe  concern over the political situation in Macedonia, saying it is not in the interest of anyone to break it down and said that under such tense conditions, the United States and Europe's leading role is needed, VOA reports.

"I am very concerned about Macedonia and I do not foresee a world war or conflict, but I say that tensions are growing and the situation is getting worse and needs US and European leadership," he said.

He voiced support for the continuation of the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade.

"We must make every effort to promote reconciliation, because you cannot serve the peoples of your countries if you keep old wounds open, because they deserve the future and not return to the past."

Mr. McCain did not respond directly to the voices of Kosovo's unification with Albania if the EU project fails but said he wanted to see more progress towards standards implementation by the two countries and that he saw both in Kosovo and Albania a desire for integration into the EU.

Regarding Serbian leader Aleksandar Vucic, Mr. McCain said he has a delicate balance in terms of relations with Russia on the one hand and the EU on the other, but added that he knows that the Serbian population is more pro-European.

The US Senator said another direction where the Balkans might explode are the efforts of radical Islamism./Oculus News

McCain: US needs to reconfirm engagement in the Balkans McCain: US needs to reconfirm engagement in the Balkans Thursday, April 27, 2017 Rating: 5
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