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Mihajlović, Hill hint at Serbia-US strategic partnership agreement

Serbian US officials hint bilateral strategic partnership agreement

Photo: Ministry of Mining and Energy

Published

April 19, 2022

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Published:

April 19, 2022

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A strategic partnership agreement would make the implementation of joint projects easier, especially in the energy sector, where speed is very important, new US Ambassador to Serbia Christopher Hill said.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Mining and Energy of Serbia Zorana Mihajlović spoke with the new Ambassador of the United States to Serbia Christopher Hill about the two countries’ economic relations, development of energy infrastructure, regional connections, energy transition, new US investments and improving the business environment in the country, the ministry said.

She pointed out that 140 years of diplomatic relations between Serbia and the US shows partnership and friendship between the two countries, and that important steps have been taken in the past few years to improve economic cooperation.

There is room for US companies in new projects

“We have done a lot in the field of mining and energy, especially when it comes to developing the legislative framework. Serbia is in the initial phase of the energy transition. We need new capacities, primarily in the electricity sector, because we have not built any capacities for 35 years and we get more than 70 percent of energy from thermal power plants. The priority is to invest in new capacities, energy efficiency improvements and diversification in the gas sector,” Mihajlović said.

The priority is to invest in new capacities, energy efficiency improvements and diversification in the gas sector, Minister Zorana Mihajlović said

She said that today Serbia is a politically and financially stable country, open to investments and committed to dialogue, economic connections and cooperation, and pointed out that there is room for US companies in the implementation of new projects.

“I believe it would be very useful for future cooperation to have a strategic partnership agreement between our two countries like the ones we already have with the Russian Federation, China, France, Italy, United Arab Emirates, Azerbaijan, Hungary, and I think an agreement with the United States would create frameworks for further improvement of relations and the realization of joint projects. We want to make economic relations as good as possible and have even more American companies operating in our country,” the deputy prime minister stated.

Mihajlović spoke to the US ambassador about diversification in the gas sector, construction of energy infrastructure, the need for new energy capacities as well as energy security, especially in light of the crisis in Ukraine, the announcement reads.

Hill: Strategic partnership would facilitate, speed up energy projects

Ambassador Hill said the biggest change is the economic progress of Serbia and pointed out that cooperation in the field of energy would affect the development of relations between the two countries.

“We want to deepen relations with Serbia at all levels: political, economic, and in the energy sector, and to continue to work more intensively on improving cooperation. A strategic partnership agreement would greatly facilitate joint projects, especially in the energy sector, where speed is very important, in order to develop projects in line with technological achievements and help increase energy security,” Hill said.

Gas might come through Albania

The Washington Agreement, sponsored by the United States, may prove to be among the important factors in bilateral relations. Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić signed it in September 2020 with the then-Prime Minister of Kosovo* Avdullah Hoti. They committed to working on a joint feasibility study for a railway link with “a deep sea port in the Adriatic.”

Of note, US-based companies Excelerate and ExxonMobil agreed a year ago with Albania to build a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal in Vlora, also known as Valona. The Washington Agreement also stipulates Serbia and Kosovo* would “diversify their energy supplies.”

Both sides also said they would “work with the US Department of Energy and other appropriate US government entities, on a feasibility study for the purposes of sharing Gazivode/Ujmani lake” in Kosovo* as a reliable water and energy supply.

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