U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Anthony Godfrey has said that "a free and independent media is the best medicine to improve the health of Serbia’s democratic future," while stressing that the U.S. was "deeply concerned" over the state of the media in Serbia.
Godfrey told CorD magazine in an interview that U.S.-Serbia relations were "excellent" and that Washington's policy in the region would not change regardless of who is elected U.S. president in November. He said establishing more stable economic cooperation between Serbia and Kosovo was a reachable goal that would quickly produce results, and that there was no reason to delay.
"It would build trust and lead to improved cooperation in other areas. Perhaps real reconciliation between Belgrade and Pristina is within our grasp.
There is no reason to delay," Godfrey said.
Asked about his view of the recent elections in Serbia and the election process, since some opposition parties and citizens opted to boycott the vote citing the lack of conditions for a free and fair election, Godfrey acknowledged "legitimate concerns of the opposition about the lack of access to media and other shortcomings in the electoral process," but said boycott was not a good idea.
"The people deserve a say in who their representatives are and, to be frank, we did not see a boycott of the elections as an effective alternative to elections in giving people a voice. We believe that a boycott actually limits the opposition's effectiveness in advocating for change on behalf of those it seeks to represent," he went on to say.
"At any rate, our shared goal remains to make Serbia a stronger democracy," Godfrey underscored.