Members of the Serbian Radical Party (SRS) led by ultra nationalist politician Vojislav Seselj protested against US Vice President Joe Biden’s visit to Belgrade on August 16. Members of the party gathered in front of the presidency in downtown Belgrade, wearing Donald Trump t-shirts and holding "Vote Trump" placards.
Bilateral relations between Serbia and the US have been burdened by the US’s support for Kosovo’s independence, which Serbia refuses to recognise. For most Serbs, the US Democrats are the main supporters of Kosovan independence, since Nato’s three-month bombing of Serbia in 1999 was initiated by former Democratic President Bill Clinton.
On August 16, Seselj called on Serbs in the US to back Republican candidate Trump. The main message of the rally was: “Vote for Trump, vote for Serbia’s future!”
Several hundred people took part in the protest, according to Reuters.
“[Trump] is a friend of Russia and wants agreements with Russia. Vote for him because he is friend of Serbian people!” Seselj said. He also claimed Biden was an “archenemy of the Serbian people”.
“The Serbian people do not like Biden ... [we] hate him and remember his role in the Nato bombing as well as his efforts for Kosovan independence.” Seselj said.
According to Seselj, Trump is one of the rare politicians who asked for an apology for Serbia for the Nato bombing, regional broadcaster N1 reported. Trump criticised the bombing in an interview with US television host Larry King in 2015, saying it was a "mistake" to bomb a country that had been the US's ally in two world wars.
During his visit to Belgrade on August 16, Biden expressed his condolences to all the families who lost their loved ones in the Nato bombing, according to the Serbian government's August 16 statement.
During the few hours he spent in Serbia’s capital, Biden met Serbia’s Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic and President Tomislav Nikolic.
According to Vucic, significant US support is expected to contribute to maintaining peace and stability in the region.
“I am sure that the United States wants a peaceful and stable Western Balkans, and Serbia will do all it can to contribute to this,” he said at a joint press conference with Biden.
Biden stressed that Serbia is a key political and economic cornerstone for the whole region and that the Serbian leadership is extremely important for this part of Europe.
“The United States and Serbia do not agree on every issue, there are a lot of scars and wounds that are alive from the 1990s, but I hope that we will take steps forward, and that the entire region will be marked by economic growth,” said Biden at the August 16 press conference.
Biden left Belgrade heading to Pristina.