The US Vice President has praised the independence of Kosovo during a political and personal visit to the Balkan country.
Your success is overwhelmingly in the interest of my countryUS Vice President
On a visit to Pristina, Joe Biden also pushed for ties to be mended with Belgrade.
“Your success is overwhelmingly in the interest of my country. Overwhelmingly,” Biden said. “For if you succeed, the region will succeed.”
Biden also urged Kosovo and Serbia to normalise relations, a condition for both countries to join the EU.
“A region of Europe that has never been fully, thoroughly integrated into Europe. And our vision, and the vision of most European leaders and the world, is for a Europe whole, free and united,” Biden said.
In Belgrade on Tuesday, Biden became the first senior US politician to offer condolences to Serbs who lost loved ones in the US-led NATO air strikes during the 1999 Kosovo conflict.
The US is popular in Kosovo, which considers the country as its saviour since the air strikes halted killings by Serb troops.
1.8 million people, mainly ethnic Albanians, live in Kosovo.
A personal journey
Biden also took part in a private ceremony dedicating a road to his late son.
Beau Biden worked in Kosovo after the 2000-2001 war, helping train local prosecutors and judges for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The former attorney general of Delaware died of cancer in 2015 at the age of 46.
Biden credited his son with teaching him about the importance of the separation from Serbia in 2008.
“He had an overwhelming sense of affection. And it was his strong belief from having been here in the depths of very difficult times that made me confident that calling for the independence of this great country was the right thing to do,” the US Vice President said.
A touching welcome for
VP</a>–Kosovo naming street for Beau Biden who trained prosecutors there <a href="https://t.co/zRf7RD8fBZ">https://t.co/zRf7RD8fBZ</a> <a href="https://t.co/oXv2eFLDDB">pic.twitter.com/oXv2eFLDDB</a></p>— Samantha Power (AmbassadorPower) August 16, 2016
Serbian greeting for Joe Biden: ‘Vote for Trump’ https://t.co/SF5eN0avJE via
POLITICOEurope</a> | AFP/Getty <a href="https://t.co/eSwWJ27Pog">pic.twitter.com/eSwWJ27Pog</a></p>— POLITICO (politico) August 17, 2016