BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, for more than 130 years, Americans have had a close friendship with the Serbian people. Our troops fought side-by-side in both World War I and World War II, forging a strong bond between our nations. Today, Serbia remains an indispensable ally of the U.S. as we confront challenges like ISIS together. This relationship has only deepened over the years due to our shared dedication to democracy and freedom.
I recently returned from a trip to Serbia where I met with President Vucic and Prime Minister Brnabic. They are great friends to America and excellent representatives for Serbia. In our meetings they made clear how much the relationship with the United States matters to the security and prosperity of their country. Their only ask, was that America continues to stand by Serbia as it works to integrate closer with the West. While I am retiring from Congress at the end of this year, and unfortunately leaving my post as co-chair of the Serbia caucus, I assured them that there was no doubt that the U.S. is committed to its friendship with Serbia so long as Serbia remains committed to peace and democracy.
Serbia has no stronger partner on than the United States. We have shown this in action. For example, about 60 percent of Serbia's overseas military training and education takes place within the United States. Serbia recognized the value of this relationship and signed an agreement to deepen cooperation with the U.S. and our NATO allies two years ago. This is a big deal considering just 20 years ago, NATO and Serbia were on opposite sides of a war.
Beyond military cooperation, we are also working to forge closer economic ties and strengthen Serbia's democracy. Rule of law and transparency are making major gains in Serbia that will allow for increased American investment. All of this will bring our countries closer together, ensuring bright peaceful futures for the Balkan region and ourselves.
Belgrade and Washington must continue to build our partnership to accomplish our shared goals. I am excited to see the ties between our countries grow. I am convinced that so long as we remain committed to democratic values, America and Serbia will have an enduring friendship for generations.
And that's just the way it is.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT