The United Kingdom is “stepping up its efforts to promote peace, stability and prosperity” in the Western Balkans, UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said following the meeting between six Western Balkan Foreign Ministers she convened in London.
The Western Balkan ministers discussed “strengthening economic and security ties and supporting freedom and stability in the region” at the meeting, which was also attended by EU Special Representative, Miroslav Lajcak, and US Deputy Assistant Secretary, Gabriel Escobar.
“This is a critical moment for the Western Balkans and it is important that the peace, freedom and democracy that was hard won over 20 years ago is maintained,” Truss said.
She noted that she recently hosted the G7 Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Liverpool where a discussion on the Western Balkans took place and that Minsters “welcomed the stepping up of the UK presence.”
“I want the UK and our allies to build closer economic and security ties with the region, which will boost jobs and growth and help support a freer, wealthier, more secure Western Balkans,” she said.
“I also welcomed representatives from the EU and the US to these discussions and emphasised the need to work together on stepping up our efforts to find lasting solutions to reduce tensions in the region,” she added.
Truss explained that the UK has appointed Sir Stuart Peach as Special Envoy to the Western Balkans, explaining that he has “long experience in the region” as former UK Chief of the Defence Staff and Chair of NATO’s military committee.
“This is part of the FCDO’s mission to create a global network of liberty based around deeper economic, tech, security and development ties. As freedom-loving democracies, the UK will help the Western Balkans defend and advance the cause of liberty. They have our full support to not only survive, but thrive,” she said.