Daily Survey  
Daily Survey

Belgrade, February 01, 2012



BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) –Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic called on the countries of Southeastern Europe on Tuesday to improve their cooperation after a century of confrontation and war and proposed a joint ceremony to mark the 100th anniversary of the Balkan wars, under the motto "From Balkan war to Balkan peace.""The phrase really unifies what we strive for, an unbreakable pattern of lasting cooperation between the nations included in the Southeast European Cooperation Process (SEECP)," he said opening an informal meeting of SEECP.The key question is whether the countries of Southeastern Europe have the will for such an effort after a century marked by political confrontation and constant wars, he stressed. According to Jeremic, it is possible to achieve that through a combination of hope, self-confidence and imagination.It is not just a joint vision and leaders' courage that is needed, but to direct strategic predictions so the whole region could benefit from such an effort, Jeremic remarked. Success rests in the ability to give up on old views in which others are seen as enemies and rivals, he thinks."In the future, we will have to work together to find solutions to open issues in a way that would be acceptable to all who live in our countries," he underlined."We will have to keep ourselves free of cynicism, fear and doubt. Such people have never been able to solve problems, but instead hung on to them until they reached boiling point," Jeremic stated.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – President Boris Tadic met with Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas on bilateral relations between the two states and Serbia's integration with Europe.
The president thanked Dimas on Greece's principled support for preserving the country's territorial integrity and its European inclusion, a statement released by Tadic's news service said.
The Greek minister said that Greece supported Serbia's European path and that Serbia should at least receive the status of a candidate state in March.
Tadic also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with whom he discussed bilateral ties and deepening economic cooperation between the two states. President Tadic and Foreign Minister Davutoglu also talked about improving the religious dialog and cooperation in the region.
The minister was attending an informal Southeast European Cooperation Process ministerial meeting in Belgrade.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – President Boris Tadic had talks in Belgrade on Jan. 31 with Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic about relations between the two countries and cooperation in the region.
According to a statement from Tadic's news service, they also discussed the European integration of the entire region and the strengthening of economic cooperation between Serbia and Croatia.
After the meeting, Tadic and Vesna Pusic did not address the media. Pusic described her talks with Tadic as "cordial and fruitful."
"We affirmed our joint stands on the further strengthening of relations and the need and wish to jointly invest effort and further improve the region," said Pusic, who is participating in an informal ministerial meeting of the Southeast European Cooperation Process at Serbian Palace.
During her stay in Belgrade, Pusic also met with representatives of the Croatian minority in Serbia and discussed their position.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) – Croatia's Foreign Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic said on Tuesday Serbia and Croatia could discuss withdrawals of genocide charges against each other if they first resolved whatever they could bilaterally.That refers to stolen property, missing persons and war crimes cases, she explained."If we can solve that bilaterally, then we can drop the charges," she remarked.According to her, issues should not be addressed according to the charges, but the two countries should focus on actual cases that could be solved in advance, and some are already being worked on."The stolen property, for example, refers to art, some of which has already been returned. No one is denying the existence of missing persons, and when it comes to war crimes, there is work connected to actual names."Some of the cases have already been opened by the two countries' prosecutors' offices, Pusic told TV B92. Commenting on the parliament decision to declare all war crimes indictments by the former Yugoslavia, its military and Serbia void, she said the former Yugoslavia's and its army's indictments were void, but that those taken over by Serbia were valid."It is my deep belief that the indictments taken over by Serbia are valid," she said.



BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic stated on Jan. 31 his conviction that the economic crisis in Europe would not undermine Serbia's strategic determination to proceed towards EU entry or impact ongoing reforms.
Opening an informal ministerial meeting of the Southeast European Cooperation Process, Jeremic said that the economic crisis, the epicenter of which was in Europe, would unavoidably affect the future of the region.
"For several countries of southeastern Europe, the consequences of the economic crisis will pose additional challenges, bearing in mind the fact that enlargement enthusiasm has diminished in many parts of the EU," Jeremic said, stressing that this would not thwart Serbia's strategic determination to find a solid foothold in Europe, nor would it stop reforms.
He said that one of the most important priorities of Serbia at the head of the SEECP was establishing a coordinated approach to the fight organized crime and terrorism, adding that numerous concrete initiatives had been started with the aim of unifying efforts to eliminate these threats in the region.
The informal ministerial meeting of the SEECP member states was attended by the foreign ministers of Montenegro, Macedonia, Croatia, Greece and Turkey, as well as officials from Albania, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova and Slovenia.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – The participants of a Southeastern European Cooperation Process informal ministerial conference held in Belgrade on Jan. 31 backed approving Serbia's request for EU candidacy in March, stressing that the entire region's integration with Europe was the best way to achieve stability in the region.
Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen told the conference, held at Palace Serbia, that by granting Serbia the status of a candidate for EU membership, the entire region's European effort would gain new momentum, while Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki said that Croatia's admission into the EU encouraged the rest of the region.
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stressed the importance of supporting the candidacy of every state in the region, "since anyone who enters an organization will represent the entire region."
Albanian Deputy Foreign Minister Selim Bellortaja stressed that his country would continue to support Kosovo's participation in all regional organizations, initiatives and centers.
The foreign ministers of Croatia, Greece, Turkey, Montenegro and Macedonia, as well as the representatives from Albania, BosniaHerzegovina, Moldavia, Romania and Slovenia participated in the SEECP event.


BELGRADE, Jan. 31 (Blic) – Director of the government EU Integration Office Milica Delevic says she is optimistic about Serbia's EU candidacy status in March.This, provided the preconditions defined by the European Council in December are fulfilled, she was qouted as saying on Tuesday."The results should be achieved at least within the deadline that would make it possible for the foreign ministers to discuss them at the meeting on February 27 and 28 preceding the meeting of the European Council," Delevic said for the Tuesday edition of Belgrade-based daily Blic. According to her, this leaves Serbia with less than a month, and that is why it is important to use this time and search for solutions. "I hope that there will be no new problems. I believe that the visit by European mediator in the dialogue with Priština (Robert Cooper) was a step forward in securing conditions for successful next round of the dialogue. However the decision in March will depend on the results," Delevic said. When asked how Serbia will solve the issue of Kosovo's regional representation so that such solution does not constitute a violation of UNSC Resolution 1244, Delevic said that Resolution 1244 is not explicit about regional representation, but implies a need for a dialogue which is to reach a politically acceptable solution that would enable participation of all parties. "The stating of Resolution 1244 is politically acceptable solution for Serbia, and I believe that the talks will search for modalities which would enable that," she noted. Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert said in Belgrade on Monday that the conditions set before the country to become a candidate for EU membership were "the implementation of the agreements already reached, further progress in regional cooperation and for EULEX and KFOR to be able to do their job throughout Kosovo".


BELGRADE, Jan. 31 (Blic) – Greek Foreign Minister Stavros Dimas says Athens is a proponent of Serbia's EU accession and that slowing down of the process would be EU's strategic mistake. "Greece has been a consistent and loyal proponent of Serbia's EU accession and we believe that slowing down Serbia's pathway would be a strategic mistake for the EU," he pointed out. Dimas added that Athens would continue to advocate its position ahead of the European Council meeting in March, stressing that there had been many positive developments in Serbia, such as cooperation with the Hague Tribunal and Serbia's regional role and importance. "Greece advocates creation of a peaceful, stable and prosperous environment for everybody in the Western Balkans," the Greek foreign minister said and added that he supported the Belgrade-Priština dialogue "for the sake of progress and development of the wider region". "I believe that a feasible solution will be found through the two sides' dialogue," Dimas explained. He said that the South East European Co-operation Process (SEECP) was one of success stories and that he was convinced that a good job, that had been done so far, would continue during Serbia's SEECP presidency. "One of Greece's priorities is to see all Western Balkans countries enter the EU," Dimas concluded.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Austrian Ambassador to Serbia Clemens Koja has said that he believes that Serbia will be get the status of a candidate state for EU membership in March 2012 if there is "goodwill" for that.
"Austria has continuously supported Serbia's integration with the EU which is why it wants to help Serbia clear the last hurdles on this road, while the conflict with Pristina is definitely the biggest hurdle at this moment," Koja told the Jan. 31 edition of Cord Magazine.
When asked whether Serbia could have done more to secure candidate status back in December, he responded, yes, considering that "no one had demanded that Serbia recognize Kosovo's independence."
"The question here, first and foremost, is developing neighborly relations, chiefly for the benefit of the people in the region: Albanians and Serbs in Kosovo, but Serbs and Albanian minorities in southern Serbia as well. Especially young people "who need an outlook in these parts, Koja said.



PRISTINA, Jan. 31 (Blic) –Talks with EU mediator Robert Cooper did not lead to convergence of Belgrade and Priština's positions regarding regional representation, Edita Tahiri says. The Priština team chief told journalists that the stance of the Serbian side had remained unchanged in terms of regional representation requiring adherence to 1244 UN Security Council Resolution, which is unacceptable for Kosovo. When it comes to the next round of talks, Tahiri said that it was impossible to set a date due to remote views, and added that she requested acceleration of preparations for the meeting of the two delegations, which should take place once the stances are converged. She said that the Kosovo party was constructive and serious in an attempt to make the dialogue fruitful. Tahiri said in the talks with Cooper that all agreements had to be fully observed, as well as that the Serbian side did not fully abide by the agreements on free movement and free trade. The EU mediator in the talks between Belgrade and Priština did not address the journalists.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Parliament's Committee on Kosovo and Metohija adjourned on Jan. 31 after a threehour debate on a referendum scheduled in the predominantly Serb north of Kosovo. The committee was unable to adopt any conclusions due to lack of a quorum.
During the debate, opposition MPs favored holding the referendum, while MPs from the Democratic Party voiced different views on the referendum, from saying that it was unnecessary to observing that the people should be allowed to have their say on whether they accepted Kosovo's institutions.
Democratic Party MP Srdjan Milivojevic said that the referendum was unnecessary because no one, either in the province or central Serbia supported Kosovo's institutions. Serbian Progressive Party MP Borislav Pelevic said that holding the referendum would demonstrate that Serbs in northern Kosovo were united and send a clear message to the international community that Serbs did not want to live in an independent Kosovo.
Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic was also present at the session, during which the committee examined a State Audit Institution spending report on the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija for 2010.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) –Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic said the parliamentary and presidential elections in Serbia will include Kosovo, while the local election had not yet been discussed by the government.The parliamentary and presidential elections will cover Kosovo, he told adding that there was no doubt about it and that it was in line with UN Resolution 1244. The local election has not yet been discussed by the government, but an adequate decision will be made in time, he stated.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) – Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic and Head of the EU European External Action Service Miroslav Lajcek concluded Tuesday that all relevant actors need to establish better coordination in order to overcome the existing problems in north Kosovo-Metohija.The talks underlined the importance of reaching a solution, and the Serbian government's commitment to finding solutions exclusively through dialogue, cooperation and compromise, reads the statement of the Ministry of Kosovo-Metohija.The talks also highlighted the Serbian government's efforts to enable free movement of EULEX, but also the need for the EU Mission to Kosovo to preserve status neutrality and act in line with its mandate.


BRUSSELS, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) – Vice-chair of the European Parliament (EP) Delegation for South-East Europe Jelko Kacin said during his meeting Tuesday with newly appointed EU Special Representative in Kosovo Samuel Zbogar that he expected Zbogar to help reach an agreement on Pristina's representation at international meetings.During the meeting, Kacin expressed the expectation that Zbogar, who served as Slovenian foreign minister until recently, would help Belgrade and Pristina reach an agreement about a name that Kosovo might temporarily use to be able to participate in international meetings.Such an agreement would dispel doubts of some EU member countries and enable a positive decision on granting Serbia the candidate status at the EU Council session on March 1, Kacin said.During his exchange of opinions with Zbogar at an EP Committee on Foreign Affairs meeting, Kacin pointed to the complexity of the problem of parallel structures in northern Kosovo by saying that there were in fact no other structures in the north beside those.What we need to is to carefully dismantle the structures financed by Belgrade and violating the Ahtisaari plan, said Kacin, adding that EULEX can and has to do more in the fight against organized crime and corruption.We are aware that the challenges in Kosovo are big ones, but we have to make sure the progress in the region gains momentum, Kacin said.


BRUSSELS, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Recent Slovenian foreign minister Samuel Zbogar, who will be taking office on Feb. 1 as the EU special representative in Pristina and EU ambassador has warned of the danger of the situation in northern Kosovo turning into a suspended conflict.
Zbogar told the Slovenian STA news agency that restoring order in northern Kosovo and building institutions based on the rule of law, democracy and human rights were the two biggest challenges for Kosovo.
"There is a danger of a socalled suspended conflict happening, which would not be good. The current situation needs to be overcome. On the one hand, are the concerns of Kosovo's Serbs, because of which they feel the need to selforganize and are sealing themselves off from other parts of Kosovo, and on the other, the Albanian population that sees Kosovo as a single state, but cannot access its northern part," Zbogar said.
"This needs to be overcome as soon as possible, probably by making small steps. The people who actually live in Kosovo have the main task," Zbogar said, adding that he would support the process in Brussels.


PRISTINA, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Kosovo Assembly passed, with 83 votes in favor and 13 against, a resolution on ending the supervised independence of Kosovo. The resolution was opposed by the SelfDetermination movement, which called the document an attempt by the Kosovo government to hide painful compromises made on Kosovo and the conditions it would face. Kosovo Premier Hashim Thaci told the Assembly that by passing this resolution, united as always when unity was needed, lawmakers would open the door to the ending of supervised independence.
The resolution was also supported by the opposition, with the exception of SelfDetermination.
While expressing their disagreement with the draft resolution, the SelfDetermination representatives proposed their own version, but it was not put to a vote because the draft from the Democratic Party of Kosovo had majority support.
In eight points, the resolution welcomes the recommendations of the International Management Group for Kosovo, on the ending of supervised independence in this year.



BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Beta) – Belgrade Philharmonic Orchestra marked the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between Serbia and Israel. Israeli President Shimon Peres said in a video message that bilateral ties between the two states were good at the moment and recalled Israeli investment in Serbia.
President Boris Tadic said that Serbs and Jews had often shared the same fate in the past, especially during the Second World War. Tadic noted that International Holocaust Remembrance Day was observed last week and pledged that Serbia would do everything it could to repair and protect Jewish monuments in the country.
Israeli Ambassador in Belgrade Joseph Levi said that official ties between Israel and the former Yugoslavia were severed during the Six Day War in 1967, but were restored on the level of attaches in 1991.
"I emphasize the world 'official,' considering that relations between our two nations in the deepest and most genuine sense have never been severed. Serbia is not Israel's neighbor on the map, but Israel and Serbia are neighbors at heart," Levi said.


BELGRADE, Jan. 30 (Tanjug) –Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic has stated that the Constitution will have to undergo comprehensive changes after the elections.The state of affairs and certain international norms have exceeded the limits of the country's highest legal act, said Djukic-Dejanovic. She explained that the procedure for constitutional amendments was not launched as the current parliament was not able to provide a two-third majority support."The next parliament will have to deal with this issue, the draft has to be done by competent people, and the citizens will have the last say at a referendum," Djukic-Dejanovic underlined.When asked whether the elections will also be run in Kosovo-Metohija, she said that the Constitution, laws, international documents and situation in the field have to be considered when making such a decision. UN SC Resolution 1244 reads that the issue of local elections is related to the agreement with the international community in Kosovo. We know very well what the Constitution says, but we have to consider reality as well, meaning that all factors have to be taken into account when making the decision. We can say that the Constitution or the international law is binding for us, but what is most binding is the life of citizens and Serbia," she said.