Belgrade, June 1, 2012
CRISIS AT NORTHERN KOSOVO
SHOOTING NEAR RUDARE
ZVECAN, June 1 (Tanjug) - Gunshots were heard Friday in the area Zvecan, on the road to Rudare, which was blocked by KFOR early Thursday, and an ambulance was sent to the place from where the shots were fired, a reporter on the scene said.KFOR fired tear gas at Serbs who were trying to approach the barricade in Dudin Krs.KFOR helicopters are flying over the area, and a mission's transporter is parked at the side of the bridge leading to the village of Rudare, which is also blocked since this morning.A great number of citizens gathered at the Zvecan side of the bridge, including representatives of local self-governments of Kosovska Mitrovica and Zvecan, Krstimir Pantic and Dragisa Milovic respectively.KFOR soldiers, however, did not let the ambulance from Kosovska Mitrovica to help the wounded. Mayor of Kosovska Mitrovica told the citizens and the media that KFOR Lieutenant Colonel Joseph Lynch did not allow passage for neither the ambulance, nor the representatives of local self-governmnets.Milovic urged the citizens to stay calm and not to provoke the members of KFOR, because they are ready to shoot.Milovic accused KFOR of provoking the Serbs so that they could be blamed for incidents.According to him, this exactly was the aim of KFOR's action carried out this morning, when they tried to remove the barricade at Dudin Krs. "Let them dismantle the barricade, but we must not let anyone get hurt," Milovic stresses.KFOR launched Friday morning an operation of removal of a barricades in the vicinity of Rudare with a view to improvement of freedom of movement."Since 08.40 a.m. this morning KFOR is conducting a roadblock removal operation in the vicinity of Rudare. This activity is to improve freedom of movement not only for KFOR but also for international organizations and for all people in Kosovo," reads a KFOR statement delivered."KFOR established numerous vehicle check points and secured areas for safety reasons. This is connected with the roadblock removal and remains temporarily", the statement adds.After the roadblock is removed the vehicle check points and secured areas will be released.So far no incidents have been reported.KFOR's mission is to contribute to a safe and secure environment and freedom of movement for all people in Kosovo. KFOR will continue to do so firmly, prudently and impartially, in full compliance with our mandate.That is what our troops have been doing for the last 12 years at considerable risk to their own safety, the statement underlines.KFOR urged all parties to avoid unilateral moves, inflammatory statements or violent acts.KFOR is currently taking no action on roadblock in Rudare (north) as it is not closed to KFOR vehicle movements.There are two barricades in the village of Rudare, Zvecan, one is located inside of the village, while the other one on a bridge in Dudin Krs.
BOGDANOVIC: KFOR SHOULD REFRAIN FROM VIOLENCE
BELGRADE, June 1 (Tanjug) - Minister for Kosovo Goran Bogdanovic called on KFOR to refrain from using force and adhere strictly to its mandate and on the Serbs to stay calm and ignore provocations.Commenting on an incident near Rudare, northern Kosovo, where there was gunfire and four people were injured, Bogdanovic appealed to all sides to refrain from violence. "It is very important to reduce tension as soon as possible, normalize the situation and solve all problems through dialogue, and not force," he told.Right now, everyone has to understand that the situation is very volatile, he stressed. "That is why I call on KFOR, but also on the Serbs in the north, to keep in mind that fact and for each side to show maximum restraint when it comes to taking risky actions. Any escalation of conflict can lead us into a spiral of violence with unimaginable consequences," Bogdanovic pointed out.
IVANOVIC: THREE WOUNDED, RISKY MOVE OF KFOR
BELGRADE, June 1 (Tanjug) - Oliver Ivanovic, state secretary with the Ministry of Kosovo-Metohija, stated Friday that at least three persons were wounded in a shooting which took place in the village of Rudare, Zvecan municipality, Kosovo-Metohija.Ivanovic also said that he does not understand the motive of this action, and that KFOR has made "a very risky move".He said that he can see no other motive but strengthening of Pristina's position ahead of the talks with Belgrade.Pristina and KFOR are using the institutional vacuum in Serbia in order to change the situation in the field, he said.Ivanovic said for Belgrade TV B92 that this will sure be a tough day for Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija.He added that helicopters are constantly flying over the bridge between Rudare and Zvecan, which has been blocked since Friday morning and where there are about 150-180 soldiers."The situation is very tense, and according to the information that arrived so far three Serbs have been injured. The number of people rallying is increasing, which may lead to possible clashes," Ivanovic warned.He said that a message has been sent to KFOR through Serbia's competent ministries that the situation gives cause for concern and may escalate by the end of the day. The damage can be huge, and the relations between local Serbs and KFOR can go cold ending further communication between them.When asked about Belgrade's possible reaction, Ivanovic said that the outgoing government can only make minor moves until the formation of a new one.
NOWITZKI: ONE KFOR SOLDIER WOUNDED
PRISTINA, June 1 (Tanjug) - KFOR spokesman Uwe Nowitzki told that one of their soldiers was wounded during today's operation of removing a barricade near Rudare, northern Kosovo.The soldier was evacuated and his condition is stable, Nowitzki said. KFOR strongly condemns this act of violence. KFOR's actions are always carried out with as less use of force as possible, but it is clear that KFOR will respond in self-defense in accordance with the situation, Nowitzki said. We will not let the situation to further escalate and we will use adequate force if needed, he added.All roads leading from Zvecane to the village of Rudare and the concrete barricade in the village of Dudin Krs are blocked, and, as Tanjug learned from Director of the Health Center in Kosovska Mitrovica Milan Jakovljevic, the clash between the citizens and KFOR left three persons wounded.Jakovljevic added that there are more injured, but that the road blocks prevent the ambulance from taking them to hospital.
SITUATION IN ZVECAN PEACEFUL, KFOR REMOVES BLOCKS
ZVECAN, June 1 (Tanjug) - After Friday morning's shooting and wounding of three persons, the situation in north Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) is currently peaceful and tensions are easing, but KFOR is still deployed on the roads from Leposavic to Zvecan and Kosovka Mitrovica, Tanjug' reporter said.According to KiM Radio, the talks between Zvecan and Zubin Potok municipal presidents with KFOR officers are underway. The blockages are set up in the village of Rudare, Zvecan municipality, on the bridge over the Ibar River, where a large number of citizens have rallied. Barbed wire has been stretched across the bridge and over a KFOR vehicle.The road is blocked towards the barricades, which were put up on the magistrate road between Zvecan and southern Mitrovica in Dudin Krs last summer. The Zvecan area, which has been blocked since 8.30 CET, is intensively flown over by helicopters.Serbs are not allowed to approach barricades in Rudare and Dudin Krs, and KFOR's roadblock removal operation is underway. The barricades are located at the Leposavic-Kosovska Mitrovica-Pristina magistrate road.Due to the KFOR blockage, the citizens of Zvecan and northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica are using alternative road over Banjska and Zubin Potok towards north Kosovo.Head of the Kosovska Mitrovica Hospital Milena Cvetkovic told Tanjug on Friday that one of the three Serbs injured in a clash between Serbs and KFOR in the village of Rudare, Zvecan municipality, was wounded with live ammunition.Cvetkovic said that three persons were admitted to the Mitrovica Hospital, adding that the person with an upper leg gunshot wound sustained the most serious injuries.
PRISTINA SEIZES SERBIAN PLATES, BELGRADE PROTESTS
PRISTINA, BELGRADE, June 1 (Tanjug) - Pristina's authorities announced that they will start seizing vehicles without RKS or KS license plates issued by the Kosovo authorities, and head of the Belgrade team in dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said that this act of Pristina is unilateral and against the agreements made in Brussels.Only vehicles with RKS or KS license plates can participate in traffic. The vehicles with both old and new Serbian license plates will be confiscated and their owners will be taken to the misdemeanor court, Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Redzepi said.Kosovo Deputy Minister of Interior Sasa Rasic told Tanjug earlier that the decision on license plates is a result of certain talks on freedom of movement held in Brussels.The original deadline for re-registration was December 31, but it was extended several times. After June 1, the police will penalize all drivers using old license plates, Rasic said.Borislav Stefanovic, the head of the Belgrade negotiating team, stated earlier that Belgrade is in constant contact with the international community, in an attempt to prevent Pristina from abusing the Brussels agreement.Nothing like this was agreed in Brussels, "neither publicly nor secretly," and this is a purely unilateral act of Pristina's, which should absolutely be condemned, he said in a statement for Tanjug.Bljerij Camaj, the director of the Department of Registration and Civil Status with the Kosovo Interior Ministry, said that a great number of Serbs in Kosovo already has KS or RKS license plates.A total of 5,362 vehicles with KS or RKS license plates have been registered so far, 4,003 of which with RKS and 1,359 with KS plates. Including members of other minorities, 7,570 vehicles with RKS of KS plates have been registered, Camaj said.
NIKOLIC ASSUMES OFFICE AS SERBIAN PRESIDENT
BELGRADE, May 31 (Tanjug) – President Tomislav Nikolic signed the oath at the special session of the Serbian parliament and his five-year mandate as the Serbian president thus began.After the intonation of the national anthem, Nikolic signed the oath and session chairman Zaharije Trnavcevic congratulated him on the beginning of office.The session started some time after 2pm and new MPs and president were welcomed at the entrance to the House of the National Assembly by the honorary unit of the Serbian Armed Forces.Nikolic was sworn in before MPs, saying: "I vow to be thoroughly committed to preserving the sovereignty and integrity of the territory of the Republic of Serbia, including Kosovo and Metohija as its integral part, to honor human and minority rights and freedoms, to respect and defend the Constitution and laws, to maintain peace and well-being of all the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and to perform all my duties in an honest and conscientious manner."The special session is also attended by presidential candidates in the recently held elections, including leader of the Democratic Party (DS) Boris Tadic, candidate of the U-Turn movement Cedomir Jovanovic, leader of the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) Vojislav Kostunica, as well as presidential candidates of the United Regions of Serbia (URS) Zoran Stankovic, representative of Movement of Workers and Farmers Zoran Dragisic and Social Democratic Alliance Danica Grujicic.Patriarch Irinej of the Serbian Orthodox Church is also attending the session, as well as the representatives of other religious communities in Serbia.The ceremony is attended by representatives of the diplomatic corps, including Ambassador of Germany Wolfram Maas, U.S. Ambassador Mary Warlick, Russian Ambassador Aleksandr Konuzin and head of the EU delegation in Serbia Vincent Degert.Representatives of the military intelligence services also arrived in the building at Nikola Pasic Square, including Chief-of-staff of the Serbian Armed Forces Ljubisa Dikovic and former president Milan Milutinovic.The special session is attended by Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and members of his cabinet, and representatives of the judiciary including Prosecutor for Organised Crimes Miljko Radisavljevic, War Crimes Prosecutor Vladimir Vukcevic and President of the High Judicial Council Nata Mesarovic.Also attending the oath taking ceremony are Director of the Anti-Corruption Agency Zorana Markovic, Serbia's Commissioner for the Protection of Equality Nevena Petrusic, Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection Rodoljub Sabic and Ombudsman Sasa Jankovic.
NIKOLIC WANTS SERBIA UNITED FOR BETTER LIFE
BELGRADE, May 31 (Tanjug) – President Tomislav Nikolic stated that he wants to see Serbia united in a better future, free of fear from the coming times, as a EU member but he added that Serbia will never renounce sovereignty over Kosovo-Metohija.After signing the oath and takeover of takeover of presidential responsibilities, Nikolic told MPs that he would act as their associate if they fight for citizens and their better life. "If you fight for the people, I will back you by the power invested in me by the Constitution," Nikolic said.In his address after the oath, Nikolic expressed gratitude to citizens for appointing him, especially to those who have been supporting him for two decades now. He warned that Serbia is a country which is being destroyed by the crisis and a country whose citizens lost their confidence in institutions due to the unprofessionally carried out privatisation, corruption and overall plunder.Nikolic said that he wants a different Serbia. If you fight for the people, I will help you as much as the Constitution allows, the new Serbian president said and added that he was often a victim of injustice and he would not stop fighting until Serbia becomes a legal and genuine democratic country.
KOSOVO & METOHIJA
NIKOLIC: TALKS CAN CONTINUE RIGHT AWAY
BELGRADE, May 31 (Tanjug) – President Tomislav Nikolic said that the talks between Belgrade and Pristina can be continued right away and that he will propose a consensus-based solution for the Kosovo-Metohija problem on Monday.After taking the oath of office at a special session of the parliament today, Nikolic told reporters that on June 14, when he is back from a visit to Brussels, where he is to meet with "the most important people there," he will convey the essence of the talks to the Serbian citizens. "Whatever new I learn in Brussels I will immediately share with the Serbian citizens," Nikolic said.
NIKOLIC: I WILL NOT GIVE UP ON KOSOVO
PODGORICA, June 1 (Tanjug) - President Tomislav Nikolic has said that no one has so far placed Kosovo's recognition before him as a requirement for Serbia's progress in EU integration, adding that he would not comply if it happened.It is a hypothetical question whether someone is going to set that requirement or not, he told TV Montenegro in an interview broadcast on Thursday evening, adding that he was not on the list of those who would accept EU integration while giving up on Kosovo.When asked if there was any type of situation in which he would recognize Kosovo, Nikolic responded: "There is no such situation. There are things in life you cannot do."The president stated he wanted good relations with everyone in the region and the best possible relations with Montenegro."I am going to do everything so Serbia and Montenegro would cooperate excellently, but I will not keep quiet about any potential violations of the rights of Serbs in Montenegro," he noted, adding that he thought the Montenegrin government should accept Serbs as an equal partner, because it is the only way for the country to move forward.He remarked that his view had been that Montenegro should not secede from Serbia, but since it did, he recognized it as an independent state."But I do not recognize the difference between Serbs and Montenegrins, because there is none," he pointed out.It is unnatural for Belgrade to have better relations with Zagreb than Podgorica nowadays, he said."We wish to have excellent relations with Croatia, but also with Montenegro," Nikolic underlined.When asked if he would visit Srebrenica, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and "condemn the genocide," Nikolic answered that such a thing would probably not happen, because it had already been done by his predecessor."There was no genocide in Srebrenica.
MONTENEGRO TO OPEN EMBASSY IN KOSOVO
PODGORICA, May 31 (Tanjug) – The government of Montenegro decided on Thursday to open an embassy in Kosovo.Montenegro is interested in developing its relations with Kosovo on all levels, said a statement by the government.The Montenegrin government's decision to open the embassy confirms that good relations with neighbours and development of regional cooperation represent a lasting goal, stimulating progress in the countries of the region when it comes to EU and Euroatlantic integration and boosting stability in the region as a whole, the government said.Montenegro recognized Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence on October 9, 2008, and ordered the Foreign Ministry to establish diplomatic relations, which was done on January 15, 2010.
SERBIA – REGION
VAN ROMPUY: WESTERN BALKANS POSES PRIORITY
LONDON, May 31 (Tanjug) – European Council President Herman Van Rompuy said that securing a European future for the Western Balkans would remain among the top priorioties during his term as president.Van Rompuy stated this during a speech at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, stressing that the EU, despite the current crisis, was a successful project and irreplaceable on the global political scene, and that the stabilization of the Western Balkans was an example of that.The EU's vital role is to stabilize the European continent, mostly through enlargement, but also by providing a promising future after dictatorship (Southern Europe) or civil war (WBalkans), Rompuy noted, the European Council stated.The president of the European Council said securing a European future for the Western Balkans would be one of the highest priorities of his second term in office.
IZETBEGOVIC: REGIONAL RECONCILIATION TO CONTINUE WITH NIKOLIC
SARAJEVO, May 31 (Tanjug) – Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) Bakir Izetbegovic voiced belief that with Tomislav Nikolic as President of Serbia "things will continue to move in the direction of regional reconciliation, improving intergovernmental relations and a common EU path."Izetbegovic said that, if Nikolic continues to send messages of reconciliation and "starts acting the way he promises", the BiH Presidency will soon invite him to pay a visit to Sarajevo."Nikolic is a man who has changed his stances. When you look at what he said 20 or even 10 years ago and compare that to his current views, you will see that this is not the same man. However, we will see whether he only changed his rhetoric or his positions as well, and we will treat him accordingly," Izetbegovic told the Anadolu Agency.