Belgrade, February 02, 2012
SERBIA – ECONOMY
JEREMIC & MUSTAFAYEV: AZERBAIJAN APPROVES LOAN FOR CORIDOR 11
BAKU, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) – Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic and Azerbaijani Economic Development Minister Shahin Mustafayev signed in Baku Thursday an agreement on a EUR 300 million Azerbaijani loan to complete a section of the road Corridor 11 in central Serbia.After signing the document, Jeremic said an important step had been taken toward strengthening economic ties between Serbia and Azerbaijan. We started talking about building the highway a few months ago, and today we signed the agreement, said the Serbian foreign minister, who co-chairs with Mustafayev the Serbia-Azerbaijan joint committee for economic cooperation.Jeremic told Tanjug that the Azerbaijani government had allocated significant resources from their state funds for the loan, under terms which, he said, were far more favorable than in the market."We will build together the road section from Ljig to Preljina. The works can begin almost immediately, all assets have been secured and when the highway is built, one will be able to reach Preljina from Ljig in less than half an hour," he said.According to Jeremic, it is a large-scale project, which includes the construction of 60 bridges, five tunnels and a significant investment in infrastructure in Serbia. He noted that a series of other important projects had also been discussed during his visit, and Azerbaijan had shown it was very interested in investing in agriculture, cooperation in the pharmaceutical industry and many other joint projects of mutual interest.The Azerbaijani government has granted the loan to build the section from Ljig to Preljina at a fixed interest rate of four percent, to be paid off in 15 years with a grace period of three years, while the highway construction will be a joint venture between Serbian and Azerbaijani companies.The loan agreement was tentatively agreed upon at the meeting of the joint Committee for economic cooperation between Serbia and Azerbaijan in Belgrade in November last year.
TADIC: INSISTING ON INNOVATIVENESS AS A DEVELOPMENT FACTOR
BELGRADE, Feb. 1 (Beta) – President Tadic stated that it is necessary for a factor of innovation to be "injected" into the economy, so that competitiveness is secured at a time of serious economic crisis, and that one must search for realistic solutions and fight for the preservation of jobs. Speaking at the ceremony marking the start of construction of a factory of Danish company Grundfos in Indjija, Tadic stressed that innovativeness is also important in politics for facing unusual problems and challenges and for solving problems on the internal plane."Innovativeness as the solving of problems in a different way becomes a demand in the time we are living in, in the crisis that affects each country in the world rich and poor alike," Tadic said. The Serbian president said that each municipality, bureau or administrative unit in Serbia must demonstrate innovativeness, because this is how one attracts investors and the state becomes more attractive compared with others in the region.
K&M – DIALOGUE
STEFANOVIC: NO SOLUTION WITHOUT OBSERVING RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, Feb. 1 (Beta) – The chief of the Belgrade team for negotiations with Pristina, Borislav Stefanovic, said that he is prepared to resume the dialog in the shortest possible time, but that there is no room for an agreement about the regional representation of Pristina without observing U.N. Resolution 1244. "We expect the observing of what is a recognized international fact Resolution 1244. Without it there is no room for an agreement... A rigid, minimalist stand of Pristina is expected. I hope there is room for this stand to change," Stefanovic told BETA. In his words, the Kosovo authorities have a problem with the opposition, which views all agreements with Belgrade as treason and the abandoning of Kosovo's independence. "However, this must not be a justification for Pristina for their lack of constructiveness, because of the fact that we all have a political reality to take into account. However, the priority should be the solving of the population's problems," he said.
BAN KIMOON: TENSION AFFECTS DIALOG & EU INTEGRATION
NEWYORK, Feb. 1 (Beta) – The tense situation in northern Kosovo is greatly affecting the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina, and the talks on the region's European prospects, U.N. Secretary General Ban Kimoon said in report on the situation in Kosovo. In the report, which BETA had access to, Ban Kimoon expressed satisfaction because of the resumption of the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina and the reached agreements, but also concern over the slow progress in the return of the displaced and shedding light on the fate of the missing. The document also said it is still not clear whether the referendum on accepting Kosovo institutions will be held in northern Kosovo. Partly as a consequence of the stands and activities of Pristina, the Kosovo Serbs and Belgrade, the situation in northern Kosovo is still tense and potentially unstable, and is greatly affecting the current political discourse. This is also reflected on the EUmediated dialog between Belgrade and Pristina, and on the talks about the European prospects of the region, Ban Kimoon said in the report, which the U.N. Security Council is to review on Feb. 8.
DE MARNHAC'S PRIORITY: FIGHTING ORGANIZED CRIME & CORRUPTION
BELGRADE, Feb. 1 (Beta) – EULEX chief Xavier de Marnhac said the mission's priorities would be curbing organized crime and corruption and support to the Belgrade-Pristina dialog. At a meeting of the Board for rule of order and law, he said the priorities would also include the freedom of movement and functioning of the Kosovo institutions in Kosovo's north. He added that efforts should be invested toward improving a framework for confiscating illegally obtained property. "As the mission chief, I will focus on three fields. Firstly, the fight against organized crime and corruption, particularly in regard to joint activities with the Kosovo institutions; secondly, the support to the dialog between Kosovo and Serbia under EU mediation; thirdly reestablishing of the freedom of movement and our institutions in Kosovo's north," De Marnhac explained.
BRAMMERTZ: DEL PONTE DESTROYED EVIDENCE ON YELLOW HOUSE
BELGRADE, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) – Important evidence on organ harvesting from Kosovo Serbs in the Yellow house in north Albania were destroyed at the time of former chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia Carla Del Ponte and with consent of her office, reads the statement from the office of ICTY Chief Prosecutor Serge Brammertz addressed at the Serbian daily Pres.Del Ponte stated for the Wednesday edition of the Belgrade weekly Nedeljnik that NATO and UNMIK thwarted the investigation into the human organ harvesting in the Yellow house, and that she knows who ordered the destruction of evidence as she was in constant contact with her successor Serge Brammertz, but added that she did not want to reveal the identity of the instigator as that would not be fair.According to her, there is a lack of political will to shed light and resolve the Yellow house case. When asked about the fact that she had an insight into the UNMIK confidential report on crimes in the Yellow house back in 2004 but that she did not press charges by the end of the year when the ICTY deadline expired, Del Ponte said that she was not able to continue the probe due to numerous obstacles.
SERBIA – EU
DEGERT: CANDIDATE STATUS IS ATTAINABLE GOAL
BELGRADE, Feb. 1 (Tanjug) –Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert has stated that Serbia could get the EU candidate status late in February provided it made progress in fulfillment of conditions.Degert told journalists after the end of the 23rd Club of Lobbyists of Serbia that since December, when the European Council postponed the decision on Serbia's candidate status for March, progress was made in the implementation of the agreements between Belgrade and Pristina, but added that much more needs to be done.The agreement on freedom of movement came into force on December 26, and progress is also expected in mutual recognition of diplomas between Belgrade and Pristina, Degert said, adding that the candidate status is possible and attainable goal.He recalled that Brussels expects Serbia to make progress in the implementation of previously reached agreements, and pointed to the importance of regional cooperation and reaching of an inclusive solution for Pristina's regional representation, as well as the need for full freedom of movement in Kosovo for all KFOR and EULEX members to realize their mandates.Degert added that he understands that the December 9 decision by the European Council triggered disappointment and embitterment in Serbia, stressing that at the time Belgrade was expected to return to the dialogue with Pristina and implement the previously reached agreements.Unfortunately, that did not happen, Degert said, recalling that in its opinion released on October 12 the European Commission clearly stated that Serbia should get the EU candidate status and the beginning of the negotiations.The EU foreign ministers will decide on Serbia's candidate status on February 27 and 28, and the decision will be confirmed at a summit of the heads of state and government on March 1.
SERBIA NEEDS TO WORK FAST AND DECISIVELY
BELGRADE, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) – Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia Vincent Degert said Thursday that Serbia needs to work fast and decisively to meet the condition for EU candidate status.In a statement for the press at the conference "New Regional Policies and European Experiences," Degert explained that the Council of Europe has set three clear conditions. We need to work on meeting these conditions. It is not easy, but we should work fast and decisively. Serbia has shown determination, and we must do everything in time, Degert said.According to him, a lot is already being done to meet the conditions. He reminded that the freedom of movement agreement has been in effect since December 26, that work is under way on the implementation of university degree recognition, and that talks are ongoing regarding Kosovo's regional representation.We are working to solve the issue of regional representation. EU mediator Robert Cooper visited Pristina. The talks need to continue, he underlined. Degert said that despite the crisis, EU enlargement is still attractive.According to him, the positive outcome of the recent referendum in Croatia is a positive signal for the region, which shows the EU wants to see progress in the entire Western Balkans. This is good news for Serbia as well, it shows the door is open, Degert said.
SERBIA – REGION
PUSIC: WAY TO BE FOUND FOR SERBIA TO MEET CRITERIA
ZAGREB, Feb. 1 (Beta) – Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Vesna Pusic said she hoped a way would be found for Serbia to fulfill all preconditions and obtain the EU candidacy. "Croatia's position is that we hope that a way will be found to meet the preconditions and that Serbia will get the candidacy. We believe that it would be good for Serbia, but also for the region that Serbia could get the candidacy when the matter will be decided in March," Pusic told the media in Zagreb. Pusic also said she had discussed the matter with Serbian President Boris Tadic and Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic in Belgrade on Jan. 31. Pusic hailed Slovakia for being the first EU member state to confirm Croatia's accession treaty on Feb. 1. "It is a very important and positive decision for Croatia," Pusic said, noting that the Slovak parliament passed the decision unanimously.
BIH STILL LACKS STAND ON JEREMIC'S UNGA CANDIDACY
SARAJEVO, Feb. 2 (Tanjug) – The candidacy of Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic for the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) chair has not yet been debated by officials in Sarajevo, Depuy Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) Ana Trisic-Babic has said.Given that Lithuania also has a candidate, the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs should issue an official document regarding the matter and submit it to the Presidency, Radio Free Europe quoted her as saying for the website Sarajevo-x.com.She pointed out that the Ministry should also weigh between where Serbia had or had not supported BiH, adding that the body would most likely give a recommendation to the Presidency for whom to vote."Serbia backed BiH for any kind of candidacy," Trisic-Babic noted, adding that Serbia is a neighboring country, and perhaps BiH has more interest there (than in Lithuania).However, Chair of the BiH Presidency Zeljko Komsic said that he personally would not support the initiative.As far as I am concerned, BiH will not support Jeremic's candidacy for the chair of the UN General Assembly, said Komsic, without stating the reasons for his position.BiH Presidency Member Bakir Izetbegovic did not give his opinion on Jeremic's run for the UNGA chair, website said.