Daily Survey

Belgrade, January 05, 2012

SERBIA

FIFTH AMBASSADORIAL CONFERENCE ON JAN. 16 AND 17.

BELGRADE, Jan. 4. (Beta) - The ambassadors of Serbia to foreign countries will gather in Belgrade in midJanuary at the fifth ambassadorial conference organized by the Serbian Foreign Ministry, it was announced on Jan. 4.
This year's ambassadorial conference will be held on Jan. 16 and 17 at the Palace Serbia, and it will be opened by Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, BETA was told by the Ministry.
The first ambassadorial conference in Belgrade was organized in December 2007, on the model of developed diplomatic services of the world and with the intention for this to become a regular practice in Serbia. A number of ministers, state officials and special guests have participated in the work of previous ambassadorial conferences.
In January 2009, the special guest was Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, in January 2010 Greek Foreign Minister Jorgos Papandreu, and last year Slovak Foreign Minister Mikulas Dzurinda. Serbia has ambassadors in more than 60 countries.

DJUKIC DEJANOVIC: CANDIDATE STATUS IN MARCH IN UNCERTAIN

BELGRADE, Jan. 4. (Beta) - Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic stated that she would like Serbia to obtain EU member candidate status as soon as possible, but that it is not certain if this will take place in March.
In an interview to BETA, she said that it would be perilous to abandon the European path, and that she would like to see the results of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina moving in the direction of Serbia obtaining candidate status in March.
"Of course it (obtaining candidate status in March) is uncertain. If it were certain, I would definitely want to spread the good news to the population and to all of us. Of course it is uncertain, and there are some controversial elements," said the Parliament speaker. She said that Serbia must intensify efforts to become part of the EU one day.
"I claim that it is our official policy, and my personal conviction, that we have no reason to give up. We must intensify our need to be part of the EU one day, which means to obtain candidate status as soon as possible, and I would like the results of the dialogue to go in the direction of us obtaining it in March," Djukic Dejanovic said.

KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

BOGDANOVIC: REFERENDUM NOT IN INTEREST OF STATE

LEPOSAVIC, Jan. 4. (Tanjug) - Minister for Kosovo Metohija Goran Bogdanovic said on Wednesday that a possible referendum in northern Kosovo would not be in the interest of the state, since it could complicate even further the situation in that part of the province.
Bogdanovic said in a statement for Tanjug that he is rather apprehensive that by taking these moves, the citizens from northern Kosovo are coming into conflict with their own state, as at the moment the holding of such a referendum is not in the state's interest.
"If you know in advance what would be the answer to the question (as to whether Serbs in northern Kosovo accept Kosovo's institutions), then I am of the opinion that you should not be wasting your time and energy on a referendum. Such moves could provoke a reaction from the international community and Albanians," Bogdanovic warned.
"If anyone wanted Kosovo's institutions, we would not have set up roadblocks in July 2011 so as to prevent Pristina from establishing its own institutions," said the minister for Kosovo Metohija.
He said that the referendum is evidently in the interest of certain political parties in Belgrade, which want to complicate the situation in the country even further.
Passing a brief comment on the fact that local representatives of the Democratic Party (DS) failed to appear at today's meeting in Leposavic, Bogdanovic said that the DS representatives did not want to take part in politicking, in somebody's game aimed at making the situation even worse.
"Our stand is clear. We will fight for our interests throughout Kosovo Metohija by peaceful means, through dialogue," Bogdanovic stressed.

REFERENDUM DEBATE IN LEPOSAVIC HELD

LEPOSAVIC, Jan. 4. (Beta) - The Leposavic municipal assembly decided on Jan. 4 to hold a referendum in this municipality on Feb. 15, at which the citizens will declare their stand regarding the acceptance of Kosovo institutions in the north of the Province.
Deputies of the ruling Democratic Party did not attend the meeting, and reporters failed to find out why they were absent. The Democrats hold office in a coalition with the Socialist Party of Serbia and the Party of United Pensioners of Serbia.
There were 16 deputies present at the session and they all voted in favor of scheduling the referendum, which has already been scheduled in the three remaining municipalities in northern Kosovo. The referendum question will be: "Do you accept the institutions of the Republic of Kosovo in the north of Kosovo and Metohija?"
The chief of the Leposavic municipality, Branko Ninic, told BETA earlier that he was against the referendum because there is no need for municipalities in northern Kosovo to declare their stand on the issue, when the Serbian government has not recognized the institutions of Pristina, either. The Leposavic municipal assembly has 31 seats.

LEITHEN: U.S. TROOPS WILL STAY IN KOSOVO

PRISTINA, , Jan. 4. (Tanjug) - Commander of the U.S. troops in KFOR, Colonel Jeffrey Leithen, has said that the U.S. would not withdraw its troops from Kosovo in 2012.
On Tuesday, Colonel Leithen told Radio Tema, based in the city of Urosevac, southern Kosovo, that the current U.S. contingent would remain in Kosovo until September 2012 and then be replaced by new troops that should stay in Kosovo until June 2013.
That is what I can say for sure, he said, adding that it was completely normal that the U.S. Army troops should leave Kosovo some day, according to the Koha NET website.
Leithen refuted recent media speculations about the possibility that the current U.S. troops might be replaced by the country's troops from Turkey.
He said that the people who would replace the current U.S. Army contingent at Camp Bondsteel were coming from the U.S. state of South Carolina, adding that it would be the 16th U.S. contingent since the launch of the KFOR mission.
Media wrote recently that the U.S. would withdraw its troops from Kosovo by end of 2012, as part of budgetsaving measures in the United States Army.
The Albanian National News Agency (NOA) said that the allegations about withdrawal of American soldiers from Bondsteel could trigger instability in Kosovo. 1/4/2012 6:36:00 PM

TRADE MEASURES WITH KOSOVO IN FORCE AGAIN

PRISTINA, Jan. 4. (Tanjug) - The European Commission's (EC) Office in Kosovo released on Wednesday that autonomous trade measures (ATMs) came into force, ensuring duty-free access to the Union's market for exporters from Kosovo.
The ATMs provide the countries of the Western Balkans with duty-free access to the EU market for practically all goods produced in the region.
The trade preferences, established for the countries which are part of the stabilisation and association process, are aimed at revitalizing the economies of the Western Balkans by providing them with a privileged access to the EU market.
The trade preferences had been granted to Kosovo earlier, but they expired on December 31, 2010.
The trade measures establish the advantageous framework for increasing the trade between the EU and region, and at the same encourage foreign direct investments and economic development.
Since the EU member states are already Kosovo's top trading partner, the ATMs should further stimulate the trade and boost the exports from Kosovo to the EU, the EC office in Pristina released.
The overall exports from Kosovo to the EU totalled EUR 147 million in 2010.
In 2000, the EU established for the first time a uniform system of trade preferences for the Western Balkans, ensuring duty-free access to the Union's market for practically all goods from the region.