Belgrade, August 06, 2012
GROUP OF SERBIAN NATIONALS EVACUATED FROM SYRIA
BELGRADE, August 03 (Tanjug) - A group of 40 citizens of Serbia and their families were evacuated Friday from Syria by Jat Airways aircraft. They arrived with the assistance of the Ministries of Foreign and Internal Affairs of Serbia. Serbian citizens, mostly women married to Syrians, arrived at airport, where they were welcomed by representatives of the two ministries which organized the evacuation by order of the Serbian government.About 200 Serbian citizens lived in Syria, a country torn by civil war, before the evacuation.Most of them have not yet decided to come back to Serbia, since they are in mixed marriages.In Aleppo, where fighting is underway and from where it was not safe to evacuate Serbian citizens, a few dozen of our citizens remain, with whom we are in touch, Dragan Markovic from the Ministry of Internal Affairs told reporters.According to Markovic, if the remaining citizens of Serbia decide to evacuate from Syria, another flight from Damascus will be organized.
BURNS CONVEYS OBAMA'S CONGRATULATIONS TO DACIC
BELGRADE, August 04 (Tanjug) - U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns has told Serbia's Prime Minister Ivica Dacic over the phone the U.S. is looking forward to working with Serbia's new government and is convinced Serbia's future is in the EU.Burns conveyed U.S. President Barack Obama's congratulations to Dacic for becoming prime minister, adding that the U.S. expected progress in Serbia's EU intergation, continuation of reforms and visible and sustainable results in the talks with Pristina, Dacic's cabinet has released.Burns stressed the U.S. also wanted good relations with Serbia, the release says.Dacic noted that good cooperation with the U.S. was a priority for the new government.Serbia wants to continue its European path, which involves harmonizing national legislation with the EU's and further reforms, continuation of the talks with Pristina and implementation of the agreements made by the earlier government, Dacic underscored.Serbia wishes to be a factor of stability in the region, and it is willing to build an even stronger cooperation with the U.S. in economy, defence and the battle against organized crime, corruption and terrorism in the interest of both countries, Dacic pointed out.
VUCIC SECRETARY OF NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL
BELGRADE, August 03 (Tanjug) - President Tomislav Nikolic appointed on Friday Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Aleksandar Vucic secretary of the National Security Council, the president's press service has released.Vucic atended a meeting of the council on Friday as its secretary, the release says, adding that the council discussed a number of security issues.Vucic's appointment became possible after the amendments on the law on the basic organization of security services had been adopted, splitting the offices of the head of the president's cabinet and the secretary of the National Security Council.This way, Vucic will cordinate the work of the security agencies.Vucic is minister of defence and deputy prime minister for defence, security and battle against crime and corruption.He has also been in charge of the Serbian Progressive Party, the strongest party in the government coalition, since May, when Nikolic resigned the post after being elected president of Serbia.
VULIN: PRISTINA INSTITUTIONS IN KOSOVO PARALLEL
BELGRADE, August 06 (Tanjug) - Head of the Office for Kosovo Aleksandar Vulin said Monday it was Pristina's institutions in Kosovo that were illegal rather than Belgrade's. According to Vulin, Kosovo cannot be independent until the Serbian government and people decide this, and the primary task of the state is to enable Serbs in the southern province to live a better and more just life."The reality on the ground is that as long as the state of Serbia and the Serbs living in Kosovo do not decide about Kosovo's independence, it cannot be independent. Maybe the reality is that the majority of Albanians do not accept the Serbian state, but it is also a reality that Kosovo will not exist as an independent state without the will of Serbia and the Serbs in Kosovo," Vulin told Radio Television of Serbia.Vulin said the new government would change the attitude towards Kosovo Serbs, who were treated by the previous government "as a third party who needed to be sent difficult and important messages.""They are a part of Serbia, they have a right to be heard and they will be. If they listen to their government, it is logical that the government also hears them out," said Vulin.He said Serbia would respect the agreements signed in the talks between Belgrade and Pristina.
GRUBJESIC: CHANCES FOR EU TALKS DATE MINIMAL IN DECEMBER
BELGRADE, August 06 (Tanjug) - Suzana Grubjesic, deputy president for the European integration, has stated that the chances for Serbia to get a date for the beginning of the EU accession talks in December are minimal, adding that the next deadline is middle of 2013.Grubjesic said that there are no new or secret preconditions that Serbia should meet in order to make the next step on the European pathway, but added that it is necessary to implement the agreements reached between the previous government and Pristina in the technical talks."The technical dialogue has to continue and finish, the issues that are yet to be tackled are telecommunications and electricity. Second, the process of normalization of relations with Pristina should be launched. But previously, Serbia needs to reach a consensus on Kosovo, and define a clear strategy at the top state level," Grubjesic said in an interview for daily Blic.She expects that the dialogue with Pristina will be raised to the political level, and that in that case it will be led by President Nikolic or some other top state official.When asked whether she is certain that there will not be new preconditions such as opening of mutual offices of Belgrade and Pristina, the deputy president underlined that there are and there will always be such attempts, but the expertise of our diplomacy is not to get in such a situation.Asked whether the new government will be ready to carry our major arrests as an EU proof of fight with organized crime and corruption, Grubjesic said that the issue of abuse and manipulations in large banks, such as Agrobanka, has been opened, and we will see what will happen. The truth must emerge, and justice has to be met, Grubjesic underscored.
DACIC: DEEP LINKS BETWEEN SERBS AND SLOVAKS
BACKI PETROVAC/NOVI SAD, August 03 (Tanjug) - Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has said there are strong ties between the Serbs and Slovaks and that the government's priority is to preserve peace, joint life and tolerance in Vojvodina, as well as the province's autonomy guaranteed by the Constitution and its statute.
SERBIA – REGION
NIKOLIC TO WORK ON SOLVING PROBLEM OF REFUGEES
BELGRADE, August 03 (Tanjug) - President Tomislav Nikolic said that in cooperation with refugee organizations, he will work to achieve agreement with Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina in connection with the resolution of problems related to their property and acquired rights.In talks with representatives of several associations of refugees and displaced persons active in Serbia, Nikolic also urged the solving of the problem of missing persons, who number 2,000 in Croatia, 10,000 in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 900 in the Serbian southern province, the president's press service announced. Nikolic on this occasion pointed out that in the previous period, state authorities have not seriously made any efforts to solve the key problems faced by the refugees and displaced persons. Representatives of associations of refugees stated that they are encouraged by the determination of the President to help refugees and displaced persons in resolving their problems. This, they said, is best seen in the fact that this meeting was held on their first application, while term of the previous president, 11 letters that were sent were left unanswered, the statement says.
JOSIPOVIC TO MEET NIKOLIC WHEN HE CHANGES POLICY
ZAGREB, August 03 (Tanjug) - Croatian President Ivo Josipovic will meet with his Serbian counterpart when Nikolic clearly shows that he has changed his attitude toward neighboring countries, Josipovic's office announced. Given the policy which Nikolic advocated in the 90s and his recent statements about Vukovar and Srebrenica, a meeting of the two presidents will be possible when Nikolic clearly shows that he has changed his attitude toward neighboring countries, the statement said in response to Nikolic's announcement that he would soon meet with Josipovic.Nikolic told Belgrade daily Danas he would officially meet with Josipovic soon.Josipovic welcomes Nikolic's wish to continue bilateral meetings and policy of reconciliation and good neighborly relations, the statement says.Since the beginning of his term, President Josipovic has been advocating good relations with Serbia, including the need for resolving the many outstanding issues between the two countries, the statement says. This is President Josipovic's policy today and in the future, the statement says.
COMEMORATION FOR VICTIMS OF STORM HELD IN BELGRADE
BELGRADE, August 05 (Tanjug) - A commemoration for the victims of Operation Storm, conducted in Croatia in 1995, was held at the Church of St. Mark in Belgrade, where Orthodox Patriarch Irinej said there was no excuse for such lawlessness and crimes.The service, which Irinej held together with priests of the Orthodox Church, was attended by Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic, Chief of the General Staff Ljubisa Dikovic, members of the Armed Forces and a great number of people, including Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin.The patriarch said the commemoration was dedicated to those who died during a "mindless time."It is hard to find words to justify those terrible crimes that happened 17 years ago in "our western lands or later in our southern lands, where Serbs suffered like never before in their history," Irinej stated.He expects "the powerful people of this world to ensure that justice is done, that people returned to their homes, fields and apartments and that justice was the same for us as for other nations."The families of the victims of Storm laid a wreath and lit candles at the memorial near the Church of St. Mark.
RUZIC: EU SHOULD TAKE STAND ON STORM
BELGRADE, August 05 (Tanjug) - Head of the Socialist Party of Serbia parliamentary group Branko Ruzic said on Saturday it was high time the EU took a stand regarding Operation Storm and considered the fact that a country about to become its member was celebrating the most shameful day of its history as a national holiday."Celebration of a crime is certainly not a value the members of the EU advocate," Ruzic stated in response to a question from a reporter at the parliament, adding that the fact Croatia was celebrating Storm as a national holiday was a confirmation of double standards."It has to be reassessed, because it diminshes all the victims of that criminal endeavour from 17 years ago in the most brutal way," Ruzic noted."In the year when Croatia is expected to formally become a member, the EU and Brussels should state an official view and practically bring every future member state in line with the values fostered by the EU," Ruzic said.
THOSE RESPONSIBLE FOR STORM MUST BE PUNISHED
BELGRADE, August 05 (Tanjug) - Parliament Speaker Nebojsa Stefanovic said on Saturday those responsible for the crimes during the Croatian police operation Storm in 1995 must answer for it, that the exiled should return to their homes and all international institutions and the EU should be involved in solving that important issue for Serbia.
SERBIA – ECONOMY
DACIC TO FORM ECONOMIC RECOVERY COUNCIL
BELGRADE, August 06 (Tanjug) - Prime Minister Ivica Dacic has said he will form a council for the economic recovery of Serbia by the end of August, which will be made up of businessmen, economists and bankers."I expect the council to analyze the economic situation quickly and propose ideas and measures for Serbia's economic recovery," Dacic said for the Monday edition of Press.He said the council would be composed of people whose knowledge and experience could contribute to Serbia's economic advancement, pointing out that they would not be paid for the work."These are people who know what is needed to revive the economy, how jobs can be preserved and created, so I want to us to do what is best for Serbia, in a partner and advisory relationship," said the prime minister."There are different associations of businessmen, economists, and I want the government council, which will be open to all sorts of opinions and proposals, to help the people live better. We are coming together to work for Serbia, which is the common interest of us all," said Dacic.
LJAJIC & WARLICK: SERBIA'S WTO ACCESSION TO SPEED UP
BELGRADE, August 03 (Tanjug) - U.S. Ambassador in Serbia Mary Warlick and Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Rasim Ljajic agreed on Friday that Serbia needs to access the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as soon as possible, Ljajic's cabinet released.Warlick expressed readiness to assist Serbia in the removal of remaining obstacles on the country's path to full WTO membership.As the minister of foreign and domestic trade and telecommunications, Ljajic also addressed the enhancement of bilateral cooperation in the telecommunication sector in his talks with Warlick, and established that the signing of the memorandum on understanding between the U.S. and the Serbian government as regards cooperation in the sector of information and communication technologies, which was drafted and agreed on in May.During a separate meeting, Ljajic met with Indonesian Ambassador Samuel Samson.During the meeting, the officials expressed readiness to expand the economic cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, defence and pharmaceutical industry.The officials pointed out that in this context, the forthcoming business forum of Serbian and Indonesian businessmen, which is due to be held in Belgrade in September, bears special importance.During the meeting, Samson voiced the stand of the Indonesian government which sees a strategic partner in Serbia when it comes to strengthening the economic positions in south-east and central Europe, and expressed the expectation that the two countries' economic cooperation would become more intensive and substantial in the time to come, Ljajic's cabinet released.
CHINESE OFFER EUR 2.5 BILLION TO BUILD CORRIDOR 11
BELGRADE, August 03 (Tanjug) - The China Road and Bridge Corporation, which is building a bridge over the Danube in Belgrade, has made an offer to Koridori Srbije to fund and construct Corridor 11, a motorway from Belgrade to the Montenegrin border, that totals EUR 2.5 billion.The offer involves the construction of three large sections from Belgrade to Preljina, from Preljina to Pozega and from Pozega to Boljari, with the total length of 270 km, head of Koridori Srbije Mihajlo Misic has told Tanjug.Misic informed on Sunday Minister of Transport Milutin Mrkonjic about the details of the offer and Mrkonjic supported the project."We have just informed the minister about the new offer that the Chinese government made to Koridori Srbije. The offer involves the construction of Corridor 11, from Belgrade to the Montenegrin border, as well as the construction of a section of road between Bubanj Potok and Pancevo," Misic remarked, adding that the Chinese offer was very attractive.The offer is based on the Chinese government decision to approve a USD 10 billion credit for projects in Southeastern Europe, he explained.The Chinese offered a 2.5-year deadline to build the motorway through western Serbia down to the border with Montenegro if all the procedures were completed previously.Several ways of funding the project are planned.One of them is a preferential creadit with an interest of 2 percent a year. A concession is offered as an alternative, stating that the invested money would be returned by allowing the Chinese to exploit the motorway for a period of time, which would be defined by a contract.The credit includes a 15 percent participation by the government, by using the funds to buy off land, finance projects or some other purpose, Misic noted.He said that 40 percent of the construction would be done by Serbian and 60 percent by Chinese companies.
OIL SHALE EXPLOITATION TO BE INTENSIFIED
BELGRADE, August 06 (Tanjug) - The Ministry of Mining, Natural Resources and Spatial Planning intends to intensify the project of research and exploitation of oil shale in Serbia, which could provide the country with around 1.5 million tons of synthetic oil annually, Minister Milan Bacevic has said.