Daily Survey

Belgrade, February 08, 2012


SERBIA

TADIC MEETS FINI

BELGRADE, Feb 08 (B 92) Serbian President Boris Tadic talked on Wednesday with President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies Gianfranco Fini.
The two officials discussed bilateral relations and strengthening of economic cooperation between the two countries.
The Serbian president expressed gratitude to his guest for Italy's support for Serbia's EU integration, the president's press service released.
During his oneday visit to Belgrade, Fini will also meet Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Ðukic Dejanovic, at whose invitation he arrived in Belgrade, and heads of parliamentary groups.
Fini will also confer with Interior Minister Ivica Dacic, and the talks will be dominated by the Italian parliament's support for Serbia's EU path, regional cooperation and bilateral relations.
Fini's diplomatic adviser Alessandro Cortese said recently that "Italy wishes to send an encouraging message to Serbia in its EU integration process" ahead of a decision on Serbia's EU candidate status in March.

SERBIA - K&M - DIALOG

GOVT. CALLS FOR PEACEFUL SOLUTION, FURTHER DIALOGUE

BELGRADE, Feb. 07 (Tanjug) - The Serbian government is searching for a peaceful solution of all issues in Kosovo Metohija (KiM), and will continue the dialogue with interim institutions in Pristina in the time to come so as to improve living conditions of all citizens of the province, it is stated in the Report on the Serbian government's activities on stabilizing the situation in KiM in the period from November 1, 2011 until January 31, 2012.
According to the report that Tanjug had insight into, the government has managed to defuse the existing tensions and preserve peace necessary for the survival of Serbs in Kosovo, which is one of the most important segments of the current government's policy.
"It should be taken into account that the government's moves are at this point conditioned by the responsibility the government has for the lives of all citizens of KiM. The government will in the following period do everything to preserve the lives of the Serbian people regardless of whether they live north or south of the Ibar River," it is stated in the report discussed by the Serbian parliament Committee for KiM Tuesday.
According to the report, the Serbian government succeeded in ensuring normal functioning of education and medical institutions, as well as electricity supply, and continue with developing infrastructure, construction and revitalization of certain facilities and road network.
The government's activities in respect of the return and survival in KiM also continued. The government, via the authorized ministry, is carrying out projects of construction and restoration of houses, as well as construction of apartments for returnees and internally displaced people, the report reads.
The government has continued supporting the projects of NGOs and charity organizations, as well as sending humanitarian aid to the most vulnerable population in the province. The report also lists all events which occurred in November 2011 during the setting up and removing of barricades at the administrative crossings in northern Kosovo.
The government recalled that it had expressed dissatisfaction over KFOR's intervention, and called on the mission to abstain from using force and remain within the framework of its status neutral mandate. Serbian President Boris Tadic and the government called on the representatives of international security forces to abstain from use of force and further actions, and on the Serbs to remove the existing barricades as they have achieved their purpose, the report reads.
"The government welcomed the removal of barricades and once again confirmed that they fulfilled their purpose, and that after the agreement reached in Brussels on administrative crossings, there are no more reasons for their existence," the report adds.
The document says that the holding of the referendum in municipalities in northern Kosovo is scheduled for February 1415. It also reminds of the agreements reached in the dialogue with Pristina, as well as the government provisions enabling their implementation.

STEFANOVIC: BELGRADE CONSTRUCTIVE,PRISTINA STALLS

BELGRADE, Feb. 07 (Tanjug) - Head of Belgrade's negotiating team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic stated on Tuesday that Belgrade maintains a constructive approach, insisting on the continuation of the dialogue and providing new solutions and propositions while Pristina is stalling with the negotiations.
We do not want to wait for the last moment (to reach an agreement) and it is positive that the entire international community sees that Serbia is very constructive and has put forth new solutions and propositions, Stefanovic said and added that Serbia is not the side that is currently stalling the talks or finding a solution, it is Pristina that is doing that.
He expressed expectation that such approach of the Belgrade delegation would yield very tangible positive results.
In an interview for Tanjug, Stefanovic said that the date when the talks would be resumed has not yet been set and that competent bodies are working on it, and added that the Belgrade team keeps constant contact with the international community which is conducting talks with Pristina. He expressed hope that all the efforts would result in convergence of the two side's stands.
Our positions are clear and they will not change, especially as regards the implementation of UNSC Resolution 1244, the Serbian official said and added that there are several propositions and they mainly come from the Serbian side. In case the date of continuation of talks is set, the public will be notified immediately.
Stefanovic did not wish to comment on the reports of Pristinabased media as regards various modalities and propositions as regards Kosovo's presentation.
Speculation should not be commented on and discussed because it is a part of Pristina's media and political existence, Stefanovic said.

BOGDANOVIC: SITUATION COMPLEX, GOVERMENT HANDLES CRISIS WELL

BELGRADE, Feb. 07 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister for Kosovo Metohija (KiM) Goran Bogdanovic stated Tuesday that the Serbian government has handled the crisis in KiM well, particularly the one in the north, all the while trying to find solutions that would contribute to peace.
Bogdanovic also pointed out that the situation in the province must not be used for political purposes, and reiterated that the holding of a referendum in northern Kosovo is unnecessary.
At the session of the Committee for KiM to discuss the report on the Serbian government's activities to stabilize the situation in KiM in the period from November 1, 2011 until January 31, 2012, Bogdanovic pointed out that the situation remains very complex He condemned violence whichever side it may come from, and assessed that it is necessary for the Serbian government to cooperate with the representatives of international missions in the province.
"It turned out to be the best way to protect the interests of the Serbs in Kosovo," Bogdanovic underlined, pointing out that the government is doing everything possible within its jurisdictions to resolve the topical issues and make it possible for Serbs to continue to live in Kosovo.
Bogdanovic underlined that the Serbian government’s approach to resolving the crisis in Kosovo is very constructive. "The main characteristic of the government in crisis situations is to find a way to relive tensions and prevent escalation of violence," he said.
He assessed that the government's activities have yielded results, as they have secured a normal provision of supplies to northern Kosovo Metohija and normal functioning of institutions of the state of Serbia throughout the province. "On behalf of the government I condemn violence whichever side it may come from, as well as Pristina's unilateral act aimed at escalating conflicts," Bogdanovic stressed. He once again called on EULEX and KFOR to be status neutral, not to take any sides, and to act with the aim of contributing to the stabilization of the situation.
Regarding the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, he said that the talks were conducted in accordance with the Serbian Constitution and UN SC Resolution 1244, and with the six point plan of the UN secretary general, and that their goal is to find a sustainable solution for the citizens of Kosovo.
The minister reiterated that the holding of a referendum (on acceptance of Pristina institutions) in the north of Kosovo is unnecessary.
The referendum does not bring anything good for Serbia and we have presented arguments why this is not good in the talks with the presidents of the municipalities, Bogdanovic said.
Bogdanovic emphasized that no one has the intention to punish Serbs from northern Kosovo because they are asking for a referendum. He, however, noted that one should reflect on what will happen a month or two after the referendum is held, and whether it would lead to a conflict with the state. According to Bogdanovic, without the support of the state, there is no survival for the Serbs in Kosovo.

SERBIA – ECONOMY - FINANCE

SUTANOVAC: ZASTAVA ARMS TO SIGN CONTRACTS WORTH USD 330 MIL

KRAGUJEVAC, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Sutanovac stated in Kragujevac (central Serbia) late Tuesday that the weapons factory Zastava Arms will this year sign contracts worth almost USD 330 million, which is nearly nine times more than in 2011.
Only the contracts that are related to the transfer of technologies, and are not onetime contracts, are worth USD 170 million, Sutanovac told journalists. According to him, the greatest number of products, hunting and sports weapons, will be exported to the U.S. market.
Speaking about the issue of layoffs in the factory, the minister said that "experts have estimated that a certain redundancy exists," but added that the ministry is trying "not to fire the workers like in previous years, but rather to create a social program, because if the factory does not rejuvenate, it will face great problems."
Sutanovac said that "the business of storage and demilitarization of ammunition, which, among other companies, will be dealt by the Tehnicki remontni zavod Kragujevac," is supported by the UN and OSCE. The business is worth USD 12 million, and we already have certain countries which have donated the money and those which announced donations, he said. Sutanovac said that a prototype of terrain vehicle will be made in April, adding that the government has provided the funds for its development.

NESTLE TO INVEST IN SERBIA, EXPORT ICE CREAM TO EU

BELGRADE, Feb. 07 (Beta) - Nestle senior executive Laurent Freixe stated on Feb. 7 that Nestle planned to invest in factories in Serbia that would export products to the market of the European Union.
"The Serbian market is strategically important, which is confirmed by the plans to invest in the development of existing products and the production of Nestle brands that are currently imported into Serbia," Freixe said during a visit to Belgrade.
According to a Nestle statement, in talks with Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, Freixe pointed out that Nestle recognized the potential of Serbian businesses, especially in the food sector.
Freixe went on to say that Nestle's recent acquisition of Centroproizvod, based in a Belgrade suburb, demonstrated its ambitions in Serbia. In 2010, Nestle registered income from sales in the amount of CHF110 billion.

EXPERT: TERMINATING IMF ARRANGEMENT WOULD BE BAD FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, Feb. 07 (Beta) - Belgrade Economics Institute experts said on Feb. 7 that the termination of Serbia's arrangement with the International Monetary Fund would have longterm negative consequences on the development of Serbia.
"That would lead to extreme liquidity problems, a drop in the value of the dinar and a rise in inflation, reduction of investment ratings, higher prices of capital and slower growth," said Institute researcher Stojan Stamenkovic at a presentation of the latest issue of Makroekonomske Analize i Trendovi magazine.
He stressed that Serbia delays affecting the IMF deal had already hurt Serbia, adding that talks with the IMF mission could be hard because the financial institution was not likely to agree to expanding Serbia's budget deficit.
"In talks with the IMF, we will have to face the prediction of a lower GDP rate than the projected 1.5 percent and a possibility that this growth will be zero," Stamenkovic said.
He stressed that securing money for public spending was a separate problem that would exist even if the arrangement with the IMF was not in danger.

SERBIA'S EXTERNAL DEBT TOTALS EUR 23.84 BILLION

BELGRADE, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - Serbia's external debt at the end of November, 2011, totaled EUR 23.84 billion, which is up by EUR 69 million compared to October, reads the magazine Conjuncture Trends of Serbia, published by the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.
Out of the total principle amounting to EUR 22.77, the due principle amounts to EUR 1.19 billion, while the regular interest rate is at EUR 224.8 million. The external debt of the public sector totals EUR 10.61 billion, over 80 percent of which relates to the central authorities.
The private debt is at EUR 13.24 billion, almost two thirds of which relates to enterprises, and one third to banks.