Daily Survey

Belgrade, August 08, 2012


SERBIA

MRKIC: CYPRUS BACKS SERBIA ON ITS EU PATH

NICOSIA, August 08 (Tanjug) –Foreign Minister Ivan Mrkic and his Cypriot counterpart Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis agreed Tuesday that the relations between the two countries were excellent and confirmed the countries' mutual support of each other's territorial integrity, as well as Cypriot support of Serbia's European integration of Serbia.Mrkic is on a one-day visit to Cyprus, his first official visit to a country after assuming the foreign minister office.The Cypriot minister told journalists after the meeting that she and her Serbian colleague had found that the relations between Cyprus and Serbia were traditionally excellent and friendly and that they had discussed their further promotion.Kozakou-Marcoullis thanked Serbia for its support of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Cyprus, stressing that her country also backed the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Serbia.Mrkic said that "Cyprus is a proven friend of Serbia's.""When I arrived in Cyprus and got off the plane I had the impression that I was home. Our talks are still characterized by friendship and by similar, if not identical views on all issues of mutual importance," he said.Kozakou-Marcoullis, who selected Belgrade for her first visit to a foreign country after Cyprus took over the presidency of the EU at the beginning of July, said that during their Tuesday meeting, she had reiterated the message concerning the European perspective of Serbia she had relayed to Mrkic when she had visited Belgrade.During its presidency of the EU Council, Cyprus will make every effort to promote the European perspective of Serbia, said the Cypriot foreign minister.In line with our aim, we hope that Serbia will be able to get a date to start EU membership negotiations by the end of the Cypriot's EU presidency, Kozakou-Marcoullis said. It is a challenging but attainable goal, she added.In order to achieve it, Kozakou-Marcoullis said, it is necessary to meet the criteria set out by Brussels in December, including the one concerning the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.The next European Commision report will be published in October and it is of crucial importance, Kozakou-Marcoullis observed.As Mrkic stressed, Serbia will continue making firm steps towards the EU.We expect our steps to be recognized and evaluated appropriately, he stressed.Speaking about Kosovo, Kozakou-Marcoullis reiterated that the national position of Cyprus, as a state that did not recognize the unilaterally proclaimed independence of Kosovo, remained unchanged.However, as the chair of the EU, Cyprus will adopt a balanced approach, taking into account the views of all member states - both those that have recognized Kosovo and those that have not done that, said the Cypriot Foreign Minister.Cyprus has always showed strong support for the territorial integrity of Serbia, Mrkic said.We have always supported and will continue to support a comprehensive and lasting solution to the Cyprus problem, said the Serbian foreign minister.In this regard, Kozakou-Marcoullis stressed the need for a solution to be based on relevant UN resolutions.The two officials discussed the situation in Egypt and Syria, and Markulis said that the military intervention in Syria should be avoided by all means and that a political solution should be found that would be based on the plan of former UN special envoy Kofi Annan and the conclusions from the conference recently held in Geneva.In the evening, Mrkic will meet with Cyprus President Demetris Christofias.

KOSOVO

BAN SHARPLY CRITICIZES KOSOVO POLICE

NEW YORK, August 08 (Tanjug) –UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon harshly criticized Kosovo police about a series of faults in the previous three months, adding that a lack of action casts a shadow on the ability of the police to face crisis situations and gain public trust.As reported by Radio and Television of Serbia, in his regular, quarterly report on Kosovo, Ban expressed serious concern over the reactions of the Kosovo police during the celebration of the Serbian religious holiday Vidovdan on June 28.Ban also expressed serious criticism of the international community, noting that a lack of a broad consensus greatly impedes reaching of necessary compromises in the process of resolving problems between Belgrade and Pristina.The Security Council will discuss Ban's report on a session scheduled for August 21, at which Russia is again expected to ask for an explanation about training of Libyan and Syrian revolutionary brigade members in Kosovo.At the same time, EULEX said that the investigation into the allegations presented in Dick Marty's report is accelerating, stressing that the contacts with persons who have relevant information for the investigation have been intensified.Investigation Team Head Clint Williamson has established contacts with a few countries so as to secure implementation of a witness protection program.In his last report, Ban once again warned about serious problems of minorities in Kosovo, adding that the previous three months saw only a small number of Serb returnees.Citing the UNHCR data, Ban noted that 131 persons returned to Kosovo in the previous three months, including 45 Serbs, five Roma, 36 Ashkali and Egyptians, 27 Gorani, 12 Bosniaks and five Albanians, which is only a half of the number of returnees in the respective period in 2011.The UN secretary-general said that possible reasons are murder of two Serbs in the village of Talinovac, attacks on Serb houses and vehicles, and threats by the so-called Albanian National Army to Serb returnees in eight villages in the vicinity of Klina, which were followed by setting fire to two Serb houses.According to UNMIK data, in 19 incidents 23 Serb houses were broken into, and stoning of vehicles with Serb registry plates continued, RTS reported.

ZARIF URGES HIGHER LEVEL OF BELGRADE-PRISTINA TALK

BELGRADE, August 08 (Tanjug) –UNMIK chief Farid Zarif supported Tuesday in talks with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic his initiative that the United Nations become actively involved in the further course of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina, and underlined the need for raising the dialogue to a higher level.Nikolic said that the problems in Kosovo and Metohija must be resolved with respect of the Resolution 1244 of the UN Security Council, the press service of the President of Serbia said in a release.The Serbian president announced that he will soon come out with a plan for Kosovo and Metohija, around which a consensus is expected of all relevant political and other factors.The Serbian parliament must be included in this process, he added. Nikolic and Zarif positively evaluated the role of UNMIK and concluded that it is necessary to improve safety and security in Kosovo and Metohija.Zarif said that he advocates peace and security throughout Kosovo and Metohija, stressing that no unilateral action would be tolerated.

KIM OFFICE URGES STOP TO PERSECUTION OF RETURNEES

BELGRADE, August 08 (Tanjug) –Reacting to the news on another attempt at killing a Serb returnee in the village of Zac (eastern Kosovo-Metohija), the government's Office for Kosovo-Metohija (KiM) called on the international community, UNMIK, KFOR and EULEX to make sure that the persecution of returnees stops."Referring to the repeated attempt at murdering Veljko Komatovic in the village of Zac, we are requesting that the investigation be carried out, the perpetrators punished, and their names made public,' the office said in a statement."Shots at the community of returnees, in which also elder people and children are clinging to the hope that it is possible to live on one's own piece of land, are shots at the very idea of return,' the release reads."The right to return has not been denied to any Albanian family, why then the right to life and return is being denied to Serb families?," the release reads.The Office underlined that the international community had taken on itself to facilitate, without prejudice and discrimination, not only the return, but also a life free from threats and fear."Once again, we are noting that since the arrival of international forces in the territory of Kosovo-Metohija over one thousand Serbs were killed, and their murderers are hardly ever uncovered, and never punished," the Office's release underscores.

VULIN URGES INTERNATIONAL FORCES TO REACT IN KIM

BELGRADE, August 08 (Tanjug) –Director of the Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija (KiM) Aleksandar Vulin Tuesday demanded an immediate reaction by the international forces in KiM to enable Serbs in Pristina to continue to freely use the premises of the Centre for Peace and Tolerance, the Office for KiM said in a release on the same day.According to the release, Vulin sent letters to representatives of the international missions in Kosovo regarding the decision of "the so-called Kosovo police to take over the Centre's premises," pointing out in them that for Serbs, the Centre meant a place where they can feel safe, meet together and receive basic medical care."If these services are terminated, the Serbs would lose their basic rights and freedoms," said Vulin and demanded an immediate reaction based on the powers given to the international forces by UN Security Council Resolution 1244.Vulin pointed out that most of the persons visiting the center were poor, socially endangered individuals living without the basic life necessities, many of whom were poorly mobile elderly who should be given assistance as soon as possible and also be enabled to continue to use the services of the Centre.