Belgrade, 08. 11. 2007.
C O N T E N T :
SERBIA - EU
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KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – STATUS
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SERBIA - EU
SERBIA INITIALS SAA WITH EU
BRUSSELS, Nov. 07 (Beta) - The Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between the EU and Serbia was initialed at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on Nov. 7.
EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said at the event that the initialing of the SAA was Serbia's first concrete step toward integration into the EU.
He commended the Serbian negotiating team for its "extraordinary negotiating capability proof of the (Serbian) state administration's powerful capacity," adding that Serbia could quickly implement the SAA and make leaps on the road of European integration.
Rehn also praised Serbia's progress in meeting the political conditions for European integration, saying he believed this would also lead to signing the SAA with the EU.
"With reforms, this will boost the growth of the Serbian economy and help Serbia move forward by building a functional market economy," the commissioner said.
Serbian President Boris Tadic said the agreement was a great reward for the proEuropean Serbia, which proved that Serbia had the capacity to become a full member of the EU.
Tadic went on to say that "this presages a better standard of living for citizens, greater development and modernization possibilities for our country, a higher level of security, and peace."
"If we also add more certainty of foreign investment, the creation of new jobs, traveling without visas and passports, then I am absolutely sure that the Serbian citizens will always support the achievement of our strategic goal EU membership," Tadic said.
According to him, all war crimes indictees in the former Yugoslavia must answer for their deeds, because there can be neither reconciliation in the Balkans nor the region's full integration into Europe without facing the past and armed conflicts.
The president voiced hope that the SAA would also be signed in a few weeks' time, and offered assurances that Serbia would fully cooperate with the Hague tribunal.
He said that some fugitives from the Hague tribunal may not be in Serbia, but added that Ratko Mladic would be arrested and extradited to The Hague if he turned out to be in Serbia.
SERBIA'S FUTURE IN EUROPE IS CLEARER, SAYS DJELIC
BRUSSELS, Nov. 07 (Beta) - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic said in Brussels on Nov. 7 that Serbia's future in Europe can now be seen more clearly, after initialing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, and added that he believed Serbia could win candidate status by the end of 2008.
Djelic, who headed the Serbian negotiating team in the process, presented the Serbian government's action plan for acquiring candidate status and putting Serbia on the so-called white Schengen list by late 2008, to EU Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn.
At a news conference that was also attended by Serbian President Boris Tadic and Rehn, and in a separate statement to the Serbian media, Djelic underscored that "immense prospects" now opened up before Serbia, and added that the agreement signed with the EU "is the best possible insurance both for domestic and foreign investors."
Djelic also said that reactions to the news of the SAA's initialing had shown that the citizens of Serbia wanted a European future.
"Until that agreement is signed there can be no vacation for the people working on European integrations," Djelic stressed.
"When the political work is done, our country can achieve record breaking speed in European integrations. We have proven that with this agreement, because in just three months we managed to negotiate something that took other countries two years," Djelic said.
"We expect and want to obtain candidate status as soon as possible, to fully open that enormous European budget for our citizens and economy," Djelic said.
POETTERING CONFIRMS EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT'S SUPPORT TO SERBIA
BRUSSELS, Nov 8 (Tanjug) - President of the European Parliament Hans-Gert Poettering met with Serbian parliament speaker Oliver Dulic in Brussels on Thursday and conveyed to him the body's full support for the democratic path and European orientation of Serbia.
After his talks with Poettering, Dulic told reporters that, contrary to the doubts of certain media in Serbia, the Serbian parliament was aware of the fact that it had to adopt laws speedily and efficiently in order to fulfill the task of becoming the driving force in the process of European integrations.
At the same time, the Serbian parliament president pointed at the importance of 2008 for Serbia, a year in which our country expected to be given the status of candidate for EU membership, as Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Bozidar Djelic had already announced in Brussels on Wednesday on the occasion of the initialing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). Later in the day, Dulic is supposed to have talks with European Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn and other European officials and parliamentarians.
SLOVENIA WELCOMES INTIALING OF SAA BETWEEN SERBIA AND EU
LJUBLJANA, Nov 8 (Tanjug) - The Slovenian Foreign Ministry has welcomed the initialing of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Serbia ad the European Union, assessing that this represented an important step on Serbia's path towards European integrations.
The Ministry expressed belief that the document would encourage Serbia to fulfill the (required) conditions and continue its work on reforms, as the European Commission had already underlined in its (recent) report on the progress Serbia had made on its path towards EU membership. In the statement, the Slovenian Ministry also pointed at the letter which Prime Minister Janez Jansa had sent to European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso in September, in which he suggested that Serbia be given a chance to become a candidate for EU membership by mid-2008, at the latest.
Slovenia will continue to back all the efforts Serbia is making on its path towards the EU, the Ministry added in the statement.
PLASSNIK SAYS SERBIA TAKES BIG STEP TOWARD EU
BRUSSELS, Nov. 07 (Beta) - By initialing the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), Serbia has taken a big step toward the EU, Austrian Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik said on Nov. 7.
"This is a clear message that Serbia is part of our European family and after meeting the necessary standards will be welcome in the EU," Plassnik said on the occasion of initialing the SAA.
She went on to say that the finalization of the negotiations was a reward for the reform work done so far, but also for Serbia's progress on the path of full cooperation with the Hague tribunal.
"Serbia must be consistent and focused on continuing down that path. The next logical phase would be to swiftly sign the SAA," Plassnik said.
Stressing that Austria will continue to advocate this, Plassnik said that only then will Serbia's standards and obligations be additionally enforced by the agreement, and then the EU will be able to demand their fulfillment.
"My goal, establishing contractual relations with all the West Balkan countries by the end of 2007, is within reach. All it takes is the necessary will of the decision makers to meet the political criteria. Serbia's example should also serve as an incentive for Bosnia Herzegovina to quickly finalize the already prepared agreement," Ursula Plassnik added.
MINISTER: SLOVENIA WILL SUPPORT ALL COUNTRIES EN ROUTE TO EU
BELGRADE, Nov. 07 (Beta) - Slovenia will work on improving and accelerating the implementation of Serbia's agreement on visa benefits with the EU, which is to become effective as of Jan. 1, 2008, Slovenian Interior Minister Dragutin Mate said in Belgrade on Nov. 7.
"The priority of Slovenia's term at the EU helm is to support all countries en route to membership in the union," Mate said, adding that as of Jan. 1, 2008, when Slovenia is to take over the rotating EU presidency, Slovenia will aim to facilitate travel for Serbian citizens.
After taking part in a regional conference of interior ministers in Belgrade, Mate pointed out that the West Balkan countries belonged in the EU.
The Slovenian minister also highlighted that the regional interior ministries' cooperation on suppressing organized crime was good.
"The West Balkan region is one of the most important regions for Slovenia, not just in the internal affairs field. We will expand cooperation between the ministries in data exchange and the crackdown on crime," Mate said.
SERBIA ESTABLISHES DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH MONACO
PARIS, Nov 7 (Tanjug) - Serbian Ambassador to France Predrag Simic on Wednesday presented his credentials to Prince Albert II, the ruler of the Principality of Monaco, and the two countries with this act for the first time in history established official diplomatic relations.
"The Serbian government last year adopted the decision on the establishment of diplomatic relations with Monaco, which was made official today," Ambassador Simic said in a statement for Tanjug. The Serbian ambassador extended an invitation to Prince Albert II to visit Serbia, which the ruler was happy to accept.
Simic is the plenipotentiary ambassador of Serbia to Monaco on a non-residential basis. He will perform his duties in connection with this post from Paris, where he is stationed as the Serbian ambassador to France. This is envisaged under an agreement between France and Monaco.
JOINT EXERCISE OF SERBIAN AND HUNGARIAN ARMIES
BELGRADE, Nov 7 (Tanjug) - Members of the armies of Serbia and Hungary will carry out a joint exercise of providing help to the population in the event of natural disasters in Sabac on Thursday, Nov 8, the Serbian Defense Ministry said on Wednesday.
"The objective is the promotion of the interoperability of the commands and units of the Serbian Army (VS) for cooperation with the armed forces of neighboring states in engagement on providing assistance to civilian structures in times of natural disasters," the statement said. The exercise named "Big River 2007" will be carried out at the "Macvanski partizanski odredi" barracks, the Serbian Defense Ministry said.
SERBIAN, UK DEFENSE MINISTRIES DISCUSS COOPERATION
BELGRADE, Nov 7 (Tanjug) - Officials of the Serbian Defense MInistry conferred Wednesday with a delegation of the UK Defense Ministry on future cooperation and prospects for training Serbian Army personnel in the UK, the Defense Ministry said.
They also conferred on the memorandum of understanding between Serbian and UK governments on cooperation in the defense sector. Assistant Defense Ministers for Defense Policy and Human Resources Dusan Spasojevic and Bojan Dimitrijevic conferred Tuesday with the UK delegation headed by Defense Ministry Director for international Security Policy Gloria Craig.
MORE INTENSIVE POLICE COOPERATION IN REGION
BELGRADE, Nov 7 (Tanjug) - Police ministers and officials of the countries in the region agreed in Belgrade on Wednesday that more intensive joint cooperation in fighting organized crime is required.
The regional meeting confirmed the resolve of the region's police forces, expressed in the previous period, to continue cooperation in fighting organized crime, Serbian Police Minister Dragan Jocic said.
At a joint press conference held after the meeting, he pointed out the importance of protection of state borders from all kinds of criminal activities, which would protect not only the region but also the EU countries. State officials of Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Macedonia took part in the meeting of police ministers and police representatives of the region.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA – STATUS
STEINMEIER: KOSOVO SOLUTION TO BE FOUND BY DEC. 10.
BERLIN, Nov. 07 (Beta) - German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier in Berlin on Nov. 7 opposed the stand of his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic that it would be possible to reach a solution for Kosovo even after Dec. 10.
After a meeting with Jeremic, Steinmeier told a news conference that he "advises everyone to invest maximum efforts towards finding a solution for the long-term status of Kosovo by Dec. 10."
"Solutions that would be reached after that date are linked with the risk of failing to contribute to the stability of the Western Balkans," Steinmeier explained.
Speaking to the press earlier, Jeremic said he believed a permanent solution for the Kosovo status can be found even after Dec. 10, when the Contact Group mediating troika, comprising a representative of the EU, the U.S. and Russia are due to submit a report on the negotiating process to the U.N. Secretary General.
Steinmeier stressed that the negotiating process "at the moment is not where Berlin wanted it to be by now."
The German minister said he hoped it would be possible "to encourage the negotiating teams' sense and flexibility in order to avoid the outbreak of a bigger crisis in the Balkans," and that the troika would be able to submit "a report that will be a signpost for the future" by Dec. 10.
After meeting Steinmeier, Jeremic said "Serbia is interested in a compromise solution that will ensure long-term stability in the Western Balkans," but stressed that Belgrade "is against doing anything hasty."
RUSSIA DISMISSES "PACKAGE SWAP" BETWEEN RUSSIA AND USA
MOSCOW, Nov 7 (Tanjug) - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak on Wednesday dismissed the possibility of "a package" swap of concessions between Russia and the United States over the issue of anti-ballistic missile defense, Iran and Kosovo.
"I see no way in which one situation can be exchanged for the other," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Kislyak said, denying media reports the United States had invited Russia to make concessions over Iran and Kosovo, promising to reconsider its position over a future anti-missile defense in Eastern Europe in exchange. "There are separate, fundamental positions on all of these problems both in Russia and in the United States. Each of these questions require an independent solution," Itar-Tass quoted Kislyak as saying.
I've been working on Russian-US agreements for a long time, and I have never heard of any proposal package coming from U.S. colleagues, said Kislyak. In late October, the International Herald Tribune wrote, referring to its diplomatic sources in NATO, that the United States had invited Russia to make concessions over Kosovo, Iran and the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE), aimed at obtaining support for independence of Kosovo and intensifying sanctions against Iran. Last July, Russian President Vladimir Putin suspended the CFE, and his decision was today backed by all members of the Russian Duma.
ALEXEEV: RUSSIA WON'T BARGAIN OVER KOSOVO
BELGRADE, Nov 8 (Tanjug) - Russian Federation Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Alexeev holds that Belgrade's proposal of using the Hong Kong principle for the resolution of Kosovo's status, as well as any other proposal to that effect, opens new possibilities, underlining that Moscow has never set any political conditions for support as regards the Kosovo issue.
Asked if Russia appreciated Serbia's step towards the European Union more than the country's possible joining NATO, the ambassador replied, in an interview for the Belgrade daily Politika, that Russia had no problems whatsoever in respect of the development of relations between Serbia and the EU. What is more, we back that process and this is why I want to congratulate my Serbian colleagues on the initialing of the agreement with the EU, Ambassador Alexeev specified on the occasion of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA), which Serbia initialed on Wednesday.
Alexeev confirmed that Moscow had never set and would never set any political conditions for support in regard to the Kosovo issue. He added that the last few years had proved that Serbia and Russia should be strategic partners in everything. There are certain fields in which Russia is not just a strategic partner, but rather the only partner of Serbia, he underlined. This is why I believe that our Serbian friends have an objective interest to develop the relations with Russia, without us making any possible kind of pressure in that respect, Alexeev said.
ITALIAN MINISTER: KFOR WILL PREVENT VIOLENCE IN KOSOVO
BELGRADE, Nov. 07 (Beta) - The Serbian and Italian defense ministers, Arturo Parisi and Dragan Sutanovac, met in Belgrade on Nov. 7. The Italian officials said KFOR would do everything to prevent violence in Kosovo and protect the Serb and other nonAlbanian population.
The two ministers expressed a joint orientation for continuing the cooperation between the ministries and armies of Serbia and Italy, it said in a statement from the Serbian ministry.
Italy has some 2,300 soldiers within KFOR in Kosovo and Metohija.
Sutanovac noted that Italy is one of Serbia's most important partners and stressed that he very much-appreciated Italy's strong support to Serbia's full-fledged membership in the NATO Partnership for Peace and the EU.
Italy is the contact country in cooperation between Serbia and NATO and is making a great contribution to improving Euratlantic cooperation, the statement added.
The two ministers also discussed the formation of a trust fund for removing the consequences of cluster bombs.
UNMIK PREPARES FOR DEC 10, RUECKER
PRISTINA, Nov 7 (Tanjug) - UNMIK supports the negotiating process for resolving the status of Kosovo and Metohija, but the international forces in the province must prepare also "for other possibilities if there is no agreement." said on Wednesday UNMIK chief Joachim Ruecker.
Ruecker, who was speaking at a news conference in Pristina, said that the UN Mission supported the work of the international Contact Group's mediation Troika, that it believed international mediators and hoped that the negotiations will yield results. But we also need to prepare for other possibilities if there is no agreement, Ruecker said, but declined to specify what possibilities.
Ruecker announced that UNMIK, the Kosovo police service and Kfor were ready to guarantee security in Kosovo "regardless of what will happen." He called on Serbs form Kosovo and Metohija to participate in the upcoming elections, claiming that only in that way they can realize their interests.
The UNMIK chief said that the preparations for elections were proceeding according to plan, but he cited as a problem the calls coming from Belgrade for Serbs not to participate in the elections, and claimed that the Serbs who have registered their participation in the election were now exposed to threats. He also declined to comment on the announcements made in some of the media that UN internal control had started an investigation against him. "You should ask New York about that," he briefly said.