Belgrade, February 09, 2012
UN SC SESSION ON KOSOVO
BAN KIMOON: TENSION AFFECTS DIALOG, EU INTEGRATION
NEW YORK, Feb. 08 (Beta) - The tense situation in northern Kosovo greatly affects the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina and the talks on the region's European prospects, U.N. Secretary General Ban Kimoon said in his report on the situation in Kosovo.
While presenting the report of Ban Kimoon at the session of the U.N. Security Council, Assistant Secretary General Edmond Mulet expressed satisfaction on Feb. 8 over the resumption of the dialog between Belgrade and Pristina and over the reached agreements, but also concern because of the slow progress in the return of the displaced and the establishing of the fate of the missing.
The report also said that it is unclear whether the referendum on accepting Kosovo institutions in the Serb municipalities in northern Kosovo, scheduled for Feb. 14 and 15, will be held.
"Although tension has been reduced, I am still concerned over the unstable situation, which carries continuous risk of provocation and escalation of interethnic tension," the U.N. secretary general indicated.
For the first time within the regular three-month report on Kosovo, the annex of EULEX presented a report by the EULEX special team investigating the trafficking in human organs in Kosovo.
JEREMIC: NEGOTIATIONS LEAD TO SOLUTION
NEW YORK, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said in New York on Wednesday that negotiations were the only way to reach a sustainable and lasting solution for Kosovo, and that Resolution 1244 had to be followed explicitly when it comes to Pristina's regional representation.
He said Serbia wanted the UN Security Council to support the centrality of its resolutions in terms of the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, adding that Serbia would request new consultations regarding the claims of human organ trafficking.
Jeremic attended a meeting of the Security Council that reviewed Secretary General Ban Kimoon's report for the period between October 16, 2011 and January 15, 2012.
Stressing that Ban's report acknowledges progress in the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, Jeremic stated that Serbia was still committed to the process as it was the only legitimate mechanism of overcoming differences.
"The pursuit of outcomes outside the framework of negotiations is both futile and counterproductive," Jeremic noted, adding that talks conducted in good faith were the only way to a sustainable solution.
Serbian President Boris Tadic repeated a number of times that the solution for Kosovo has to secure international guarantees that would protect Serbia's interest there, by ensuring a realistic solution for northern Kosovo, protection for Serb enclaves in the south, Serb identity and religious heritage throughout the territory and a solution to property issues, Jeremic pointed out.
Commenting on Pristina's regional representation, Jeremic said Serbia had never intended to prevent anyone's voice from being heard, including Pristina's, but that it had to be done explicitly and unambiguously according to Resolution 1244.
He also talked about the part of Ban's report that refers to the Medicus case and claims of human organ trafficking.
EULEX cannot operate to its full capacity outside of Kosovo and has no appropriate mandate to allow it to do a full investigation, he remarked.
"Only an investigation conducted under the auspices of the Security Council can ensure that," he said, adding that otherwise many of those suspected of involvement in organ trafficking could evade justice.
"When it comes to such matters in the Balkan context, a mandate to investigate has always been bestowed by the Security Council. It should happen again not only for the sake of consistency, but to ensure the investigation becomes transparent and accountable to the whole world," said the minister.
Serbia welcomes the Security Council's earlier attempts to reach an agreement on how to investigate those claims and will request new consultations within the body, he stressed.
"We must not yield on this both on moral and human rights grounds. Serbia will therefore seek another round of Security Council consultations on the issue," he underlined.
Jeremic noted that Serbia agreed with Ban's concerns over the latest events related to privatization in Kosovo.
The Kosovo authorities formed a privatization agency that took over by force the role of the institution formed by UNMIK in 2002, which secured compensation funds for the original owners after Serbian companies had been privatized, Jeremic said.
Jeremic recalled the part of Ban's report stating that over the past few months there has been a "significant weaken[ing] of the protection of the privatization funds" and curtailing of international oversight of the privatization and liquidation processes. Jeremic said that approximately a quarter of a billion Euros are being held in banks of various UN member States, and that it is likely that the 'Kosovo Privatization Agency' will try to gain access to the funds.
"The financial institutions that hold these deposits must not release them until an agreement is reached between the stakeholders. This is a very serious liability issue, and we shall not refrain from using all juridical mechanisms at our disposal to protect our property rights," Jeremic underlined.
According to Jeremic, this is a matter which requires an urgent attention of the Security Council. "The actions by the 'Kosovo Privatization Agency' amount to a usurpation of the authority and jurisdiction of a UNcreated institution. This could set a precedent with serious consequences for all UN peacekeeping operations," he warned. Speaking about North Kosovo, he said that the situation there remains volatile, as a result of attempts to unilaterally alter the reality on the ground in violation of resolution 1244 (1999), and against the will of the majority Serb population.
Jeremic warned that, as in previous reporting periods, there have been a number of incidents directed against ethnic Serbs in South Kosovo, the gravest one having taken place in Dobrušan isolated, majority Albanian village in the South Kosovo municipality of Istok.
"A family of Kosovo Serb IDPs had gone to visit their abandoned property for the first time in many years. They were greeted by an ethnic Albanian neighbor, who then went back into his home. Soon thereafter, the Report informs us, "he opened fire on [the] three Kosovo Serb [returnees] with an automatic rifle, killing one and injuring two," Jeremic pointed out, adding that acts of desecration and vandalism against Serbian Orthodox Church holy sites and cemeteries continue to take place.
JEREMIC: KIM IS GHETTO, COME AND SEE FOR YOURSELF
NEW YORK, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) session on Wednesday that the present day reality of Kosovo Metohija (KiM) was ghetto and barbed wire, adding that the Serb population in KiM was now the most endangered community in the entire Europe.
I am calling on the Security Council to visit Serbia and Kosovo and see for themselves what the situation there is like, Jeremic said in his reaction to attempts by some UNSC members and the Kosovo foreign minister to present the situation in Kosovo as seen through a rose-colored glasses.
Things should be viewed as they really are, he stressed, adding that Serbia is willing to cooperate and is doing its best to frustrate any provocations.
Jeremic recalled several reports, from organizations such as Human Rights Watch (HRW), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Transparency International and the European Commission (EC), that pointed to rampant corruption in Kosovo, discrimination against nonAlbanian population, political influence on judiciary and failing witness protection systems.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) said in a report that the democratic processes in Kosovo were not in line with the accepted standards of democracy, the OSCE pointed to the existence of political influence on judiciary, with judges receiving threats and witnesses in important proceedings badly protected, while HRW stated that the situation concerning human rights had improved only very little, Jeremic said. He also noted an EC report stating that the fight against organized crime and corruption was inefficient.
Commenting on a call for Belgrade and Pristina to leave the past behind and turn to the future in the EU, made by a speaker at the session, Jeremic said that Serbia welcomed such an attitude.
However, today's call by Pristina to reject Serbia's candidacy at the coming meeting in Brussels seems to be far from such an approach, Jeremic pointed out.
CHURKIN: RUSSIA SUPPORTS CANDIDACY OF JEREMIC
NEW YORK, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - Russia supports the candidacy of Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic for the General Assembly of the United Nations chair, Russian Ambassador to UN Vitaly Churkin said in New York on Wednesday .
"I am sure that the nomination will be successful and that Jeremic will be elected, Churkin told Tanjug's correspondent in New York. Serbia nominated Jeremic two weeks ago.
If elected, Jeremic would chair the General Assembly for one year starting in September.
Jeremic's rival for the post is Lithuania's UN Ambassador Dalia Leinarte.
The office of President of UN General Assembly is currently held by representative of Qatar Nassir Abdulaziz AlNasser.
AMBASSADORS: TENSION IN KOSOVO'S NORTH HARMFUL TO DIALOG
NEW YORK, Feb. 08 (Beta) - At a U.N. Security Council session in New York on Feb. 8, the ambassadors of the U.S., Great Britain, France and Germany said the tense situation in Kosovo's north had a negative effect on the Belgrade Pristina dialog and called for restraint by both parties. The ambassadors condemned the erection of barricades on roads in Kosovo's north and all acts of violence against KFOR and EULEX.
They agreed that it was necessary to conduct an investigation into the trafficking in human organs of Kosovo Serbs, but they did not declare on whether it should be conducted by the U.N. or EULEX.
U.S. Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo said Washington backed a decisive investigation into all criminal doings, including the organ trafficking. She added that EULEX enjoyed full support of all regional factors.
Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said he doubted that international representatives in Kosovo were respecting the neutral status they had in line with Resolution 1244. He also expressed concern with the way in which EULEX was investigation organ trafficking allegations and stressed that the Security Council should take the leading role in the investigation.
SERBIA - K&M – DIALOG
STEFANOVIC TALKS WITH COOPER IN VIENNA
VIENNA, Feb. 08 (Beta) - Belgrade's chief negotiator in the dialog with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic said he had held a regular meeting with EU mediator Robert Cooper in Vienna on Feb. 8. He stressed that Belgrade yet again demonstrated its constructive role in the process.
In a telephone statement to BETA, Stefanovic said the meeting tackled regional representation of Pristina. The talks on this issue are one of the conditions for the continuation of Serbia's EU integration.
"Further steps were made in that direction, there are several options for resolving that issue. Of course, U.N. Resolution 1244 is contained in those proposals and it remains to be seen in the coming period, through activities of the international community, to find a mutually acceptable solution," Stefanovic explained.
"We are absolutely not waiting for the last moment for a solution, on the contrary. All the time, with a permanent engagement and new proposals we are working toward a solution to the problem. We are ready to travel to Brussels at any time. For that, we naturally need to have a clear picture of a solution," he added.
COOPER, STEFANOVIC ON DIALOGUE CONTINUATION
BELGRADE, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - EU mediator in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue Robert Cooper and head of the Belgrade negotiating team Borko Stefanovic conferred in Vienna on Wednesday to discuss the possibilities of continuation of the dialogue, Tanjug learned from diplomatic sources in Brussels.
According to the source that wanted to stay unnamed, the meeting is held without chief of Pristina team Edita Tahiri. When asked whether this meeting is a sign that the date of continuation of the dialogue is near, the source said that all parties hope that the dialogue will be resumed soon, adding that this meeting is a part of regular consultations.
Late January, Cooper visited Belgrade and Pristina and conferred with Stefanovic and Tahiri in an effort to encourage the dialogue. The agenda tabled Pristina' regional representation, but the two parties did not manage to converge their positions.
Serbia insists on UN Security Council Resolution 1244, which Pristina does not want to accept on the pretext that the document is outdated while at the same time maintaining that Kosovo should bear the name 'the Republic of Kosovo'. The agreement on Pristina's regional representation is a precondition which Serbia has to fulfill in order to get the EU candidate status early in March.
In the meantime, a new proposal appeared relying on the idea of the International Crisis Group according to which the name of Kosovo at regional forums should be accompanied with a footnote reading Resolution 1244 and the opinion by the International Court of Justice stating that Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence in 2008 does not constitute violation of the international law.
As Tanjug learned from diplomatic sources in Brussels, in spite of new proposals coming from Belgrade, greater pressure by the West, and the efforts by Robert Cooper, Pristina is adamant not to accept any form of Resolution 1244.
Resolution 1244 dating from June 1999, which confirms the sovereignty of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in the territory of Kosovo, remains the main obstacle in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue on Kosovo' regional representation, which has been suspended for over two months.
The progress in resolution of the issue is expected mid February since on the contrary, as Tanjug learned from a source close to the German Mission to the EU, Serbia's candidacy would be left short of support late February.
EULEX HAS NO CLEAR STAND ON REFERENDUM
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Feb. 08 (Tanjug) - EULEX representatives released on Wednesday that they have no clear stand as regards the staging of the referendum in four northern Kosovo municipalities, and underscored that the EU mission does not have a political character.
EULEX spokeswoman Irina Gudeljevic told Tanjug that the issue of the referendum in northern Kosovo is not a matter of consideration for EULEX since the EU mission in Kosovo is a purely technical and not a political one and acts in the area of the police, judiciary and customs services.
Although the Belgrade government expressed opposition to the referendum in four northern Kosovo municipalities, representatives of Serbs in the northern part of the province do not want to renounce their intention to let the local population state whether they support acceptance of Kosovo institutions.
The referendum organisers point out that the preparations for the referendum are almost completed and that all necessary voting materials will be printed on Thursday.
Around 35.500 citizens will be able to cast their ballots at 82 polling stations.
Serbian Minister for Kosovo Metohija Goran Bogdanovic warned earlier that the referendum in northern Kosovo can be an inexpensive process but its price would be prohibitive for Serbia in political terms. Bogdanovic also stated that if held, the referendum would be detrimental to the interests of citizens in northern Kosovo, especially those living to the south of the Ibar River, and for the Republic of Serbia which is fighting for their rights.
Posters were put up around northern Kosovska Mitrovica over the past several days, calling citizens to go to polls and vote negative.
FINI: NO ULTIMATE DEADLINES FOR SERBIA IN EU INTEGRATION
BELGRADE, Feb. 08 (Beta) - The speaker of the Lower House of the Italian Parliament, Gianfranco Fini, said in Belgrade on Feb. 8 that the reaching of an agreement, by the end of this week, on Pristina's regional representation is not a condition without which Serbia cannot go further in the process of European integration.
"I have no information that this is a condition without which no further progress is possible. The essence is that the technical talks continue and that at least small steps forward are seen. Therefore, there are no such ultimate deadlines, nor ultimatums," Fini said at a joint news conference with Serbian Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic.
Fini pointed out that, as for resolving the issue of Kosovo, nobody in the EU can overlook the fact that more than 90 percent of the population of northern Kosovo belongs to the Serb nation, culture and language. "This is not some opinion, this is a fact," the Italian official said.
"Starting from this, everybody has an obligation to try to understand both sides and to try to find a solution that is acceptable to both sides, which will be based on facts," Fini said.
Fini paid a oneday visit to Serbia, during which he also met with President Boris Tadic and Minister Ivica Dacic. Tadic's media service made a brief statement, that he thanked Fini for Italy's support to Serbia's European integration.
Fini's diplomatic advisor, Alessandro Cortese, said recently that "Italy wants to send a message of encouragement to Serbia in its process of European integration," ahead of the 27 EU member countries' decision in March on granting Serbia EU candidate status.
SERBIAN, TURKISH MINISTERS DISCUSS COOPERATION
BELGRADE, Feb. 08 (Beta) - The Serbian and Turkish ministers for agriculture, Dusan Petrovic and Mehmet Mehdi Eker, in Belgrade on Feb. 8 discussed the possibility of improving cooperation in the fields of agriculture, food and trading.
After the meeting, Petrovic said that Serbia and Turkey have much room for cooperation in the field of agriculture, and that trade relations are only beginning to develop. "During the talks we have found that, apart from opposite positions on Kosovo, there is agreement between Serbia and Turkey regarding all other issues," he pointed out.
Petrovic recalled that, last year, Serbia and Turkey signed a memorandum of understanding, the essence of which is the preservation of stability in this part of Europe, which is particularly important in present conditions.
Turkish Agriculture Minister Mehmet Mehdi Eker said that Turkey and Serbia are the key countries for the preservation of stability in the Balkans. He stressed that the two countries have good political relations, but that they should increase cooperation in agriculture, because this field affects everyday life and is the basis for the development of trade and economic relations.
SERBIAN GOVERNMENT WORKING ON NATIONAL BROADBAND NETWORK
BELGRADE, Feb. 08 (Beta) - The Serbian government has formed a working group that will define projects for the building of the national broadband network, as published in the Official Gazette.
According to the decision, the group's task is to define a detailed plan for the development of the national broadband network, and the role of the state telecommunication infrastructure in the functioning of this network.
The working group, headed by Serbian Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic, should also establish the regulatory conditions that will secure the sustainability and development of the national broadband network.
Last year, the participants of round table discussions organized by the Serbian Telecommunication Agency (RATEL), agreed that Serbia needs a national broadband Internet network.
RATEL director Milan Jankovic told BETA earlier that the state needs this Internet network to connect its institutions, and that access should also be allowed to the citizens, who would thus have the option of using the services of e-government and all other services offered on the Internet.
BRAZIL PREPARED TO INVEST EUR300 MILLION IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, Feb. 08 (Beta) - The National Development Bank of Brazil is prepared to invest more than EUR300 million in Serbia, the Serbian Ministry for Energy and Infrastructure announced on Feb. 8.
According to the statement, Brazilian Ambassador to Belgrade Alexandre Addor Neto said this during a meeting with the Serbian minister for infrastructure, Milutin Mrkonjic, and the president of the Brazilian company Zagope for Europe, Remo Brunelli.
"I believe it is very significant for Brazilian companies to find, in the shortest possible time, a significant place in the development of infrastructure (in Serbia) considering the favorable circumstances, completed designs and the great readiness of the National Development Bank to invest more than EUR300 million," Neto said.
Brunelli stressed that cooperation with Serbia could be established in the building of roads, railroads, airports and subway systems, since the Zagope company is experienced and owns subway lines in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, and that investments in hydroelectric and thermal power plants would also be very interesting for the Zagope Group.