Belgrade, July 10, 2012
DACIC: US WILL RESPECT WILL OF SERBIA'S PEOPLE
BELGRADE, July 9 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stated on Monday that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon informed him about the stand of the U.S. government, according to which the U.S. would respect the will of the people of Serbia, adding that the policy and results of the new government are what matters to the U.S.
After the talks with Gordon, Dacic told Tanjug that the new government would be conducting a policy of peace and stability in the region and that it would continue the successful cooperation in the fight against crime, terrorism and corruption with the U.S. executive bodies.
After his visit to Serbia, Gordon departed for Pristina.
GORDON: I BROUGHT SUPPORT NOT SUGGESTIONS FOR GOVT
BELGRADE, July 9 (Tanjug) - U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Philip Gordon stated on Monday that he came to Belgrade to assert the support of the U.S. and not to offer suggestions for the new government, and he also expressed hope that Serbia would remain on the path to EU membership.
The most important point now is to underscore the direction which Serbia should follow regardless of the parties that form the next government, Gordon said in an interview for Radio and Television of Serbia, adding that the U.S. hopes Serbia would remain on the path toward EU membership which his country strongly supports, and stabilisation and normalisation of relations with neighbors, including Kosovo.
The U.S. diplomat noted that he was encouraged by some of the information he received from the officials in Belgrade.
President Nikolic publicly said, and he also reiterated it during the talks early on Monday, that he wishes Serbia to remain on the EU path, Gordon said and added that this task entails strengthening and enhancement of market economy and peace and stability with the neighbors.
Commenting on Nikolic's suggestion that the Belgrade-Pristina talks should be raised to a higher political level, Gordon recalled that the U.S. backed the technical dialogue, adding that he personally believes political talks should also be conducted.
According to him, it is true that a terrible tragedy and a heinous crime happened a couple of days ago, when two Serb returnees were murdered.
The U.S. condemned the act demanding that offenders should be brought to justice, he said and added that the most important thing now is to protect the safety of all Kosovo citizens, and international troops are engaged there to this end.
We do not believe this could be achieved through the presence of Serbia's security forces or military and intelligence services in the north, the U.S. official stated, adding that this is one of key issues the U.S. wishes to cooperate on with Belgrade.
The U.S. believes Kosovo is ready for the end of supervised independence and it made considerable progress over the four years since it declared independence, he noted.
WARLICK: U.S. DOES NOT DEMAND THAT SERBIA RECOGNIZE KOSOVO
BELGRADE, July 9 (Tanjug) - U.S. Ambassador to Serbia Mary Warlick said on Monday that the U.S. does not demand that Serbia recognize Kosovo, but that it is important for the next government to resume the dialogue with Pristina as soon as possible, implement the agreements made and start addressing issues it has with all its neighbors.
The goal is to normalize the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, Warlick told reporters.
She hopes the government is going to continue the dialogue as soon as it begins its term, as well as implement all the agreements and work to settle issues with Kosovo.
Commenting on U.S. State Secretary Assistant Philip Gordon's visit to Serbia, Warlick said Gordon was there as part of his tour of the region.
The visit was an excellent opportunity for Gordon to meet a large number of officials and inform them about the U.S.'s decision to cooperate with Serbia, Warlick remarked.
The formation of the next government was also on the agenda of his meetings, she added.
The formation of the government is an issue for the people of Serbia and their elected representatives, but the U.S. hopes the next government will stay committed to the country's European future and continue to improve the relations with neighbors, work on a solution to the Kosovo issue and fight organized crime and corruption, the ambassador pointed out.
It is in the interest of the U.S., EU and Serbia to have normal relations with neighbors, because good relations with adjacent countries are an important requirement for EU accession, Warlick said.
There has been progress in the talks between Belgrade and Pristina, but a lot of work still remains to be done in order to normalize relations, she stated.
Warlick attended the presentation of the USAID manual for reducing the number of old court cases and speeding up the work on current ones, which resulted from USAID's cooperation with ten courts in Serbia.
DEGERT: SERBIA NEEDS TO OVERCOME REFORM PROBLEMS
BELGRADE, July 9 (Tanjug) - The Serbian judiciary needs to move forward, but it also needs to overcome the problems in the judiciary reform, head of the EU delegation in Serbia Vincent Degert stated during the presentation of the USAID guide for reduction of dated court cases and acceleration of work on current ones.
Degert said that Serbia needs to draw its lessons from its experience so far because the issue of the judiciary is one of the most important ones in the process of negotiations on any country's EU membership.
He underscored that the EU has certain criteria and that it is not setting any conditions, as is sometimes claimed. We want the courts to be independent of the executive government, as well as political and economic interests, Degert underscored, adding that this is very important both for the EU and for all Serbian citizens. He recalled that Serbia prepared a new strategy aimed at completing the judiciary reform and added that the EU would closely monitor its implementation.
When it comes to the guide that resulted from the cooperation between USAID experts and ten courts in Serbia, Degert said that it would be positive if all courts used the exceptional project and added that the EU is willing to assist the country in this matter.
Degert noted that immunity and mobility of judges are important elements competent bodies would have to work on, together with the issue of ethical principles.
U.S. Ambassador in Serbia Mary Warlick also called on courts and judges to accept the techniques for reduction of dated court cases and increasing the efficiency because, as she said, the implementation of the techniques leads to very positive results.
An increase in efficiency and transparency is of key importance for an efficient judiciary reform and it is very important for Serbia to live up to the requests concerning EU accession, Warlick stated.
President of the Supreme Court of Cassation Nata Mesarovic explained that the invested efforts brought about an increase in court efficiency.
LISSOVOLIK: SERBIA'S DEBT VERY WORRYING
BELGRADE, July 10 (Tanjug) - Serbia's public debt, whose level is currently well above 45 percent of the GDP, is very worrying, said Bogdan Lissovolik, the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) resident representative in Serbia.
Economic research shows that with a public debt between 40 and 45 percent, developing countries such as Serbia come close to dangerous indebtedness levels, Lissovolik said for the Tuesday edition of Politika, noting that most countries in the region have considerably lower debts.
Lissovolik believes that in order to reduce the risk of a public debt crisis, Serbia needs to immediately pass measures which would bring the debt back under the legal limit in the medium term, and convincingly stick to this plan.
Asked what the new government should do first, Lissovolik said it was important to adopt a realistic and cost-effective budget balancing bill, a mediumterm plan for reducing the public debt, and a package of steps which would lay down the foundations for healthy economic growth.
Talking about the measures proposed by the Fiscal Council, Lissovolik said they should be carefully considered, but that other options were available.
He said that future economic policy should take into account the latest trends, possibilities for financing the deficit and the government's priorities.
He believes that using National Bank of Serbia (NBS) reserves to foster economic growth is a threat to financial stability and distracts politicians from measures that could truly stimulate growth.
The NBS can play a supporting role in the process from time to time, as long as it does not jeopardize its primary goal inflation, or its secondary goal financial stability, said Lissovolik.
Asked whether prime ministerelect Ivica Dacic, who has said in the past that the IMF is not welcome in Serbia, was welcome at the IMF, Lissovolik said they were willing to talk to the government which was willing to talk to them.
SERBIA – KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
NIKOLIC: WE NEED CONSENSUS ON KOSOVO
BELGRADE, July 9 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic said on Monday that the parties in the parliament should reach a consensus on how to settle the Kosovo issue and that he had presented the same opinion to Serbian Orthodox Patriarch Irinej.
"I think we can cool the tension in Serbia. I have spoken to his holiness about Kosovo and said we needed some kind of a consensus and he stated that the Church would never avoid taking responsibility," Nikolic told reporters after meeting with Irinej. He explained that the consensus meant an agreement regarding Kosovo between the parties in the parliament.
Serbia is losing Kosovo with each day, and yet officials of the government that has run the country so far are trying to convince the people that it has not recognized it, Nikolic remarked. He stated that he saw no reason to refuse to meet with Pristina officials, but that he would do it strictly formally. "We have to decide whether we are going to be leaving meetings or fight for our views at them. I am in favor of us being present at every place where our views should be heard," Nikolic noted.
However, before that, a joint interpretation of the agreements from Brussels is needed to see whether the Belgrade authorities accepted that the provisional institutions in Pristina be present at international fora together with Serbia.
"If we have not, then they are gone, if we have, we should check under what conditions. If the organizers meet all the conditions, then I see no reason why we should not be where Pristina officials are, even if we do not shake hands with them," said Nikolic.
OSCE CONDEMNS MURDER OF SERBS NEAR UROSEVAC
PRISTINA, July 9 (Tanjug) - Head of the OSCE mission in Kosovo Ambassador Werner Almhofer condemned the murder of Serb returnees Milovan and Ljiljana Jevtic in the Kosovo village of Talinovac, municipality of Urosevac.
Almhofer expressed deep concern over the crime committed on July 6 and its consequences to the community, OSCE stated in a release.
Almhofer said that he was shocked and grieved by the crime, and he commended the police and other institutions and their heads on the prompt response to the incident. He expressed the belief that the police and judiciary would do all they can to solve the case as soon as possible.