Belgrade, April 11, 2012
CVETKOVIC AND WALTER ADVOCATE BETTER COOPERATION
BELGRADE, April 10 (Tanjug) - Serbia's Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic and President of the National Council of Switzerland Hansjorg Walter called on Tuesday for better cooperation between the two countries.
Cvetkovic told Walter Serbia wanted to continue improving its relations with Switzerland in economy and politics. Getting the status of a candidate for EU membership was very important to Serbia, because the status is a recognition of the reforms Serbia has done, Cvetkovic stressed.
Comenting on Kosovo, Cvetkovic told the Swiss parliamentary delegation dialogue was the only way to a compromise, the Serbian government office for media relations stated.
Walter said his country was willing to continue improving the relations with Serbia, commended the reforms conducted so far and added he believed Serbia would keep the central role in the region.
Commenting on economic cooperation, Cvetkovic stressed that numerous Swiss investments were being realized successfully in Serbia and that the fact could encourage other investors to come and invest in Serbia, which has a competitive system of investment subsidies and tax relief for foreign investments.
The prime minister stated also that Serbia's and Switzerland's consecutive presidencies over the OSCE in 2014 and 2015 were an opportunity to improve the two countries' relations even further.
Walter is on a three-day visit to Serbia, which he started on Monday by meeting with Parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic Dejanovic.
POLICE ARRESTS NINE EMBASSY ARSON SUSPECTS
BELGRADE, April 10 (Beta) - Police have so far detained nine people suspected of involvement in the arson of the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade in 2008, Radio Television of Serbia (RTS) reported Wednesday morning.
Three people were arrested in Belgrade, one in Indjija (42 km northeast of Belgrade), while the criminal police of Novi Sad arrested five people in that city, according to the RTS.
The persons arrested in Novi Sad are members of an organized group of Football Club Vojvodina fans, called Firma (The Firm).
The U.S. Embassy was set on fire after a protest that was held in downtown Belgrade on February 21, 2008. The 'Kosovo is Serbia' protest was against the unilateral declaration of Kosovo's independence.
Zoran Vujovic (20) from Novi Sad, originally from Kosovo Metohija (KiM), lost his life in the fire.
Republic Public Prosecutor Zagorka Dolovac said yesterday that police had actually started the operation to arrest a total of 14 persons suspected of setting on fire foreign embassies in the February 2008 protest in Belgrade.
Dolovac said that she expected that the following day all the suspects would be arrested and that criminal proceedings would be launched against them.
For more than a year, she told Tanjug, prosecutor's have been procuring evidence, which includes video recordings by foreign embassies in Belgrade based on which the participants in the violent protest have been identified. As she explained, among them there are hooligans known for involvement in incidents at sporting events.
The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade welcomed the arrests, stressing that it was not important to only punish the perpetrators, but also those who had given the orders and those who supported the attacks.
U.S. EMBASSY WELCOMES ARRESTS
BELGRADE, April 10 (Tanjug) - The U.S. Embassy in Belgrade welcomed Tuesday the arrests of people who took part in an attack on the embassy building in 2008, pointing out it is important to punish not only the perpetrators but also the organizers and supporters of the attack.
This is one of our main priorities, as head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Michele Leonhart noted in recent meetings with Serbian officials, the Embassy said in a written statement for Tanjug.
It is important to prosecute not only those who took part in the attack itself, but also those in power who ordered or in some other way supported this egregious violation of national and international law, says the statement.
The Embassy said it deeply appreciated the support shown during the investigation by the Serbian authorities, including the presidency, justice minister, chief prosecutor and the police, with whom close cooperation was established.
State Public Prosecutor Zagorka Dolovac confirmed earlier in the day that an arrest operation was under way against 14 people suspected of participation in the burning of foreign embassies during a protest in Belgrade in February 2008.
The U.S. Embassy was set on fire after the protest 'Kosovo is Serbia' which was held in downtown Belgrade on February 21, 2008, after Kosovo unilaterally declared independence on February 17.
DANISH AMBASSADOR: STANDARDS, NOT MONEY FROM EU FUNDS
BUJANOVAC , April 10 (Beta) - The Danish ambassador to Serbia, Mette Kjuel Nielsen, stated in Bujanovac on April 10 that European integration should not be viewed primarily through money from the EU funds and that values, standards and laws, which Serbia is obliged to fulfill as a member candidate, are the key to admission.
Mette Kjuel Nielsen, along with the ambassador of Norway, Nils Ragnar Kamsvag, and the chairman of the National Council of the Albanians, Galip Beqiri, attended the panel discussion "With Dialogue Through Real Life", organized by the Center for Democracy and the Development of Southern Serbia.
Although the candidate status for EU membership that Serbia was recently granted is a great success, and a significant precondition for the arrival of foreign investors, the path to membership consists of a number of reforms which the Serbian authorities are claiming to want to carry out, Nielsen said.
She said that the huge funding Serbia has received from the EU funds and from some member countries, was given towards attaining values and standards, and that the EU requires all prospective member countries to strictly and precisely implement the law.
Kamsvag said that the citizens of Norway voted against EU membership at a referendum twice, but that the laws and the economy of this country, except in the fields of agriculture and fishing, are in full accord with the EU legislation.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
STEFANOVIC: CONFLICTS IN KOSOVO TO BE SETTLED THROUGH TALKS
BELGRADE, April 10 (Tanjug) - Head of the Belgrade team for the talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic met in Belgrade on Tuesday with President of the National Council of Switzerland Hansjorg Walter and Austria's State Secretary for Foreign Affairs Wolfgang Waldner.
Stefanovic told Tanjug he had discussed Serbia's EU integration, talks with Pristina and recent provocations by ethnic Albanian extremists in Kosovo with the two officials.
The Austrian and Swiss representatives called for peace and dialogue as the way to solve all probelms in Kosovo.
They said dialogue is the only way to resolve all conflicts, Stefanovic noted, adding that a number of attacks on Serbs happened a few days earlier in Kosovo.
Ethnic Albanian extremists threw stones at vehicles transporting Serbian government officials and the Belgrade negotiating team, who had come to Pristina to discuss the implementation of agreements reached in Brussels.
The same day, unidentified individuals wrote offensive graffiti on the Serb church in the village of Brod, Strpce municipality, and group of ethnic Albanian sport fans attacked Serbs in Gracanica earlier.
DELL: NEGOTIATIONS ON KOSOVO NORTH POSSIBLE, NO AUTONOMY
PRISTINA, April 10 (Beta) - U.S. Ambassador in Kosovo Christopher Dell has not ruled out the possibility that negotiations on solving the situation in northern Kosovo could start this year, but added that the north could not count on being given special status, Kosovo TV reported on April 10.
Dell said that a serious review of the situation in northern Kosovo would almost definitely be conducted before elections were held in Kosovo. Still, he said, this hinges on when a cabinet will be created in Serbia following elections in May.
The U.S. ambassador ruled out the possibility of giving the north, which is predominantly inhabited by Serbs, special status or any kind of autonomy, as a solution to the problem.
Neither the Kosovo government nor the U.S. want this. The only thing that can happen is that negotiations can be held between the Kosovo government and citizens in the north on the conditions that govern their daily lives, so that they feel better living in the republic of Kosovo, he said.