Daily Survey

Belgrade, June 11, 2012

JEREMIC, PRESIDENT OF THE 67TH SESSION OF THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY / REACTIONS

VUK JEREMIC UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY PRESIDENT

NEW YORK, June 8 (Tanjug) –It is an extreme honour to stand before the General Assembly after becoming the president of the 67th session of the UN General Assembly, Jeremic said addressing representatives of UN member countries, his first address after winning the vote, in which he got support from 99 countries.As the first topic of the debate at the opening of the 67th session, Jeremic proposed bringing views closer and solving international disputes by peaceful means.In view of our experiences, I believe we can help implement all the harmonized proposals, especially those referring to prevention of conflicts, he noted, calling on the assembly not to forget that peace is not merely an absence of war once they start discussing that important issue in September.Jeremic stressed Serbia's commitment to preserving international peace and security, the UN's first declared goal.Government in Serbia changes by peaceful means and in accordance with the rule of law, he pointed out. Serbia is a democratic country, which has no other ambitions but to contribute to humanity's general interests, preserve its sovereignty and territorial integrity and benefit its people, Jeremic underscored.

JEREMIC BELIEVES SERBIA WILL JUSTIFY TRUST

NEW YORK, June 8 (Tanjug) –Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic stated that the decision of the UN General Assembly that Serbia should head this institution in the year to come reflects the trust placed in the country.Jeremic recalled that 20 years ago Serbia was a country that was excluded from the UN system, and now it will be the one heading it."Today we are heading the UN and all eyes of the world are on us. I believe Serbia will justify the trust placed by the world and that it will act from the top position in the UN system in a way which will make our nation proud. We earned great trust, and now it is up to us to justify it," Jeremic told Tanjug in New York.Jeremic, who was elected by the majority of votes to preside the UN General Assembly for a year, pointed out that Serbia has been through a difficult period in the past several years, and encountered huge challenges."We decided to face those challenges by using only diplomatic means. Many people doubted the way Serbia pursues its foreign policy and builds its international position, and now we see that we enjoy considerable reputation and that the world decided we should be the ones to head the UN," Jeremic said.Speaking of his future work in the UN, Jeremic said that Serbia is ahead of a year with plenty of challenges for global peace and stability, and Serbia's role will be to organize talks and diplomatic engagement in the world.

LITHUANIA: JEREMIC WINS WITH RUSSIA'S SUPPORT

VILNIUS, June 8 (Tanjug) –The Lithuanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the victory of Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic over Lithuanian candidate Ambassador Dalius Cekuolis in the vote for chair of the UN General Assembly on Friday was a result of the Serbian candidate's campaign and Russia's support.The defeat of the Lithuanian representative, whom the United Nations assessed very positively, can be primarily attributed to the Serbian candidate's campaign, as well as to Russia's full support for the Serbian representative and open enmity towards the Lithuanian candidate, reads the statement published on the Ministry's website.Lithuanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Audronius Azubalis believes that, regardless of the outcome of the vote, Lithuania received great international support, which shows that the country's foreign policy is recognized worldwide, and that it has built up a reputation as an active and responsible member of the international community.

MOSCOW: JEREMIC'S WIN PROOF OF SERBIA'S AUTHORITY

MOSCOW, June 9 (Tanjug) –The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated Saturday that the election of Serbian Foreign Minster Vuk Jeremic as chairman of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) is a proof of Serbia's authority in the international relations, and Jeremic's professional qualities.The official statement released by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed hope that the newly-elected president of the UNGA would activate this body, including enhancement of the GA operation methods, and improve the efficiency of the world organization with a view to adjustment to the reality of the modern world.We are ready for a fruitful dialogue with Jeremic on the GA current issues, and mutually-useful cooperation aimed at strengthening of the central role of the UN in the multipolar system of international relations, the statement adds.

WESTERWELLE CONGRATULATES JEREMIC

BERLIN, June 9 (Tanjug) –German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle congratulated Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic on his election as chairman of the upcoming 67th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) session on Friday.Minister Jeremic is assuming the office at the moment when the General Assembly is to table important global issues of peace, security, development, environmental protection, human rights and humanitarian issues, Westerwelle's statement reads.I wish Jeremic much success and a lucky hand in this responsible work. Germany will offer him full support in fulfillment of the tasks, Westerwelle said in his congratulations note.

26TH MEETING OF THE COUNCIL OF FOREIGN MINISTERS

OF THE ORGANIZATION OF THE BLACK SEA ECONOMIC COOPERATION (BSEC) IN BELGRADE

BLACK SEA REGION- WITHOUT NEIGHBOUR DISPUTES

BELGRADE, June 11 (Tanjug) –The 26th meeting of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) started in Belgrade on Monday, and declaring the meeting open, Serbia's Assistant Foreign Minister Sladjana Prica underlined that the goal of the BSEC is to make the Black Sea region an area without disputes between neighbouring countries."Our goal is to become a properous and peaceful part of the world. During the 6-month presidency of the organization, Serbia has promoted the dialogue and cooperation between member states, the atmosphere of trust and respect," Prica stressed, adding that the organization is gradually taking on a greater role in drafting and implementing joint projects in the region.Last year, Belgrade was a symbolic center of regional cooperation. More than 100 meeting were held, including many BSEC meetings, she recalled. Prica noted that Serbia had presided over many regional organizations, and that is currently chairing the South-East European Cooperation Process (SEECP).The strengthening of the BSEC internal structures has been the priority of Serbia's presidency, she added, stressing that it led to the strengthening of cooperation in priority domains. She noted environmental security as one of the priority fields, and pointed to the declaration on climate change and green economy which was adopted in Belgrade in late April.She added that another priority of Serbia's presidency was energy, referring to the South-Stream pipeline project. In addition to this, Serbia promoted the partnership between the BSEC and EU, and the first meeting with the EU was held in February prior to the adoption of an EU strategy for the Black Sea region, she added.Prica noted that this year, the BSEC is marking 20 years since its foundation, and that the Agenda for the Future", which is due to be adopted during today's meeting, should mark the start of celebrations. The BSEC was founded at the summit of heads of state and government of 11 countries of the wider Black Sea region in Istanbul on June 25, 1992. Serbia has been a BSEC member state since April 2004, and it assumed the six-month presidency of the organization on January 1, 2012.

SERBIA

NIKOLIC WAS INFORMED STILL NO PARLIAMENTARY MAJORITY

BELGRADE, June 11 (Tanjug) –President Nikolic was informed by SPS leader Dacic that there was still no parliamentary majority & about the talks with the Democrats and their leader Boris Tadic, which whom they reached an agreement immediately following the parliamentary election, and with whom they would try to form a majority.Ivica Dacic said that he would continue talks with the Democratic Party (DS), but once again stressed that he would not be part of a government that would include the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) but not the United Regions of Serbia (URS)."Nikolic said he was prepared to give us a mandate to form the government if were are capable of securing a parliamentary majority," said the SPS leader.Dacic said he believed a compromise should be made, but would not cave under pressure to agree to a government with only the LDP, just for the sake of rounding up 126 seats.He said the coalition around the SPS agreed with the president that a government should be formed as soon as possible, but that it must not be formed at all costs i.e. with just anyone.According to Dacic, it is not the Socialists that are stalling the formation of a new government, rather it is the DS that finds the URS unacceptable.Explaining his reluctance to be in a government with the LDP, the SPS leader said it was due to its position on Republika Srpska, but added it would also be difficult to come to an agreement with the SNS as this coalition would require support from the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) which is opposed to Serbia's EU accession."Our position is clear. If the talks with the DS - which we might continue as soon as tomorrow - fail, only then will we sit down with other major factors, above all the SNS," said Dacic.Asked when the next government would be formed, Dacic said the deadline expired in September, but that in his opinion there was no need to wait that long.

DODIK: RS PRIORITY, KOSOVO ADDRESSED PRAGMATICALLY

BANJA LUKA, June 8 (Tanjug) –Republika Srpska (RS) President Milorad Dodik thinks RS should be a priority for Serbia in the national sense, while the Kosovo issue should be addressed pragmatically."I understand that Serbia's number one priority is Kosovo, speaking in the government sense, but nationally, RS is the top priority, because 1,400,000 Serbs live here," he told Tanjug. According to Dodik, Kosovo should be viewed with pragmatism and "the story closed."Legitimate requests by Serbs in northern Kosovo have to be granted by giving them a certain status and then solving the issues of Serbs in other parts of Kosovo, as well as the issue of Serbian Orthodox monasteries. The integration of ethnic Albanians into Serbia is no longer possible, and the issue of Kosovo is one of continuity, which Serbia should settle with the international community, Dodik stated, adding that the international community had been "unfair" towards the Serbs and the Serb national issue for a long time."Kosovo cannot be recognized until the humiliation the international community did to the Serbs regarding that issue is mended," he stressed. RS did not use Kosovo's unilateral declaration of independence to declare its own independence, Dodik pointed out."We had an opportunity back then to say if they can do it, so can we in RS. We want it. And yet we did not do it. Do you know why? Because Serbia called for a policy territorial continuity in its official policy," he explained and stressed that Bosnia-Herzegovina had not recognized Kosovo to the day because of RS's stand.The Serbs in RS should be entitled to Serbian citizenship as well, just like the Hungarians in Vojvodina can have Hungarian citizenship and Croats in Bosnia-Herzegovina Croatian, Dodik stated, adding that he is a citizen of Serbia himself."We are not Bosnian Serbs. We are Serbs. I do not come from Bosnia. I come from RS. That is my message," he underlined, adding that to RS, Bosnia-Herzegovina was "just a stop along the way, where it has stayed for too long."The Serbs need to identify their national interest in the same way in Serbia and RS, he remarked.Commenting on Tomislav Nikolic's victory in the presidential election in Serbia, Dodik stated he expected institutional cooperation with him, respected the fact he had been elected and that they agreed on some issues and not on others."I have heard of his anger caused by my appearances at Democratic Party's rallies during the election campaign, but I would like to remind him that he also was here two years ago in support of his party," Dodik pointed out.The RS president thinks Nikolic is going to continue regional cooperation successfully.Commenting on the criticism Nikolic received for saying there had been no genocide in Srebrenica, Dodik stated that "indeed no genocide happened in Srebrenica. I keep saying that. Of course, someone in The Hague said a genocide of limited scpe had happened there and was committed by individuals. Those individuals have answered for it. Why should then an entire people be bullied with that story."Nikolic is correct in that sense, because he is not defending any of those who are in the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and none of those wanted by the ICTY are in Nikolic's surroundings, Dodik said.He also confirmed he would attend Nikolic's inauguration, adding that RS wished to cooperate and stressing that the council on the implementation of the agreement on special relations between Serbia and RS should be activated.The RS president reiterated that the next Serbian government should not include those who are going to undermine the joint projects between Belgrade and Banja Luka, and that prime minister candidate Boris Tadic would lose political significance if he included the Liberal Democratic Party in the government."Does Boris need to lose his political significance by including the liberals? Almost 2 million people in Serbia have their roots here. Do you think they are going to accept that easily," Dodik asked."If he includes them, I am going to tell him that it is a bad move and explain why.I have explained that to him recently when I met him. He also thinks it is not a good thing. He only gets trouble from the liberals," said Dodik.According to the RS president, it would be smarter to have United Regions of Serbia leader Mladjan Dinkic in that government."If I were the prime minister, I would think like this. If a group of economic experts were left out of the government, who are definitely in that party, it could become a dangerous opposition. It is better to have them inside, and not as opponents, in the process, and not outside of it," Dodik believes.All those who speak against RS should know that "we have made not a country here, but a great country," which is the deciding factor in Bosnia-Herzegovina, he noted."They do not like that in Sarajevo,and the international community does not like the fact we are a factor, but we are a factor. They cannot do anything without us. And the only thing I am glad about is that this 'quasi-Belgrade' is irritated by it," he pointed out.Commenting on the relations with Sarajevo, Dodik said Sarajevo viewed RS as "some kind of a foreign country that keeps moving further away," but that the Dayton Agreement was there and Banja Luka respected what was written in it, and not that "which has been taken from us or imposed on us."Europe has realized that everything in Bosnia-Herzegovina has to be done through coordination and that RS "is not prepared to relinquish its autonomy for European integration," but that it wished to stregthen it through the concept of a Europe of regions."Have you heard of an autonomy cancelling itself anywhere in the world? Why should we be masochists and do it to ourselves? I think that is perfectly clear now and that we now have a constructive dialogue with Europe on the issue," he noted.He underlined the legalization of the institution of referendum as one of his accomplishments, adding that it "always has timing." "Today we have the law on referendum. Are we going to hold a referendum on status? I am convinced that we are, but it is done only once in the life of a nation, when such a move is appropriate," Dodik concluded.

TANJA FAJON: VISA-FREE REGIME SUSPENSION DANGEROUS FOR SERBIA

BELGRADE, June 8 (Tanjug) –Tanja Fajon, Slovenian member of the European Parliament, stated Sunday that temporary suspension of the visa-free regime within the reform of Schengen rules could be dangerous for Serbia, which is a source of a large number of asylum seekers.Certain EU members could soon opt for such a measure, and even request Serbia's return to black Schengen list, she said for Novi Sad-based daily Dnevnik.Stressing that a large number of asylum seekers from Serbia is a very serious problem, Fajon noted that according to the European Commission data only last year nearly 14,000 asylum requests arrived to EU countries.It is very important for the Serbian authorities to do everything in their might to reduce the number of asylum seekers, and to inform the citizens thoroughly on the rules referring to the freedom of movement in the EU, she said.The current developments within the EU that is the definition of a mechanism for suspension of the visa-free regime have nothing to do with the elections in Serbia, Fajon underlined.Fajon noted that Serbia joined the visa-free regime, adding that she hopes that its citizens will never again have to wait for visas so that they could travel to the EU countries.The EU interior ministers agreed this week at a meeting in Luxembourg that in spite of the Schengen agreement, temporary border control should be reintroduced in exceptional cases.Reimposing border checks, which would be in the hands of the EU national governments, is justified by security reasons such as threats of terrorism and natural disasters, and great influx of refugees from crisis areas.

MINSK TO CONTINUE RELATIONS WITH SERBIA

MINSK, June 11 (Tanjug) –Minsk will continue normal relations with Serbia even after the country joined the sanctions imposed on Belarus by the EU, said Andrei Savinih, a spokesman with the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.There is no doubt that Belarus will be interested in developing normal economic relations with Serbia and that the sanctions will not pose a barrier, Savinih said about future relations between Belgrade and Minsk. On June 8, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton welcomed the decision of Serbia and several other countries, most of which are candidates or potential candidates for EU membership, to join the sanctions Brussels imposed on Minsk on March 23.The sanctions are aimed against several Belarusian companies and individuals who are on the list of financiers and supporters of Alexander Lukashenko's regime. The government in Minsk expressed regret on Monday over the decision of Serbia and six other countries to join the EU sanctions.We reiterate that the policy of sanctions lacks perspective. It sows distrust and prevents a real resolution of disputes. We are saddened by this decision. It is obviously a demonstration of loyalty to a center of power which requires such actions and is prepared to reward them, said Savinih.Serbia is also among the countries which supported the Council of the EU's sanctions against Syria, imposed on February 27, along with Croatia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Iceland, Albania, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova and Georgia.

KOSOVO & METOHIJA

NIKOLIC: I WILL DEMAND CLEAR ANSWERS FROM BRUSSELS

BELGRADE, June 8 (Tanjug) –President Tomislav Nikolic thinks Serbia has done everything asked of it in order to start the accession talks with the EU in autumn and he has stated he will demand a clear answer from EU officials in Brussels on June 14 on whether there are some special requirements for Serbia that could postpone the start of the talks."I expect to finally find out in Brussels what no one in Serbia has heard so far, which is whether the EU insists on Serbia accepting Kosovo's independence in order to continue its path towards the EU. We have received the candidate status and expect, rightfully, the talks to begin in autumn," Nikolic said in an interview for Tanjug.When it comes to objections regarding candidate countries' obligations stemming from the European agenda, Nikolic said he was willing to help "any government that gets formed" to cope with the issues noticed by the EU as well, which referred to the judicial reform, corruption and crime. "The EU is making objections about 24 privatisations, which they say had elements of crime. It has also been objecting in public that we have lost EUR 500-600 million because of poor laws on public procurement," Nikolic said, adding that he really wants those issues to be clarified. He underlined that during his official visit to Brussels, he expects to have an open dialogue with European officials. "Since they will require straightforward answers from me on a number of matters, I also expect to straightforward answers to the issues I will raise," said Nikolic, adding that he was not going to Brussels to get instructions or to get a slap on the wrist, but to require something for Serbia. Regarding the issue already mentioned by Brussels, which relates to his opinion about Srebrenica, Nikolic said that "this is completely clear." "My stand on Srebrenica is completely clear. That is the place in which the members of my people committed a horrendous crime, and I will never try to provide justification for that. But, I will not go beyond what has been concluded in the National Assembly of the Republic of Serbia either."He noted that in March 2010, the parliament passed the Resolution on Srebrenica condemning "the serious crime" which was committed against the Bosniak people in Srebrenica, and underlined that the document does not mention the term 'genocide'. "The title of the Resolution had the word 'genocide' in it, which the parliamentary majority erased, and I believe they had in mind the legal consequences of qualifying the crime. Therefore, I will not go beyond that either," Nikolic explained."Due to my profound reverence for the victims, I was the only one that stood up while addressing the parliament. And I said that I want to stand because I loathe such a horrible crime. As I a man, I can never keep silent if a crime was committed and I cannot but condemn it. I condemn all crimes," Nikolic said.He stressed that on that occasion he insisted that the parliament passed a resolution that would condemn all crimes committed in the territory of former Yugoslavia, with a special emphasis on the crime against the Bosniaks in Srebrenica, which was dismissed by the then ruling coalition. "Therefore, my position on Srebrenica is quite clear," he said, underlying that he respects the parliament's Resolution, and that if some other legislature of that body passed a new resolution, he would also respect it.Commenting on his statement on Vukovar which prompted numerous reactions, including the one by Croatian President Ivo Josipovic, Nikolic said that his words were taken out of the context, and that the misunderstanding was cleared up to a great extent during the talks with the Croatian Ambassador to Belgrade.He recalled that during his campaigns, he spoke of Knin and Vukovar as Serbian towns in terms of population structure, and not in some other context, and stressed that even six or more years ago, he had said that "we recognize Croatia within the borders stipulated in its UN membership." "Vukovar is in the territory of Croatia. If it had a majority Serb population, so what. We have many towns in Vojvodina where the majority population is of some other nationality, and it all functions well. So, I have no intention of appropriating anyone's territory or any people," the Serbian president underscored. Nikolic said he wants to ensure that everyone in Serbia and the region have the same rights and opportunities, assessing that the criticism "the media and some individuals are trying to burden him with at the start of his presidential term, cannot stop him from reaching that goal." "I really want Serbia to be a democratic country. Many had to pretend they had democratic potential, which they actually lacked, and I sometimes had to act like a non-democratic person. But now I am performing a duty that requires great concern and attention," Nikolic noted. Nikolic believes that his behavior in the first 15 days of his term has shown that he does not want any misunderstandings or conflicts with anyone in Serbia or the region: "We have to rely on each other," said Nikolic, adding that the region should not go back to the past if it wants to advance cooperation and develop. According to him, the regional cooperation so far was realised for most of its part at the level of relations "between the previous Serbian president and the presidents of other countries," on the basis of which it was evaluated as good."But apart from those friendly meetings in front of cameras, what else have we gained from that economic cooperation and what has that regional cooperation brought," Nikolic wondered, noting that leaders should encourage the people to cooperate, and not cooperate between themselves.He added he was certain that following a minor "post-election slowdown," he would have the same contacts Serbia's previous president had with the Croatian president and the non-Serb members of the Bosnia-Herzegovina Presidency. "I will accept any invitation for an official visit to any country. We sent out invitations to all heads of state to my inauguration in Belgrade on June 11. Most of them will come. Josipovic apparently has a previous engagement, but we are staying in touch with Croatia," said Nikolic.Asked how he saw the future of the Belgrade-Pristina talks and whether he expected the EU to formally ask Serbia to renounce Kosovo, Nikolic said he believed the EU would never formulate such a request. "I guess that the EU always tried not to speak about independence openly. But, it appears to me that we consciously participated in a silent approach to independence by resolving certain issues that were related to the so-called independent state of Kosovo," Nikolic said.Therefore, I would like all citizens of Serbia to take part in resolving the Kosovo issue based on a consensus of political parties, he added. "If the future government does not want to present a plan that would finally define Serbia's stand on KiM, I will do that," the Serbian president said.He said he can also discuss Tadic's four point plan, although it has never been completely clear to him: "What does the autonomy of northern Kosovo mean? In relation to what? In relation to independent Kosovo or Serbia? Is it some special status for that territory? I would have to know what the one that proposed it really meant. This has remained vague because the plan was presented at the time of the campaign, when politicians try to avoid giving sincere answers to difficult questions," Nikolic said.He also believes that the negotiations should be held at a higher level than it was the case up to now. "I cannot imagine a clerk deciding on the status of Kosovo and Metohija. That should be left for the Prime Minister to decide on," Nikolic underlined, adding that the negotiations are not technical, but rather fateful.The Serbian president said that he is ready to confer with Kosovo Albanians, with the exception of Hasim Taci, for who, as he said, there is founded suspicion that he committed serious crimes against Serbs. "I cannot confer with such a man until the fate of the investigation, which should be seriously carried out by the UN, is resolved, that is until someone finally determines whether he is guilty or not," the president said.As for reactions to his election win, Nikolic said that all heads of state and government congratulated him, and wished Serbia to progress. "My election has to be respected just like the election of any MP. The stories of journalists about what I was like 20 years ago are stories that return us to the past. If we went back to the past, no one would talk with anyone. I do not comment on what others did either yesterday, let alone today. I care about Serbia. Serbia is my dream," he said."In performing this duty I do not want to ruin what I have been building so far. I can only make that better. That side of me which neither the citizens of Serbia nor the world are familiar with, will be revealed. Therefore, it does not worry me that a number of politicians and the media as well, are still in the election race. I am carrying out my duties, and those who are engaged in the election race will have a lot of time ahead of them, because I will be doing this job for a long time," Nikolic said.

STEFANOVIC: NO SECRET AGREEMENTS MADE IN BRUSSELS

BELGRADE, June 9 (Tanjug) –Head of Belgrade's team in the talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic stated Saturday that no secret agreements were reached in Brussels, adding that the Belgrade- Pristina talks need to continue, but that they should be taken to a higher, political level.Stefanovic criticized "an attempt to abuse and manipulate the situation with existence of some secret documents from Brussels", and added alluding to Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic's meeting with north Kosovo Serbs that "the Kosovo issue cannot be solved by shouting slogans, rally-like rhetoric and principled support".In an interview for Tanjug, he said that the allegations about secret documents from Brussels "only serve to get political points", rather than create political coordination and cooperation between the Serbian president and the government regarding the Kosovo issue.The Belgrade-Pristina talks should, on proposal of the president, be taken to a higher, political level, but they definitely should continue, since the only way to resolve problems is at negotiating table.Stefanovic said that the new government or the president would decide on the next team chief in the talks with Pristina."This will not be simple, and it really matters who will head the talks. If this is a person who thinks that they will start the negotiations by giving ultimatums about everything we need and by refusing any compromise, it is better not to start the process at all because it would be doomed to failure," he explained.The team chief noted that the issues that are yet to be discussed in the dialogue are very concrete and that everything needs to be done in order to solve them in a way that would leave Serbia's interests intact."We are getting into a situation where we should resolve the issue of northern Kosovo, special guarantees for Serbs south of the Ibar River, the issue of monasteries and churches and the issue of our property," he said, adding that this might require taking the dialogue to a higher level.In Stefanovic's opinion, this is not a bad idea as the issues related to these topics might be tabled at a higher, political level. By solving these issues, Belgrade would be on the right track to fully regulate its relations with Pristina, he added.He noted that the new team will depend on the new government or the agreement with President Nikolic that is his decision whether he would lead the negations personally or leave it to the government.However, Stefanovic warned that Nikolic's statement that he could lead the negotiations in the capacity of president is dangerous because "that way he would de facto recognize Kosovo's independence".

SERBIA – EU

DELEVIC: EU HAS NOT GIVEN UP ON ENLARGEMENT

SOFIA, June 8 (Tanjug) –Milica Delevic, director of the government's EU Integration Office, has stated that the EU has not given up on the enlargement process, adding that the future of the entire Balkan region lies in joining the European family.Delevic said during a discussion at an international conference on the EU perspective of the Balkan countries that "the continuation of the integration process guarantees a continuous reform process, which will lead to changes we all seek," Bulgarian BTA news agency reported.At the two-day conference dubbed "The Balkans in the global world: encouragement of the European prospect of the region", U.S. Assistant Deputy Secretary of State Philip Reeker said that leaders of the Balkan countries chose what their future would be like.The EU and the U.S. have agreed to work together in areas that are of key importance for the development of the Western Balkans - building democratic institutions, implementation of infrastructure projects, training of young leaders, establishment of peace and stability in the region as a guarantee of security and stability in the global aspect, Reeker pointed out in Sofia.EU facilitator in the Belgrade-Pristina talks Robert Cooper said he believes that every country that wishes to be a part of the EU should be able to join the Union without preconditions.Then they would be able to see how much work was left and results would probably be better, he explained.Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini noted that the biggest mistake would be if the EU had differences in positions on the future of the Balkan countries' EU integration.

STANO: EU DOES NOT URGE SERBIA TO RECOGNIZE KOSOVO

BRUSSELS, June 9 (Tanjug) –The recognition of Kosovo is not a precondition for progress in the EU accession process, Peter Stano, spokesperson of EU Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fule, told.The crucial preconditions are progress in the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, and the implementation of the agreements which have been reached so far, Stano said.He noted that this was clearly stated in the conclusions of the European Council.Serbia is not required to recognize Kosovo, Fule's spokesperson underlined.