BELGRADE, December 11, 2002
FROM THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
KOSOVO – METOHIJA
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FROM THE FEDERAL REPUBLIC OF YUGOSLAVIA
YUGOSLAVIA AND CROATIA SIGN PROTOCOL ON PREVLAKA
PREVLAKA, Dec. 10 (Beta) - The Croatian and Yugoslav foreign ministers, Tonino Picula and Goran Svilanovic, respectively, signed a protocol at the Konfin border crossing on the Prevlaka peninsula on Dec. 11, stipulating a temporary regime at that part of the border between Croatia and Yugoslavia.
The protocol regulates the crossing of the border, the border regime, demilitarization and the removal of mines, the competence of the police and customs officials, and other issues.
After the signing Picula said that this marked the turning of "a new page in relations between the two countries," and was sending a message to the international community and an invitation to tourists and businessmen to come to Prevlaka.
He added that "the agreement cannot be viewed as just a list of 32 points and six annexes that constitute it," because with this protocol "Prevlaka is no longer a crisis point, but a point from where cooperation between our two countries will begin."
Goran Svilanovic said that the protocol had shown that "our two countries are capable of resolving even very difficult situations in a friendly manner," and is proof of the two governments' determination to show that they were a part of Europe.
The protocol became effective immediately after its signing. UN monitors currently stationed in Prevlaka will leave the peninsula on Dec. 15.
NO FLAGS ON PREVLAKA, SVILANOVIC
HERCEG NOVI, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - There will be no flags on Prevlaka, and the only place where the Yugoslav, Montenegrin and Croatian flags will be flown will be the Konfin border crossing, Yugoslav Foreign Minister Goran Svilanovic told the press in Njivice, near the Montenegrin Adriatic town of Herceg Novi.
Svilanovic said that the protocol on the temporary regime on Prevlaka, which was signed on Tuesday and which immediately came into force, regulates issues linked to border crossings, the cross-border regime, demilitarization, demining, police and customs competencies and other transport issues and those linked to the life of the people of this region.
After the United Nations peacekeepers pull out of Prevlaka on Dec 15, joint Yugoslav, Montenegrin and Croatian border police will enter the area.
CROATIAN PRIME MINISTER: PREVLAKA AGREEMENT IS STEP FORWARD
ZAGREB, Dec. 10 (Beta) - Croatian Prime Minister Ivica Racan said on Dec. 10 in Zagreb that the signing of the Protocol on the Prevlaka peninsula is a significant step forward in the normalization of relations between his country and Yugoslavia and in the establishment of stability in the region.
"We believe that this is a big step towards the normalization of relations on the southern border and the resolution of an unsettled issue which was a rightful cause of concern to Croatian citizens," Racan said at a news conference in Zagreb.
"The agreement itself goes beyond bilateral relations...it is a contribution to regional stability," Racan said, adding that the protocol is "a good basis" for drawing a permanent line of demarcation between Croatia and Yugoslavia.
EU HIGH REPRESENTATIVE WELCOMES AGREEMENT ON PREVLAKA
BRUSSELS, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - EU foreign policy and security chief Javier Solana on Tuesday strongly welcomed the Yugoslav-Croatian agreement on the border peninsula of Prevlaka, that is the protocol on a temporary border regime in the area, signed by Foreign Ministers Goran Svilanovic of Yugoslavia and Tonino Picula of Croatia.
Solana warmly welcomed the agreement on Prevlaka, which clearly shows the diplomatic skill and persistence in the resolution of international disputes. A statement released by Solana's office said that he had voiced special satisfaction with the fact that the agreement had been achieved through direct talks between Croatia and Yugoslavia, largely due to personal engagement of Foreign Ministers Svilanovic and Picula.
Solana praised the constructive participation of Montenegrin authorities in the conclusion of this agreement. The agreement shows a major progress achieved in the normalization of relations between the two countries, which is extremely important for regional cooperation and stability as well as closer ties with the European Union, the statement said.
LONDON WELCOMES PROTOCOL ON PREVLAKA
LONDON, Dec. 10 (Beta) - Great Britain on Dec. 10 welcomed the signing of a protocol on a temporary regime for the Prevlaka peninsula as a significant step forward in relations between Croatia and Yugoslavia.
"I want to congratulate the leaders of Croatia and Yugoslavia for reaching this agreement on Prevlaka after years of disputes. Thus they have given an outstanding example for bilateral relations in the region," Foreign Office official Dennis MacShane said in a written statement.
COOPERATION BETWEEN BELGRADE AND HAGUE TRIBUNAL SHOULD BE TWO-WAY
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - "This is not the first time, and will probably not be the last, that a statement by Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica regarding this country's cooperation with the tribunal in The Hague, is interpreted and taken out of context, instead of being quoted," the Yugoslav president's cabinet has told Tanjug.
Monday's issue of London daily The Times said that Kostunica had told its Belgrade correspondent that "Yugoslavia will no longer hand over people indicted for war crimes to tribunal in The Hague," instead of citing him verbatim: "Real cooperation will be difficult in the future it continues to be one-sided," the cabinet set out.
The two-way cooperation, mentioned by President Kostunica, implies among other things that the tribunal should release on their recognizance pending trial indictees who surrender voluntarily with the guaranties of the federal and republican governments. The cabinet said that this cooperation also implies that a number of trials are transferred to domestic courts.
Relations between Yugoslavia and The Hague tribunal are regulated by the law adopted by the federal parliament and as obligations of a country who is a member of the United Nations, but their implementation can be halted, made difficult or stimulated by either of the two sides. It is the duty of President Kostunica to respect our country's obligations but, also to intervene, from the office to which he was elected by the people, when he assesses that the other side - in this case the tribunal in The Hague - is not responding to the steps in the right direction made by Yugoslavia over the past two years towards this tribunal, the Yugoslav president's cabinet said.
The cabinet said that interpretations of the view regarding the need for two-way cooperation between Yugoslavia and the tribunal, in the way The Times has done, have two consequences - first to incorrectly inform the international public about the Yugoslav president's position towards his country's international obligations and, secondly, and more perfidiously, - to create a basis for additional pressures by the side which is in fact making this cooperation more difficult.
WORK GROUPS TO DRAFT LEGISLATION FOR IMPLEMENTING CONSTITUTIONAL CHARTER FORMED
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Beta) - The constitutional subcommission for drafting legislation for the implementation of the Constitutional Charter of the future joint state of Serbia and Montenegro, on Dec. 10 decided to form two working groups. One of them is charged with drafting a law on the implementation of the constitutional charter, and the other on will compile a charter on human and minorities rights, subcommission chairman Bosko Ristic has said.
At a break during a session, Ristic told journalists that the following session was scheduled for Dec. 14 and Dec. 15 in Belgrade.
He also said that Democratic Party of Socialists of Montenegro representatives did not attend the session because of other obligations, but were informed over the phone of the decisions made on Dec. 10.
CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE URGE CREATION OF FREE TRADE ZONE
LJUBLJANA, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - Representatives of 11 chambers of commerce from countries and provinces from the territory of the former Yugoslavia have invited their governments to hurry up with the signing of relevant agreements in order to set up a free trade zone in the area as soon as possible.
According to previous plans, the zone was to start operating by December 31, 2002, but five free trade agreements are still to be signed in addition to the existing 16, it was said at a news conference at the Slovenian Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the 7th meeting of the Chambers of Commerce of Serbia, Montenegro, Vojvodina, two Kosovo-Metohija (Serb and Albanian) Chambers, Macedonia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and Republika Srpska.
The participants in the two-day meeting in Ljubljana invited the SEE Stability Pact to include the chambers of commerce from the territory of the former Yugoslavia in the work of the Business Advisory Council, since they were the best representatives of the SP member-countries' national economies.
TEN SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN STOCK EXCHANGES SIGN PROTOCOL IN BELGRADE
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Beta) - Ten stock exchanges from southeastern Europe in Belgrade on Dec. 10 signed a protocol on forming an educational consortium of financial markets, laying the groundwork for communication and developing cooperation in line with a market-centralized business model.
The signers are the Belgrade, Ljubljana, Athens, Banjaluka, Bucharest, Bulgarian, Macedonian and Zagreb stock exchanges as well as the Nex Montenegro stock exchange. This closed a two-day regional conference on the development of the financial market.
The forming of a consortium for the improvement of financial analyses, with support and partnership from international institutions, will enable the countries of southeastern Europe to use their own resources in training professionals with high business qualifications and abiding by a code of ethics.
It was concluded at the conference that the rights of shareholders should be additionally regulated, and that the passing of legislation should be transparent and harmonized with EU directives.
BELGRADE AND LJUBLJANA STOCK EXCHANGES TO EXCHANGE INFORMATION
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Beta) - The Belgrade and Ljubljana Stock Exchanges on Dec. 10 signed a memorandum on exchanging information.
The memorandum was signed during a regional conference on the development of the financial market held in Belgrade.
The chairwoman of the Belgrade Stock Exchange, Gordana Dostanic, said that a similar document would also be signed with the Zagreb Stock Exchange.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN YUGOSLAVIA AMONG HIGHEST IN WORLD
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Beta) - The unemployment rate in Yugoslavia is 30 percent and is one of the highest in the world, the latest data released by the Belgrade Institute for Market Research shows.
Institute expert Tomislav Milisavljevic told journalists on Dec. 10 that 900,000 people in Serbia are unemployed.
According to the Institute's estimates, the projected economic growth for 2003 of 5 percent is insufficient to provide such a high number of people with a job. It should be at least 7 percent and continue to grow until it passed the 10 percent mark.
Milisavljevic explained that a 7 percent increase in the GDP could be achieved with foreign investment amounting to about EUR1 billion in 2003, "which is possible if privatization is accelerated." In that case, personal spending would grow proportionally to the growth of the GDP, with an inflation rate possibly exceeding the forecast 9 percent, but not surpassing 10 percent.
YUGOSLAVIA OWES $8.6 BILLION TO FOREIGN LENDERS
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Beta) - Yugoslavia's foreign debt is 8.6 billion dollars, still too heavy a burden on the projected gross social product of $1314 billion, Yugoslav acting finance minister Veroljub Dugalic warned on Dec. 10.
"Yugoslavia owes $2.2 billion to the London Club, without its affiliates. We expect the talks with the London Club of commercial bank lenders to give us the same treatment we enjoy with the Paris Club. What we actually hope for is a $1billion write-off," Dugalic said at a round table called Financial Relations with Foreign Countries Situation and Prospects."
The acting finance minister explained that foreign debt included a clearing debt of $290 million, along with short-term debts to China, a number of Paris Club members and other countries amounting to $1.153 billion. Furthermore, foreign debt includes $682 million to other creditors, a $5.17billion debt rescheduled after 2000, and a $774m debt accumulated in the past two years.
Dugalic says that Yugoslavia is to shoulder the full foreign debt burden after 2006, and especially after 2008, when a grace period Yugoslavia won in the talks with the Paris Club will expire. He said the annual annuities would be in the neighborhood of $300 million by the year 2006, rising to $700800 million tops afterwards.
THE REPUBLIC OF SERBIA
EU BELIEVES STABILITY MUST BE PRESERVED IN SERBIA
BRUSSELS, Dec. 10 (Beta) - The European Union's foreign ministers welcomed in Brussels on Dec. 10 the "improvement" made in Yugoslavia by the adoption of the constitutional charter of the state union of Serbia and Montenegro, and asked that the political crisis in Serbia be resolved in a manner that would preserve the stability of institutions and the continuity of reforms.
The EU ministers expressed "concern over the outcome of the presidential election in Serbia" and said they expect "all sides to put effort into finding a democratic, transparent solution to the crisis based on the constitution, so as to preserve the stability of institutions and the further development of reforms."
This was stated in the foreign ministers' conclusions at a meeting on the situation in the Balkans. The ministers stressed their "grave concern over arms shipments which are a blatant violation of the UN embargo."
The conclusion says that "the EU Council of Ministers once again emphasizes the crucial importance of civilian control of the army," and also gives support to the views and priorities established at the London conference on the struggle against organized crime in southeast Europe.
The ministers welcomed "the extension of UNMIK's direct authority over the northern part of [Kosovska] Mitrovica," as "an important step towards the normalization of the situation in Kosovo."
FRANCE CONCERNED OVER POLITICAL SITUATION IN SERBIA
PARIS, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - France is concerned over the political situation in Serbia following the failure of the repeat presidential election, spokesman of the French Foreign Ministry Francois Rivasseau said Tuesday.
The constant obstructions preventing the election of Serbia's president, the growing number of votes in favor of extremists and the apathy of the voters are the main reasons for the concern, he said. A democratic solution must be found to enable Serbian institutions to function normally, Rivasseau said quoted by Radio France Internationale.
ELECTORAL COMMISSION MAKES PUBLIC FINAL RESULTS OF PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - The Republican Electoral Commission (RIK) made public Tuesday evening the final results of the Serbian presidential election held on December 8.
Turnout was 2,947,748 voters, or 45.17 percent, and 2,946,716 voters cast their votes, or 45.16 percent, RIK said. The number of valid voting slips was 2,866,320, or 97.27 pct, and invalid ones 80,386, or 2.73 pct.
Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) candidate Vojislav Kostunica won 1,699,098 votes, or 57.66 pct, Serbian Radical Party (SRS) candidate Vojislav Seselj got 1,063,296 votes or 36.08 pct, and Serbian Unity Party (SSJ) candidate Borislav Pelevic got 103,926 votes or 3.53 pct, RIK said.
Results have been processed from 8,629 of the 8,630 polling stations (99.99 pct) and the voters' register had 6,525,760 names. The number of received voting slips was 6,541,296, and the number of slips not used was 3,594,178, RIK said.
KOSOVO – METOHIJA
FINAL STATUS OF KOSOVO THROUGH BELGRADE-PRISTINA DIALOGUE, STEINER
WASHINGTON, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - It is still not the moment for the resolution of the final status of Kosovo, but when this time comes, it is unavoidable that Pristina and Belgrade engage in direct talks, without any veto, UNMIK chief Michael Steiner has said.
Speaking to the Voice of America in Washington, where he is participating in regular consultations in the State Department, Steiner pointed out that ultimately the United Nations Security Council will have the final say.
DAILY VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN KOSOVO-METOHIJA, COVIC
BELGRADE, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - Democratic Alternative (DA) leader Nebojsa Covic said on Tuesday, marking the Human Rights Day, that "there is a daily violation of human rights in one part of our country, Kosovo-Metohija".
Covic told a press conference that it is "unbelievable that in the 21st century there are people who are being prevented from returning to their homes, that there is no security and freedom of movement, no resolved problems related to committed crimes and a large number of kidnapped persons and those who had disappeared".
He also said that a multiethnic society in Kosovo-Metohija is a standard that is still very far from being reached. Covic said that the attempt to transform the Kosovo protection corps into the so-called Kosovo defense forces is intolerable, adding that the UN peace-keeping mission in Kosovo "should prevent this at the very beginning".
SITUATION IN KOSOVSKA MITROVICA NORMALIZING, KFOR
KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, Dec. 10 (Tanjug) - Commander of KFOR brigade North General Alain Bidard told Tanjug Tuesday that the situation in Kosovska Mitrovica is normalizing, but he does not expect Serbs to return soon to the southern sector of the divided town.
Bidard said that he was aware that Serbs still do not see their return to the southern sector as a possibility and that he could not hope that this will happen soon, but only gradually. UNMIK, its police and the new town authorities in both sectors are working for the return of ethnic Albanians to the northern Sector and of Serbs to the southern one, and KFOR's task is to secure a safe environment, Bidard said.