Belgrade, March 12, 2012
SERBIA - K&M - DIALOG
STEFANOVIC TO COOPER: PRISTINA'S ABUSE SHOULD STOP
BELGRADE, March 11 (Tanjug) - Head of the Belgrade team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic has said that he will make a point to European mediator Robert Cooper next week that Pristina's attempts to impose Kosovo license plates and identity documents upon the citizens of Serbia in Kosovo had to be stopped.
Stefanovic, who should confer with Cooper via a video link next week, to discuss the implementation of the agreements reached, reiterated that the Serbian government was committed to implementing all agreements, but that the abuses had to stop.
"There are not much things left to implement. The main issue is the agreement on joint management of the administrative crossings and there will obviously be a lot of technical problems. But we will discuss with Cooper some problems that have arisen in the meantime, which represent a clear abuse by Pristina concerning the license plates of our (Serbian) citizens in Kosovo and Metohija and of our documents," Stefanovic said for Tanjug.
Stefanovic recalled that the leaflets that EULEX had been handing out at the Jarinje and Brnjak crossings the other day, which stated that the citizens of Kosovo must have KS (Kosovo) or RKS (Republic of Kosovo) licence plates, Kosovo identity cards and driving licenses starting from June 1, had been put out of force.
"It is good that there are no more of these leaflets and that they have been withdrawn. In any case, they certainly do not reflect the EU position, or that which was agreed in Brussels," said Stefanovic.
"Freedom of movement applies to all alike; it should be broad and should enable people to lead a normal life, rather than worsening the situation by introducing certain categories of population. So we need to bypass all such challenges with a certain package of measures," concluded Stefanovic.
The Belgrade-Pristina dialogue, confirmed Stefanovic, will be continued after the upcoming elections in Serbia are completed and new government is formed, but in the meantime, negotiators will have talks with Cooper either via video link or at informal meetings.
BOGDANOVIC: PRISTINA PROVOKING, NOTHING DEFINITE YET
BELGRADE , March 12 (Tanjug) - Recent statements that Serbs in Kosovo Metohija (KiM) will have to use either RKS or KS license plates and Kosovo's IDs as of June 1 are only Pristina's provocation, since nothing has been specified regarding the issues yet, Serbian Minister for KiM Goran Bogdanovic has said.
He noted that the license plates and IDs will be the topics of this week's talks between chief of Belgrade's negotiation team Borislav Stefanovic and EU mediator Robert Cooper.
However, a great number of Serbs who live south to Ibar (River) already uses the mentioned plates and Kosovo IDs for the sake of their own safety. This does not mean they accept them, but rather that they are forced to do that in order to be able to move freely. Everyone knows that security situation in this area is much more difficult than in the north, the minister told Belgrade daily Vecernje novosti.
He also said that Serbs in northern Kosovo cannot be forced to use license plates or IDs of Kosovo institutions, which do not exist in this part of the province.
The problem has to be solved at a higher level, and I hope that this will be part of an agreement between Belgrade and Pristina. Still, the will of the citizen has to be respected, and neither license plates nor IDs can be imposed on them. The issue will definitely be resolved when the status of northern Kosovo is determined, Bogdanovic said.
He qualified as unacceptable the fact the EULEX distributed leaflets at the crossings of Jarinje and Brnjak, which say that Kosovo citizens have to start using KS or RKS license plates, IDs, driving and traffic license as of June 1.
EULEX withdrew the leaflets after an intervention by our ministry, but, with this move, it unfortunately once again took Pristina's side, which is not good, the minister said.
DREWS: AGREEMENT SHOULD BE REACHED PROMPTLY
FRANKFURT, March 12 (Tanjug) - KFOR Commander Erhard Drews believes that Belgrade and Pristina should reach a political agreement on northern Kosovo as soon as possible, and added that the agreement has to be acceptable for all the people who live there.
It is the people who live in northern Kosovo who have problems, not negotiators. The question is whether any political decision or agreement could be imposed on them, unless they at least tolerate it, he told Frankfurtbased Serbian language daily Vesti.
The German general said that the Serb majority in the north lives in some kind of a frozen conflict, and added that it would be very hard for them if Belgrade cut off its financial support.
I am aware to what extent the citizens from northern Kosovo rely on the money from Belgrade and that they are wondering what they will do without that support. They obviously do not expect anyone to assume the role of Belgrade, especially not Pristina, Drews said.
When asked how it can be said that KFOR is neutral when it does not let the Serbs to block EULEX customs officers, who go to administrative crossings in order to fill Pristina's coffers, Drews said that the mission is obliged to respect Resolution 1244.
One of the provisions is that Kosovo is a unique customs zone and that it is on EULEX to establish it, he said.
If EULEX decides to go to the administrative crossings, it is my obligation to protect them and allow freedom of movement in keeping with Resolution 1244, he said, and added that the agreement on integrated border management also relies on the document.
NIKOVIC:ORBAN'S VISIT AHEAD OF ELECTIONS NOT A PRECEDENT
BELGRADE, March 09 (Beta) - Hungary's ambassador to Serbia, Oszkar Nikowitz , said that Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban's visit to the country ahead of elections in response to an invitation from the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians was not unusual, but an incentive for the Vojvodina Hungarians and also a sign that there was no longer any mistrust between Serbia and Hungary.
Lecturing at the Institute for International Politics and the Economy, on Hungarian foreign political priorities in Serbia and the Balkans, he said that only another Hungarian party in Vojvodina could accuse Orban of interfering, since it was not competing with large Serbian parties.
Nikowitz said that he understood the objections voiced by small Hungarian parties after Orban declined to participate in their campaigns, explaining that his support for the Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians, as the largest ethnic Hungarian party, would help prevent a loss of votes.
NIKOWITZ: COMPLETE EUROPE STRONG HUNGARIAN INTEREST
SUBOTICA, March 12 (Tanjug) - Serbia being given the status of a candidate for EU membership poses a success for Hungary, mostly because of the fact Hungary has been seen as Serbia's advocate for years now, Hungarian Ambassador to Serbia Oszkar Nikowitz told the Vajdasag MA internet portal.
According to him, Europe is not complete without the Balkans, and the problems in the Balkans cannot be solved without a broad integration.
It is Hungary's strong interest and could even be seen as a complex system of interest, he noted, adding that Hungary's support for the region was sincere.
Commenting on the future, Nikowitz thinks Hungary's primary goal is to inform candidates about the advantages of the EU and to do so in the simplest way possible, through its own experience.
There are doubts about the EU in Hungary as well, and when Hungary advocated for Serbia to get the candidate status, many wondered why do so when there are problems in Hungary as well, Nikowitz stated. However, the opinion in Hungary is positive after 8 years of EU membership, and Serbia can count on the same thing too, he believes.
Hungary has worked continuously to bring Serbia and the entire Balkans closer to the EU, he remarked.
JAPANESE GOVERNMENT HELPS EDUCATION INSTITUTIONS IN SERBIA
BELGRADE, March 09 (Beta) - The government of Japan has donated around EUR162,000 for the reconstruction of two elementary schools and one preschool institution in Serbia, to assist improving the country's education system.
The money is intended for the "Svetozar Markovic" in Rekovac and "Vuk Karadzic" elementary schools in Vladicin Han, and also for reconstructing the roof, facade, walls and ceilings in the "Pahuljice" preschool institution in Brus.
The contracts on the donation were signed in the Serbian government building on March 9, by the Japanese ambassador in Belgrade, Toshio Tsunozaki, and the directors of the three education institutions, in the presence of Serbian Minister for Education Zarko Obradovic and of the municipal chiefs of Rekovac, Vladicin Han and Brus.