Daily Survey

Belgrade, March 14, 2012



MOSCOW, March 14 (Tanjug) – Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic will visit Moscow from March 15 to 17, where he and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will discuss bilateral cooperation, the Kosovo issue and the situation in the Balkans, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a release Wednesday.During the visit, a protocol will be signed on Russia's participation in the interior decoration of St. Sava's Temple in Belgrade.The release notes Russia's participation is confirmation of the spiritual closeness of the two nations and reminds that Russia is financing, through UNESCO, the restoration of destroyed Serbian cultural and religious monuments in Kosovo, a project worth USD 2 million.According to the release, Serbia and Russia have a dynamic and substantial political dialogue, and contacts between their governments, parliaments and ministries reflect the mutual desire to raise bilateral relations to a new level.In the international arena, Belgrade and Moscow advocate a stronger central role for the United Nations as a universal instrument of support to peace and security.Serbia and Russia share the principled position that a final solution to the Kosovo issue must be found in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina and based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244.The focus in bilateral cooperation is on boosting trade and economic cooperation, says the release published on the Foreign Ministry website.The Ministry reminds that among Western Balkan countries, Serbia has traditionally been the leader when it comes to trade with Russia - last year, it totaled USD 2 billion.


BELGRADE, March 14 (Tanjug) – Minister of Education and Science Zarko Obradovic and Chinese Ambassador to Serbia Zhang Wanxue signed Wednesday a Memorandum of Cooperation, on the occasion of launching the project dubbed 'Learning Chinese in Elementary and High Schools of Serbia', by which a total of 2,462 pupils will start learning Chinese as of tomorrow.The pilot project will last until the end of the year and if it proves to be successful, Chinese could be introduced as an optional subject in schools, Obradovic said after signing the document.Zhang stated on the occasion that 14 teachers from China will hold the classes in Serbia, and added that the number of China's friends in Serbia who show interest in learning about the country's culture is increasing.He pointed out that the cultural exchange between the two countries has a long history and added that there is plenty of room for its further development.Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic, who also attended the signing of the document, told the citizens to learn Chinese, because they will need it.Jeremic, who is the chairman of the Inter-state Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation between Serbia and China, said that China is today the key factor in the world piece and economy and that it increasingly affects global political and economic developments.Saying that Serbia is China's only strategic partner in this part of the world, the foreign minister stressed that the partnership will produce more obvious results in the future.


BELGRADE, March 14 (Tanjug) – Foreign Minister of Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) Zlatko Lagumdzija stated on the occasion of the candidacy of his Serbian counterpart Vuk Jeremic for the position of the UN General Assembly chairman that an agreement on one of the two candidates should be reached through consensus.After the signing of the agreement on consular cooperation between Serbia and BiH, Lagumdzija said that there is still enough time before the elections and that a peaceful agreement would be the right solution.When asked what a contrary solution would be, he said that this would imply a failure of eastern European countries to reach a consensus on one candidate.The candidacy application for the position of the UN General Assembly chairman was also filed by Lithuania.


BELGRADE, March 14 (Tanjug) – Russian Ambassador to Serbia Alexander Konuzin stated Wednesday that the European option for the Balkan countries should not be viewed as an option which has no alternative and excludes all other directions of cooperation.The focus is laid on evident advantages of this direction of development of the European relations, while less attention is paid to the well-known risks. Participation of the Balkan countries in the EU will undoubtedly have its specific quality, Konuzin said at the roundtable dubbed 'Russia and Balkans: past and perspectives' in Belgrade Sava Center.Speaking about the risks, Konuzin pointed to the countries experiencing financial crisis and social-political unrests in the last few months.Konuzin recalled the statement by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the world in undergoing accelerated historical processes, which have a major impact on the Balkans.When asked whether the process of dissolution of the Yugoslav state has finished, Konuzin expressed doubts that it did not, recalling the Kosovo issue, unresolved border conflicts, and the issue of refugees.Konuzin concluded that it is difficult to find a topic of greater interest today than the one tabled at Wednesday's meeting, stressing that this topic is on the border between the events of the past and the policy which is conducted today and projected for the future. The roundtable is also announced to gather representatives of political parties, NIS Director General Kiril Kravcenko, advisor to the prime minister Petar Skundric and Bishop Irinej Bulovic of Backa.


BELGRADE, March 14 (Tanjug) – Russian Ambassador in Belgrade Aleksandr Konuzin stated on Wednesday that Russia does not want to interfere with inter-party relations in Serbia and that it would continue maintaining a fruitful cooperation with the next government regardless of the parties that const5itute it.During a break at the meeting entitled 'Russia and the Balkans - The past and perspectives' in Belgrade's Sava Centar, Konuzin told reporters that the majority of parties in Serbia have a friendly attitude toward Russia but that some nuances can be distinguished, and pointed out that Russia wants to continue developing its relations with all its friends.We cannot be a friend to one party and another party's opponent, and we do not want to interfere with inter-party relations in Serbia, Konuzin stated and added that Russia primarily cooperates with Serbia and its people.Replying to reporters' question as to whether Serbia's candidate status can affect the country's economic cooperation with Russia, Konuzin said that this point will not affect cooperation in the short-run and that Russia will use the time to prevent this from happening in the long-run, both in term of the commercial and investment cooperation.However, this would depend on the conditions which Serbia's new partners would impose and they certainly will set new terms and demand that they should be fulfilled, and it will be up to Serbia to decide what suits its national interests more, Konuzin said and underscored that Russia will always be by Serbia's side.Still, Konuzin admitted that nobody among Serbia's partners can predict how the candidate status could affect the country's economic relations with Russia.



BELGRADE, March 13 (Tanjug) – President Ž Tadic conferred in Belgrade with Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Zlatko Lagumdzija on bilateral relations and EU integration of the two countries. Tadic and Lagumdzija stressed the importance of mutual support of Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina on their path towards the EU. The development of political and economic cooperation as well as the situation in the region were also discussed during the meeting, the press service of the president announced.


BELGRADE, March 14 (Tanjug) – The foreign ministers of Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), Vuk Jeremic and Zlatko Lagumdzija respectively, agreed in Belgrade that their Wednesday meeting has opened a new page in the bilateral cooperation, which would become much more dynamic.The two ministers signed an agreement on consular support to citizens of BiH and Serbia in the third countries where one of the signatories does not have a diplomatic office, and agreed to discuss the possibility of joint representation in the world according to the Nordic model.They agreed to make the same offer to other countries in the region.After the signing ceremony, Jeremic announced that the two countries will soon form a list of issues which should be solved together, and after that establish an operative body in charge of the resolution of these matters."There are no more obstacles, and there is much space for cooperation. We have the same goals and models through which we can cooperate," Jeremic noted.The two ministers agreed that a good atmosphere among the heads of Serbia, BiH and Croatia has been created as of lately, and Lagumdzija underlined that the synergy should be taken as an advantage.He recalled that BiH and Serbia agreed on mutual support for the accession to the Council of Europe ten years ago, adding that such cooperation is also required in terms of the EU membership.Jeremic also expressed satisfaction that Lagumdzija chose Belgrade for his first official visit after assuming the office, and recalled that his first visit as the Serbian foreign minister was to Sarajevo.When asked to comment the statement by Serbian Ambassador to BiH Ninoslav Stojadinovic who told Banja Luka media on Monday that BiH has not yet faced the crimes of the past, particularly those committed by Bosniaks, Jeremic said that the ambassador's words were not quoted in the right manner.Lagumdzija said that he was glad to hear the quote was wrong, which as he underlined closes the matter.The two ministers announced that they will frequently meet in the coming period, and that the opportunity for that will shortly present itself already in April, with a regional meeting of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations in Belgrade, and the international donor conference on refugees.



BELGRADE, March 13 (Tanjug) – Serbian parliament Speaker Slavica Djukic-Dejanovic called elections for May 6 also in the Autonomous Province of Kosovo and Metohija.In accordance with UN SC Resolution 1244, the Serbian government will do everything necessary in cooperation with UNMIK to hold the elections in Kosovo, she said. Dejanovic called on all the people in Serbia to vote in the elections so they would result in local governments that would take care of the people's interest.She said she was particularly pleased that at least a third of the local parliaments' deputies are going to be women after the elections.Djukic-Dejanovic has called elections for May 6 in municipalities and cities, including Belgrade, except in Arandjelovac, Bor, Kula, Vrbas, Kovin, Kosjeric, Negotin, Odzaci, Vrnjacka Banja, Knjazevac, Prijepolje and Ruma, while in Kosovo, the elections will not be held in Pristina, Pec, Leposavic, Kosovska Mitrovica and Novo Brdo.


BELGRADE, March 13 (Tanjug) – Spokesperson of European Commission Vice-President Catherine Ashton Maja Kocijancic said Tuesday that the calling of elections in Kosovo is not in accordance with international obligations of Serbia and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244. We took note of the announcement of parliamentary, provincial and local elections for May 6, Kocijancic said in a written statement. She believes that the elections are an opportunity for Serbian citizens to exercise their democratic right to decide on the fate of their country.However, Kocijancic emphasized in the statement that the calling of elections in Kosovo is not in accordance with international obligations of Serbia, and particularly the UN SC Resolution 1244.


PRISTINA, March 13 (Tanjug) – The government in Pristina announced that Belgrade's decision on the holding of local elections in Kosovo is unacceptable and that the results of those elections would have no constitutional, legal, or political legitimity.The Kosovo government said in a statement that the elections are treated as illegal and without legitimacy and that it has already contacted the relevant international factors letting them know that such behavior is unacceptable.The Kosovo government stressed that the EU should make it clear to Serbia that the holding of local elections in Kosovo is in full contradiction not only with the Constitution of Kosovo but also with European principles and values.


PRISTINA, March 13 (Tanjug) – British Ambassador in Kosovo Ian Cliff stated that the EU will insist that no local elections called by Belgrade are organised in Kosovo, adding that he cannot guarantee that the election would not be held.The ambassador noted that the Martti Ahtisaari Plan does not ban Kosovo Serbs from holding both Kosovo and Serbian citizenships and voting in the parliamentary elections, but this is prohibited by UNSC Resolution 1244 which states that Serbia cannot stage elections in the territory of Kosovo.Replying to students' questions, Cliff stated that the talks on northern Kosovo are inevitable but that there will be no new entities like Republika Srpska in Kosovo, and at the same time pointed out that the mistake made in Bosnia will not happen again in Kosovo.


PRISTINA, March 14 (Tanjug) – KFOR Spokesman Uwe Nowitzki told Tanjug that no agreement on the free movement of members of international missions in Kosovo has been reached with Serbs in the north.There is no such agreement, nor has been in the past, Nowitzki told journalists, thus dismissing the statement by Zvecan town councillor Stevan Radovanovic that an agreement has been reached with KFOR.It bewilders us that as soon as a civil servant from a north Kosovo municipality gives a statement for the media, that statement is broadcast and printed without being confirmed by some other source. Moreover, other media just copy it and transmit further, the KFOR spokesman remarked.According to Nowitzki, KFOR representatives left the meeting last Friday when it turned out that Zvecan councillors just wanted to discuss the schedule of KFOR movement, including the number of EULEX vehicles and even the time schedule during a day.That is unacceptable. KFOR has the mandate to ensure the unconditional freedom of movement, he said, adding that KFOR has never held talks in relation to the freedom of movement nor it plans to do so in the future.Nowitzki told journalists in Kosovo that KFOR accepts peaceful protests, but roadblocks are clearly against any law.In order to fulfill its mandate, EULEX has to have the freedom of movement, the KFOR spokesman stressed.


BELGRADE, March 14 (Tanjug) – KFOR Commander Erhard Drews has stated that KFOR is not interested in local elections in Kosovo-Metohija, as this is not an issue of KFOR's concern.KFOR must guarantee freedom of movement and security to all citizens, as well as help normal functioning of all legal crossings, Drews stated for Wednesday's edition of Belgrade daily Blic.Drews underlined that the freedom of movement in north Kosovo is improving, but that KFOR cannot be satisfied until full freedom of movement is secured to all people in the north.On the occasion of removal of barricades near the Jarinje and Brnjak administrative crossings, Drews said that it is always good when barricades are removed as they affect human lives.He added that there is a number of illegal crossings that KFOR knows about and therefore searches vehicles in order to prevent smuggling, while loaded trucks are redirected towards official crossings.



BELGRADE, March 13 (Tanjug) – The scheduling of parliamentary and local elections in Serbia will not stop the inflow of investments or reduce the interest of foreign investors in the country, Minister of Economy and Regional Development Nebojsa Ciric told Tanjug Tuesday. After Serbia obtained the candidate status for membership in the European Union, foreign investors' interest in coming to the country was raised, and so was the number of countries from which these potential investors are coming, he said. Ciric revealed that talks are under way with two large companies, one from Italy and another from France, on investments in Serbia worth several hundred million euros.Ciric welcomed the decision of the Assembly of Smederevo, to allow the construction of a refinery of the U.S. Comico oil company, adding that it is a great investment. He expressed his belief that the level of foreign investment in 2012 will be the same as last year (about USD 2.9 billion).


NOVI SAD, March 14 (Tanjug) – Petroleum Industry of Serbia (NIS) CEO Kirill Kravchenko said Wednesday in Novi Sad that the price of fuel will stabilize at the current level as long as there is no war in Iran.This is a big risk and the price of oil and fuel could go up, he told reporters, noting this is not up to NIS but the world market and the situation in the world.Kravchenko said the price of fuel has gone up eight percent since the beginning of the year, which he noted is less than the 10 and 11 percent rise in prices in Europe and America.This is not a good answer for consumers who want lower prices, but keeping in mind the weakening of the dinar, the price hike in Serbia is half of that in the region, Kravchenko said, adding this is possible primarily because NIS has domestic oil and is continually cutting costs.Commenting on the consumers' announced boycott, the NIS CEO said it is a free country and a free region, and anyone can do as they please.He believes a boycott would not be good, because NIS and consumers need to cooperate, and asked for understanding of the circumstances which forced NIS to raise prices.