Belgrade, May 15, 2012
UN SECURITY COUNCIL SESSION ON KOSOVO
JEREMIC: BELGRADE FOR JUST CONCLUSION TO KOSOVO CONFLICT
NEW YORK, May 15 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic agreed Monday in New York with the assessment of the UN Secretary General that the room for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue may be "narrowed", but underlined that the reason for this is that ethnic-Albanian public opinion is turning increasingly hostile to the continuation of any sort of negotiations. According to Jeremic, Serbia remains "fully committed to the process." "Disagreements on status must not impede our ability to act in concert on resolving practical issues. Much work remains to be done in improving the lives of the people through talks conducted in good faith," Jeremic underlined in his address before the United Nations Security Council in New York. The Foreign Minister pointed to the need of a realistic solution for northern Kosovo, protection of Serb enclaves in southern Kosovo, and preservation of Serbian identity and religious heritage, as well as property. Underlining that Serbia seeks "a just conclusion to the Kosovo conflict," Jeremic recalled that one story kept repeating itself in the several-century-long history of the Balkans - whenever one side got everything, the other just "bade its time" in anticipation of more favorable circumstances that would allow for the return of what was thought to have been wrongly taken away. Serbia is determined to bring to an end, with a true consent of all parties, the bane in which "today's victor becomes tomorrow's vanquished." Commenting on the case of Fatmir Ljimaj, Jeremic welcomed the announcement by the EULEX Special Prosecutor's Office that it would appeal the not-guilty verdict for war crimes committed against Serbs. As for the investigation into the illicit trafficking in human organs in Kosovo, for which the UN Secretary General said had progressed, Jeremic pointed to "lack of transparency" in the inquiry conducted by EULEX.He said that during the reporting period, many critical questions, including those related to accountability, mandate, jurisdiction, and witness protection and relocation, did not receive adequate answers."Uncovering the full truth about these monstrous allegations, unprecedented in the history of warfare, must remain our top priority. As a recent Amnesty International report has concluded, more than 400 Serbian families are still waiting for the bodies of their relatives to be found; many believe that their son, father or brother may be among the Serbs taken to Albania. They are still waiting for justice," Jeremic underscored. Noting that UNMIK is a crucial pillar of peace and stability in Kosovo, Jeremic concurred with the statement by the UN Secretary General that "actions undertaken by the international actors operating within the framework of the United Nations and Resolution 1244 (1999) need to be strategically aligned and closely coordinated." Jeremic gave the example of the possible "reconfiguration" of EULEX, mentioned in the Report, and said that no details as to what those "structural changes" might involve have been provided. "Our longstanding position on the European Union's engagement in Kosovo remains unchanged. We believe the EU should sustain its status-neutral efforts in order to build the missing institutional environment and improve the dismal societal conditions in the province," Jeremic said. Speaking about Kosovo Serbs' position in the province, Jeremic noted that the Ministry for Kosovo and Metohija had recorded more than 180 separate attacks against Serbs, their possessions, or their holy sites that took place in the first quarter of 2012 - averaging out to more than two per day. According to the UNHCR, only 33 Serbs returned to the province in the first three and a half months of 2012, which is about half the number that did so during the same period last year. Since the last session UN SC session on Kosovo, Pristina has unfortunately continued to engage in a campaign of intimidation against Serbs, the foreign minister said. Jeremic listed the incidents in which Serbs have been arrested in Kosovo from the beginning of the year, underlining that two of the four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the province were targeted on the same day: on March 31, graffiti appeared at the monastery of Visoki Decani, reading "Property of the Kosovo Liberation Army," and a few hours later, an extremely hazardous sub-munitions device was discovered on the grounds of the church of the Holy Virgin of Ljeviska, located in the old quarter of the ancient Serbian capital of Prizren. Between March 17 and April 9, parish churches in a number of enclaves in southern Kosovo were desecrated, vandalized, or, in one instance, fired upon by an automatic weapon, Jeremic pointed out.
JEREMIC: SERBIA SHOULD STAY FIRM ABOUT KOSOVO
NEW YORK, May 15 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic has said that if Serbia remains firm in not recognizing Kosovo, Pristina will have no choice but get back at the negotiating table, even if the topics include the Kosovo status issue."If we stay firm about not recognizing Kosovo and keep preventing Kosovo from integrating in international organizations, there will be alternatives but to get back at the table where not only technical issues are discussed, as it has been the case in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina so far, but also the status issue," Jeremic told Tanjug's correspondent in New York.After a UN Security Council meeting, the Serbian foreign minister said that by active diplomacy over the previous four years, Serbia had managed to freeze Kosovo's attempts to achieve statehood through its unilateral declaration of independence."Besides great energy having been invested by some of the largest states of the world to make this happen, it did not happen, because only a minority of the world countries have recognized Kosovo," Jeremic said.According to Jeremic, Serbia has succeeded in blocking Kosovo's attempts to become a member of any international political organization. "We managed to fight for the position where any future step of Kosovo in the international arena depends on Serbia's stand," said Jeremic."Without a decision and consent from Serbia, there will be no solution to the Kosovo problem and I think that this is perhaps the biggest success of our diplomatic efforts, aimed at preserving the territorial integrity of our country," said the Serbian foreign minister.
HODZAJ: NOBODY CAN BLOCK KOSOVO RECOGNITION
NEW YORK, May 15 (Tanjug) - Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hodzaj said late Monday that that if Serbia happens to be selected to chair the General Assembly of the United Nations (UNGA) it would not affect the future of the Kosovo recognition process.Asked by journalists, after the completion of a UN Security Council meeting in New York, if he believed that Serbia's Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic could hinder or block Kosovo acceptance if he became the UNGA chair, Hodzaj said that half of the UN member countries had recognized Kosovo's independence and that "nobody can stop the course of history."Asked if he expected Jeremic to get softer on his rhetoric if he takes the chair of the UN General Assembly, Hodzaj said it was not the biggest of his concerns, but added that Pristina was against hate speech and nationalist rhetoric and called on all countries in the region not to take the path of isolation and confrontation, but rather the one of integration and cooperation.
RUSSIA FOR STATUS NEUTRAL CONDUCT IN KOSOVO
NEW YORK, May 15 (Tanjug) - Russian U.N. Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said late Monday that Russia's stance on not recognizing the unilaterally declared independence of Kosovo remained unchanged and urged the international community to act in a status-neutral manner.At a UN Security Council session on Kosovo, Churkin said the Kosovo government's attempt to take over power in the northern part of the province could destabilize the situation in the area.The Russian representative complained about the slow progress of the EULEX-headed investigation into organ trafficking in Kosovo, adding that his country supported Serbia's initiative for a UN-led investigation.Churkin said the referendum held in northern Kosovo in February was an act of desperation by the local Serbs.The situation is also unsatisfying when it comes to returnees, who are not sure of their own safety. The international community also needs to protect Orthodox churches and congregation in Kosovo, said the ambassador.He warned about the danger of the contacts between the Kosovo government and the Syrian opposition.This is against Kofi Annan's peace plan and can also be a destabilizing factor in the Balkans and beyond, Churkin concluded.The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed concern Monday about reports saying Syrian rebels were training in Kosovo with former members of the Kosovo Liberation Army, who were establishing an international rebel training center.
HODZAJ: ONE FACE FOR BRUSSELS, OTHER FOR KOSOVO
NEW YORK, May 15 (Tanjug) - Kosovo's Foreign Minister Enver Hodzaj said late Monday that in recent months, Serbia had been showing a European face to Brussels and an anti-European one to Kosovo, and noted that the fact Serbia was yet to sign the protocol on the implementation of the agreements reached in the dialogue meant it still believed one part of Kosovo could secede.In the past three months, we have seen two faces of Serbia: the Serbia which acts as a pro-European country in dealings with Brussels, and the Serbia acting in an anti-European fashion when it comes to Kosovo and the region, Hodzaj said at a UN Security Council session dedicated to Kosovo.He expressed satisfaction over the agreements Pristina and Belgrade had reached regarding Kosovo's participation at regional forums and the integrated administration of crossing points, but warned the credibility of the dialogue was being brought into question because "agreements are worthless if they remain on paper, if they are not implemented on the ground."
PLANE TROUBLE KEEPS CVETKOVIC FROM BRUSSELS
BELGRADE, May 15 (Tanjug) - A problem with the government airplane kept Mirko Cvetkovic, Serbia's prime minister and minister of finance, from going to Brussels where he was due to attend a meeting of EU economy and finance ministers with future member and candidate countries.This was Serbia's first invitation to an EU meeting of this kind since winning its candidate status, the government's press office said in a release.
SERBIA SHOULD COMPLEMENT EUROPE'S WINE OFFER
NOVI SAD, May 15 (Tanjug) - Minister of Agriculture and Trade Dusan Petrovic presented Serbia's wine producers and winemaking institutions with 25 cars at the International Agriculture Fair, in the scope of the project dubbed "Capacity Building and Tecnical Support to Renewal of Viticulture - Zoning and Control of Production of Wine with Designation of Origin."The EUR 1.2 mil-worth project, financed by the EU, aims to strengthen the vine-growing and wine-producing sector in Serbia through harmonization with EU standards, and to establish a new system for viticulture zoning and for control of production of wine with designation of origin."Serbia has obtained the status of an EU candidate recently, whic made room for a stronger approac to the EU," Petrovic said, and added that the approac should be the strongest in the field of agriculture.Stating that Serbia already has 65 wine producers with the controlled geographical origin certificate, Petrovic strešed that "since Serbia will certainly become an EU member, we should complement Europe's wine offer."Acording to him, the relevant ministry will continue to ašist wine producers in Serbia.
DACIC: SERBS AND RUSSIANS ARE NATURAL ALLIES
BELGRADE, May 15 (Tanjug) - Interior Minister Ivica Dacic met with Russian Cossack representatives who have been involved in humanitarian aid projects for Serbia's citizens. Pointing to the brotherly relationship the two peoples have fostered over years, the interior minister stressed the support and assistance of the Russian people to the Serbs in KiM, addressing the Russian generals and Cossacks as great diplomats of the country they are coming from."Serbia is grateful to Russia for its understanding, especially in solving the vital problems in Kosovo and Metohija. I hope that we will also deepen our relations in other spheres - economy, economy, culture," Dacic said. According to Dacic, the Serbian people see the Russian people as their natural allies."Thanks to Russia, the Kosovo issue is still open before the UN SC, and without their (Russia's) support, a final decision on Kosovo (negative from Serbia's point of view) would probably have already been made," said Dacic.From a historical perspective, we have many things in common, Dacic said welcoming the atamans, who play an important role in our society.A member of the delegation, Cossack Ataman Vladimir Glukhovsky, said that theirs was not a government or an official level visit, but "simply a visit paid by Russian Cossacks, the Russian people," who felt true love for and were always ready to help the brotherly Serbian people.Glukhovsky believes that the established connection will be even more successful with the support expected to come from the Serbian and Russian authorities. For the short time we have spent here, we have seen that the citizens of your country are welcoming us warm-heartedly, and we wish your people all the peace, blessing and joy, Glukhovsky said.
KOSOVO & METOHIJA
DREWS: CHANGING KOSOVO'S BORDERS THREAT TO PEACE
PRISTINA, May 15 (Tanjug) - The KFOR commander, German General Erhard Drews, said that changing Kosovo's borders could lead to new divisions in the Balkans, which would represent a threat to peace and stability in the region.Asked about the security situation in the north, Drews said that KFOR was keeping all citizens of Kosovo safe.KFOR, EULEX and the Kosovo police have the mandate to create security in the entire territory of Kosovo, however, respecting the law is also in the domain of EULEX, said Drews.Drews attended a command takeover at Multinational Battle Group West in Pec, where he told the people of Kosovo to work and think about European integration, as the best and most promising path for the country, Pristina media reported.
MOSCOW: KOSOVO BASIS FOR TRAINING SYRIAN REBELS
MOSCOW, May 15 (Tanjug) - Moscow is worried by reports about the training of Syrian rebels in Kosovo, Russian Foreign Ministry said on Monday.Media reports on contacts between representatives of the Syrian opposition and the authorities of the so-called Republic of Kosovo have been drawing our attention lately, the ministry said. These contacts include not only exchange of experience in organising separatist movements aimed at toppling incumbent regimes but also the training of Syrian rebels in Kosovo, the ministry said.Areas with terrain similar to that of Syria are intended to be used for this purpose. Training centres may be created at the former bases of the Kosovo Liberation Army, it said.Such intentions cannot but raise concern and they contravene Joint Special Envoy of the United Nations and the League of Arab States, Kofi Annan's efforts supported by the international community, the ministry said.Turning Kosovo into an international base for the training of rebels for different armed formations could become a major destabilising factor that goes beyond the Balkans, it said.Moscow urges the international presences in the Serbian province to take all measures in order to prevent such plans, the ministry said.