Daily Survey

Belgrade, August 16, 2012

SERBIA - KOSOVO AND METOHIJA

VULIN: BELGRADE READY TO CONTINUE TALKS, WON'T ACCEPT BLACKMAIL

BELGRADE, August 15 (B92, Beta) - Serbian government's Office for Kosovo Director Aleksandar Vulin has stated that Belgrade is ready to continue the dialogue with Priština.
He added, however, that Serbia would not accept any blackmails.
Vulin told Beta news agency that Belgrade believed that it would be the best if the UN became involved in the process. "I believe that it would be good if the UN was involved but that depends on the UN Security Council's decision, Brussels and not just on Serbia. We believe that the negotiations would be far faster and more successful if the UN used its authority," he said and explained that the initiative would not stoke a conflict between Serbia and the EU and the U.S.
When asked what he would do if the UN did not take part in the dialogue, Vulin said that "Belgrade will attend all talks". "As far as we are concerned, the negotiations are the only solution," he added. According to him, Serbia wants the dialogue to be on a higher political level, which could only be a positive sign to the international community and to citizens in Kosovo that Belgrade seriously wants to solve the issues in the province.
Vulin added that it needed to be clear that the Serbian representatives would not meet with "representatives of the state of Kosovo" because "it does not even exist" but that they would meet with legitimate representatives of the Kosovo Albanians.
"The Serbian president will not meet with the Kosovo president. The Serbian president can meet with legitimate representatives of the Kosovo Albanians when conditions are fulfilled, but they still have not," the Office for Kosovo head pointed out. He added that Belgrade could not talk with Kosovo PM Hashim Thaci until allegations that he had been involved in the human organ trafficking and other crimes against Serbs and other citizens of Kosovo were fully investigated. "Belgrade cannot talk to a man who is banned from entering half of the EU member states," Vulin noted.
When asked if there was a point of holding the talks since Thaci said that only relations between two independent countries could be discussed, he said that influential representatives of the international community should explain to Priština that the "dialogue is not a monologue".
"The process is taking too long, it is not giving big results so we should find a way to speed it up and get better results. Why would we keep the UN outside the negotiating process when it is an organization that was strong enough to tell the truth about the events in Kosovo. Besides, that is something that is closest to the status neutrality, this is also a position of the EU, whose mission EULEX is status neutral," he said.
According to Vulin, it is necessary to reach a consensus on Kosovo in Serbia. He explained that all major parties in Serbia were against Kosovo's independence but that their "resistance mechanisms" were different.
"Let us try to harmonize those mechanisms. The consensus needs to belong to all citizens and parties, something that will not change in the future period. This will be our strategy for Kosovo and Metohija, the way Serbia sees the problem, and a clear decision what our red lines are. This will be a message how far this government and all future governments are ready to go," Vulin concluded.

OFFICE FOR KIM PROTEST OVER ROSU VIOLENT ACTIONS

BELGRADE, August 15 (Tanjug) - The Serbian government Office for Kosovo Metohija (KiM) protested on Wednesday over the violent invasion of members of the Pristina special unit ROSU in the building of the Strpce telephone exchange and the intrusion into the premises of Telekom Srbija, and requested that the intimidation of Serbs and making their lives in Kosovo Metohija difficult should be stopped.
As the time for the initiation of talks draws nearer, representatives of Pristina are resorting to violence with increasing frequency in order to make the talks more difficult or prevent them completely, the office released.
The Office for KiM called on UNMIK and EULEX to ensure personal and property security for all citizens in KiM and make sure that the property of the Republic of Serbia is respected and preserved.
The intrusion by ROSU constitutes an attempt to leave Serbs in Strpce, southern Kosovo, without landlines and connections with the world outside their enclaves, the release states.
The Office for KiM recalls that this is the second intrusion in Sirnica Zupa over the past two years and that ROSU members previously entered the branch office of the Dunav Banka in Strpce and illegally seized money, documents and computers.
Around 30 members of the ROSU special unit invaded the building of the Strpce telephone exchange in Jazinac on Wednesday.
The exchange in Strpce provides phone services to around 500 households in three Serbian villages in Sirnica Zupa which did not suffer an interruption in communication because police officers did not jeopardise the equipment.

CLIFF: NORTH KEY TOPIC IN BELGRADE-PRISTINA TALKS

KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, August 15 (Tanjug) - British Ambassador to Kosovo Ian Cliff stated Thursday that north Kosovo will be the main topic of the political talks between Belgrade and Pristina, which are expected to kick off in September.
Cliff said for Kosovska Mitrovicabased Radio Kontakt Plus that this does not mean that other issues will not be addressed, but that the crucial one is undoubtedly north Kosovo as the largest problem between Belgrade and Pristina, adding that this issue cannot be resolved without a discussion with Belgrade.
The British ambassador also said that a solution for north Kosovo should be found within the framework of the Ahtisaari Plan, the advantages of which need to be used, stressing that the talks will not table the status of Kosovo, which is already familiar.
North Kosovo is Kosovo's internal issue, but it is impossible to resolve the problem without a discussion with Belgrade, and the government in Pristina knows that this is the view of the British government, the British ambassador said. He added that a technical dialogue has existed to date, but that now a new kind of dialogue is needed since, as he put it, a political problem needs to be addressed.
Cliff stated that the upcoming dialogue will not be easy at all, particularly with the new government in Belgrade, but that now is the right time to make progress, stressing that the problems need to be discussed more by Pristina and people from north Kosovo.
I hope that the technical dialogue will continue in September as well, Cliff said, adding that the agreements, which have been reached up to now, have to be implemented first, particularly the one on joint management of the administrative crossings.
This is complicated, but we have to carry on, after that the talks will table energy, telecommunications and other issues. I believe that the agreements will be put into practice since the Serbian government knows that it will not be able to make progress towards the EU without the implementation of the Brussels agreements, the British diplomat said.