Belgrade, January 17, 2012
JEREMIC: PRIORITIES EU, REFORMS, REGION AND KOSOVO
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Tanjug) Serbia's approaching the EU, regional cooperation and resolution of the Kosovo issue will continue to be the top priorities of Belgrade's foreign policy in 2012, said Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.Opening an ambassadorial conference in the Palace of Serbia, which has gathered Serbia's ambassadors worldwide, Jeremic underlined that it is of utmost importance for the entire nation to achieve each one of the foreign policy goals without sacrificing one for the other.Serbia's objective is to achieve European standards, fulfill the Copenhagen criteria, no matter when the EU may reach consensus on the next formal steps on the road of Serbia's European integration. Despite the crisis in the EU, the greatest challenge in terms of the faith in the European project which will undoubtedly have an impact on the Balkans, Serbia is committed to integration, he underlined, stressing that "nothing can affected the government's strategic determination to drop Serbia's anchor in the EU."He recalled that at the beginning of its mandate, the Serbian government defined four diplomatic pillars - Euro-integration process, regional harmony, just and sustainable solution to the Kosovo issue and boosting of economic cooperation with the world."During our mandate, we pursued a consistent foreign policy of principle on those very foundations, under very difficult circumstances. Now it is evident that relevant political factors in Serbia have reached consensus on four foreign policy priorities," Jeremic assessed.Speaking about the process of reconciliation in the Balkans, Jeremic announced that Serbia's regional activities in 2012, the year that marks the 100th anniversary of First Balkan War, will be held under the slogan 'From Balkan wars to peace in the Balkans', which he hopes would unite efforts towards that aim.In addition to cooperating fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), Serbia has taken a number of courageous steps under the leadership of President Boris Tadic, working hard to close painful chapters in the region's recent history, he added.Putting an end to hostility is the most important task on the path to reconciliation, and the tragedies of yesterday must not limit anyone's ability to support and work together on a better, more inclusive and tolerant tomorrow. In 2012, Serbia will focus its attention of enabling the Western Balkans to prosper in peace and stability, just as it is proud of the fact Belgrade was the symbolic capital of regional cooperation in 2011.In order for the Western Balkans to prosper in harmony, it is necessary to solve unresolved issues in a way that will not jeopardize regional security. As the central issue in this context, he pointed to the disagreement over the Kosovo issue and the failed attempt to impose a solution through the unilateral declaration of independence in 2008.Jeremic pointed out that Serbia's stance on Kosovo and UN SC Resolution 1244 would not change. Serbia's principled stance will not change. Our constitutional imperative, as well as our moral, historical, and, above all, democratic duty obligates us not to give up on our fundamental commitment to talks, and a sustainable solution for Kosovo in line with the parameters outlined in Resolution 1244, said the Serbian foreign minister.He said this is the only way to achieve durable reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians, and reminded that the solution must encompass the four points laid out by Serbian President Boris Tadic - special status for northern Kosovo, protection for Serbs in enclaves, preservation of religious and cultural heritage and protection of Serb property in Kosovo.Jeremic said Serbia's diplomatic efforts will remain focused on maintaining a healthy international environment in which the technical dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina would have to continue. "Serbia remains fully committed to the process," he stressed. He added that in terms of Kosovo, an important diplomatic task for Serbia in 2012 will be to secure international support for a truly impartial and transparent investigation into the allegations of organ trafficking in Kosovo following the 1999 conflict.Only the UN Security Council can establish a mandate over the investigation, as well as temporal and territorial jurisdiction to conduct a substantive investigation, as was done with all other serious allegations of war crimes in the Western Balkans, Jeremic said. Expressing gratitude to all countries that showed solidarity with Serbia in terms of Kosovo, Jeremic said a different stance would set a grave precedent which would encourage separatism worldwide.The foreign minister also said Serbia is expecting the final decision on its bid for the OSCE presidency in 2015 in the next few weeks, and that being entrusted with such responsibility, which is the product of a consensus among 56 member countries, would certainly help accelerate transformation of the Balkans into a dynamic area and a great European hub of cultures, tradition, ethnicities and religion.
TADIC: FOREIGN POLICY PRIORITIES WILL NOT CHANGE
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Tanjug) President Boris Tadic stated on Monday that Serbia will not change its foreign policy priorities in 2012."These (priorities) comprise getting closer to EU membership, with obtaining candidate status and initiation of accession talks as a part of it, preservation of vital interests in Kosovo-Metohija, regional cooperation, reconciliation in the region, resolution of conflicts, as well as strengthening of foreign economic cooperation," Tadic stated in his address to participants at the regular annual conference of Serbia's ambassadors from around the world.Noting that Serbia's foreign policy is defined by economic circumstances and security challenges both in the region and the world, Tadic reiterated that all those counting on fair relations in foreign policy are mistaken."The area of foreign policy is governed by the imperative of everlasting interests and in this light, Serbia should find its place and seek possibilities for achieving its interests as regards foreign policy, economy and security," Tadic noted.He recalled that Serbia was very diplomatically active in the previous year."Internal reforms have been carried out and as a consequence of it, Serbia won the most positive report of the European Commission so far," the president said and added that the report is positive and there were no problems as regards European integration from that point of view.He noted that Serbia concluded its cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for former Yugoslavia (ICTY) as regards key points and won positive assessments for the work done in 2011. He reiterated that Serbia did all this because of its internal values and reconciliation in the region."By completing the cooperation with ICTY, Serbia boosted its international credibility," Tadic pointed out.He also underscored that in 2011, Serbia worked intensively on preservation of its vital interests in Kosovo-Metohija and faced numerous challenges in this process."Serbia had an active role in the dialogue and the search for solutions which are often unique and complex," the president noted.We are still searching, Tadic said and expressed belief that it would be possible to reach the solutions. Belgrade's approach to the resolution of the issues caused numerous internal controversies as well, he said."Serbia has a clear idea of how to find the solutions and continue its European path at the same time," Tadic noted.He recalled that Serbia faced a major challenge in July 2011, when the country's security was jeopardised by Pristina's forceful attempt to change the situation in the field.Noting that Pristina scored only a partial success in this action, Tadic recalled that competent bodies reached an agreement on administrative line management which does not call into question Serbia's integrity and sovereignty and to which nobody can object saying that it is not in keeping with European standards."We need to be prepared for the challenges in the time to come as well," Tadic underlined.He added that the investigation into the allegations included in (Council of Europe Special Rapporteur) Dick Marty's report on illegal human organ trafficking was also launched thanks to Serbia.According to Tadic, the request for Serbia to renounce Resolution 1244 in the area of regional presentation as a factor of asymmetric approach can cause serious consequences. "Being a member of the UN, Serbia cannot give up on binding documents of the global organisation," Tadic said pointing out that the document defines Serbia's integrity in Kosovo-Metohija and could be used as basis for deriving a lasting and sustainable solution."We need to pay attention both to Serbia's interests and the interests of those who have been supporting us so far, because without their support, Serbia would slide toward a situation in which it would lose everything and Pristina would win everything, and this would trigger a deep, long-lasting crisis in the area," Tadic noted.Reflecting on the process of European integration, Tadic expressed hope that Serbia would win the date of accession talks by the end of 2012."Serbia will continue to fight for EU candidate status in the atmosphere of the economic crisis, hoping to win the date of the talks, and it will continue investing great efforts into preservation of its national interests in Kosovo-Metohija," Tadic said.Tadic said a particular difficulty comes from the fact that the countries which were Serbia's biggest supporters were also the ones hit hardest by the economic crisis, but that Serbia will continue to fight for EU integration regardless of all this. Germany will remain the EU's economic and political leader, which is why Belgrade must deepen the dialogue with Berlin, in order to secure Germany's support for the continuation of its EU integration process.According to him, 2012 will be marked by economic problems and Serbia cannot expect to record a growth rate of over two per cent, although it needs a four per cent economic growth in order to ensure a rise in the living standard. Still, he pointed to one highlight in the area of economic cooperation - the coming into force of strategic partnerships with France, Italy and China, which are expected to produce new investments in the near future.Serbia has finalized talks on a strategic partnership with Russia and all that is left is the signing of agreements, he said.
TADIC URGES AMBASSADORS TO ENLARGE ECONOMIC COOPERATION
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Beta) - President Boris Tadic urged all Serbian ambassadors to do their part to enlarge economic cooperation with countries worldwide, as 2012 would be a year of economic hardship. Stressing that Serbia's priorities in 2012 would remain unchanged, Tadic said at the Fifth Ambassadorial Conference in Belgrade that the goal was for Serbia to gain the status of candidate member of the European Union, and to have a date set for broaching negotiations with a view to that aim by the end of the year, if possible. "Eternal interests are the governing imperative of foreign policy, and Serbia should position itself in the international environment and in that context review the possibilities and reality of achieving its foreignpolicy, economic and security interests," Tadic said at the Palace of Serbia. The president pointed out that in a grave economic crisis, inevitably spilling over to Serbia from Europe, Belgrade must continue its journey into the EU, at the same time "investing a very great effort" in finding a sustainable solution for Kosovo.
SERBIAN EMBASSY SAYS THERE WAS NO DEMARCHE OVER NIKOLAIDIS
PODGORICA, Jan. 16 (Beta) - Serbia did not send a protest note to Montenegro over an opinion piece by author Andrej Nikolaidis, advisor to the Montenegrin parliament speaker, on the 20th anniversary of the inception of Republika Srpska, BETA learned at the Serbian embassy in Podgorica. Montenegrin Foreign Minister Milan Rocen told reporters that "no demarche has arrived from Serbia" about Nikolaidis' piece. In a Jan. 11 article at the Analitika website (portalanalitika.me) titled "What Is Left of Greater Serbia," Montenegrin speaker's advisor wrote that "it would have been a civilizational step forward if dynamite and rifles had been brought into the room where the 20th anniversary of Republika Srpska was recently celebrated." Some media in the Montenegrin capital said Belgrade would send a demarche to Podgorica, while Nikolaidis' piece was condemned by the Movement for Change and some proSerb parties, seeking accountability by the parliamentary speaker's advisor. The Movement for Change said earlier that Nikolaidis was "calling for terrorism" and announced it would seek his dismissal.
SERBIA – EU
JEREMIC: CANDIDACY UNLIKELY IF CONDITIONED WITH RESOLUTION 1244
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Tanjug) Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said that if UN Resolution 1244 on Kosovo is once again made a condition, it is unlikely Serbia will get candidate status for EU membership in March."As the president has said, the condition posed in December was a condition Serbia could not accept - renouncing Resolution 1244. If the same condition is posed before Serbia again in March, I can say it is unlikely we will get the candidacy," Jeremic said appearing on the Radio Television of Serbia.The minister stressed it is not good to engage in predictions right now.According to Jeremic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other state bodies will do everything to make sure Serbia "is not issued a condition it cannot meet.""If we are successful in this, the candidacy will happen in March, or if not in March, at some later date," said the foreign minister.Talking about diplomatic results, Jeremic said Serbia today is visible and respected in the international scene after a long time."Not everyone agrees with us, some do not share our opinion, some are even actively working against what we stand for, but I think everyone respects us today," the minister pointed out, adding it is "in large part the result of the firmness and consistency we have shown in implementing foreign policy over the past four years."The minister reminded that last year, Serbia presided over practically every organization operating in the Balkans, Belgrade hosted a ministerial conference of Non-Aligned nations, and that Serbia's bid to preside over OSCE should be approved soon.Jeremic also pointed out that unchanging priorities in foreign policy are characteristic of stable societies and states."At least when it comes to foreign policy, this government has ensured continuity. We have defined our goals, stayed committed to realizing these goals, and in face of huge pressures and criticism from inside and out, we have stayed consistent," said the foreign minister.Jeremic stressed that the foreign policy priorities are "Europe, a solution for Kosovo which will be acceptable to this country, regional cooperation and economic diplomacy."
TADIC: CANDIDATE STATUS NOT POSSIBLE WITHOUT GERMAN SUPPORT
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Beta) - President Tadic said that Serbia could not receive candidate status to join the European Union without the support of Germany, the "engine" of EU enlargement. "We need to hold deeper dialog with Germany, we have to explain Serbia's position because without Germany's support Serbia cannot obtain candidate status," Tadic said at the conference of ambassadors. According to him, the greatest stumbling block in the way of candidate status was the request that Serbia give up on U.N. Security Council Resolution 1244. Tadic pointed out that Serbia had not given up on that resolution because, he said, it was a binding U.N. act which defines Serbia's integrity in Kosovo and on the basis of which it would be possible to find a sustainable solution. "In searching for a solution to the regional representation of Kosovo, we also have to take into account the interests of the countries that have supported Serbia," said Tadic who added that without Germany's support, Serbia would slide toward gaining nothing while Pristina would gain everything.
TERZI SAYS RECOGNITION OF KOSOVO UNFAIR CONDITION
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Beta) - New Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said that Serbia should enter the European Union as soon as possible, and that demanding that it recognize Kosovo would be an unjust and inappropriate condition. In these circumstances, it would not be fair to hinge Serbia's admission into the EU on Kosovo, all the more since some EU members have not recognized the territory's independence, Terzi said. He added that it was in the interest of the EU to keep Serbian public opinion positive toward the 27nation bloc, and that additional hurdles would mean giving scope to forces that are conducive neither to the stability of Serbia, and even less to that of Kosovo. In an interview with the Italian media sent by the Italian embassy in Belgrade, Terzi said his platform included full support to Serbia's accession to the EU, enlarging Brussels' role in the institutional growth of Bosnia and Herzegovina, reestablishing dialog with Slovenia and Croatia about the property of expelled persons and retaining Italian consulates in Koper and Split.
WAMMEN: SERBIA'S GREAT CHANCE IN MARCH
BELGRADE, Jan. 16 (Tanjug) Danish Minister for European Affairs Nicolai Wammen said Demark, which is currently presiding over the EU, will do everything in its power to keep the EU enlargement process in the Western Balkans going.Serbia has achieved impressive progress in terms of reforms, Wammen said in an interview for the Tuesday edition of Belgrade daily Vecernje Novosti, noting the European Council sent a clear message in December of the need to continue and make tangible progress in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.The task of the Council of Ministers will be to examine and confirm that this progress has been made and pass on its estimate to the heads of state or government at the European Council. Then they will make the decision. I sincerely hope sufficient progress will be made for the EU to be able to welcome Serbia as a candidate country in March, Wammen said.He said no EU member country is asking Serbia to recognize Kosovo , but it is clear a solution will have to be found that will allow Serbia to become a member and the EU to have normal relations with Kosovo.We will do everything in our power to make sure that during Denmark's presidency, the countries in the Western Balkans make significant steps towards fulfilling their European perspective and to give a positive tone to enlargement by the end of 2012, Wammen said.As the presiding country, we will do everything we can to make sure a positive decision is made regarding Serbia's candidate status, as soon as the necessary conditions are met, Wammen concluded.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
BRITISH AMBASSADOR: TADIC'S PLAN OKAY, BUT UNDER CERTAIN CONDITIONS
PRISTINA, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) London will not oppose a discussion about the plan of Serbian President Boris Tadic in the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue, provided that Serbia fulfills the demands regarding northern Kosovo, British Ambassador in Pristina Ian Cliff said on Tuesday.Cliff underlined that Tadic's four-point plan for a lasting solution to the Kosovo issue is in line with the Martti Ahtisaari plan, and Great Britain backs the four points proposed by the Serbian president.London, however, expects Serbia to remove the barricades in northern Kosovo, to carry out the agreements reached during the technical dialogue and to dismantle the parallel structures, Cliff told the Pristina daily Koha Ditore.Tadic said last week that the relations between Kosovo and Serbia could be improved and the problems resolved through dialogue if four issues are discussed - solution for the Serbian Orthodox Church monasteries and administering the monastery complex, guarantees for Serbs in enclaves, state property and property of Serbs in Kosovo-Metohija, and a special solution for northern Kosovo.London supports this proposal via its ambassadors in Kosovo and Serbia, Koha Ditore reported, and quoted Cliff as qualifying the proposal as good, since its four points are founded in a broader Ahtisaari plan.Ahtisaari's plan offers special protection zones for monasteries and Serb religious and cultural heritage, as in Prizren or Velika Hoca. The municipalities with the majority Serb population have a broader autonomy, among others in the fields of education and health care, Cliff said.He noted that the Kosovo Property Agency had made progress in resolving property issues.The Ahtisaari plan envisages the formation of a specific municipality in the northern part of Mitrovica, and I am confident that a number of issues regarding the north can be resolved by expanding the jurisdictions and responsibility, all in keeping with the Ahtisaari plan, Cliff concluded.
WESTERWELLE CALLS ON PRISTINA, BELGRADE TO TALK
BERLIN, Jan. 16 (Beta) - German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called on Pristina and Belgrade to demonstrate "maximum flexibility" and ensure that the European Unionmediated dialog continues to progress. In Berlin, following talks with Kosovo Foreign Minister Enver Hoxhaj, Westerwelle said that further progress had to be made in the talks "as a matter of urgency" as it was "in the interest of Kosovo and Serbia, and in the interest of regional stability." Recalling that Germany explicitly supports the territorial integrity of Kosovo and its European perspective, the German foreign minister said that Germany had played a significant role in starting talks between the EU and Kosovo on visa liberalization. Minister Hoxhaj, while not mentioning what visa liberalization would entail specifically, said he expected the EUKosovo visa liberalization talks would significantly advance this year.
REEKER: BORDERS CANNOT CHANGE
PRISTINA, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker said there can be no division of Kosovo or changing of borders, and added that Serbs in northern Kosovo will be integrated into Kosovo institutions.There can be no border changes, divisions, or exchanges or territory in the region. The Serbs in southern Kosovo have become integrated and they are citizens of a free and democratic Kosovo. The Serbs in northern Kosovo will also be integrated into the Kosovo institutions, Reeker told Radio Television of Kosovo.Commenting on the protest organized by the Self-Determination movement, the American official who visited Pristina on Monday said that no political party has the right to take the law into its own hands.Saturday's protest was unacceptable. I want to stress that the Kosovo police, according to reports I received, did its job professionally, Reeker said.Asked to comment on the protest Self-Determination has announced for January 22, the U.S. diplomat said the movement is against talks with Serbia but is definitely expressing its objections in the wrong way.Everyone has the right to express their dissatisfaction, to criticize, but in the 21st century, talks are very important and the United States support the process, Reeker pointed out.Reeker is on a two-week tour of Western Balkan countries, during which he will meet with political leaders and representatives of the non-government sector.During the tour which wraps up January 26, Reeker will also visit Belgrade, Macedonia, Turkey and Austria.Pristina media reported earlier that Reeker will discuss the continuation of the technical dialogue on Kosovo with officials in Belgrade and Pristina.
RUSSIANS ALSO VICTIMS OF ORGAN TRAFFICKING IN KIM
MOSCOW, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - Russian investigators officially confirmed that a couple of Russian citizens had also been among the victims of an illegal organ transplantations in the Medicus clinic in Pristina in 1998 and 1999, and the investigation confirmed the involvement of the Kosovo authorities in organ trafficking relevant to the case. Kommersant, a Moscow-based daily, has said that the Medicus case trial is nearing completion and Russian prosecutors have evidence collected through their own investigation.The Russian Foreign Ministry should request from the country's prosecutor's office to send the evidence to EULEX, the body officially in charge of the investigation.The newspaper said that representative of the Investigating Committee of Russian Federation Vladimir Markin had told them that two Russian citizens had been officially recognized as victims in the case, as their kidneys had been extracted in 2008 and they had never received the promised financial compensation.The victims in the Medicus case include citizens of Serbia, Turkey, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Belarus, and they were all promised EUR 15,000 for each organ extracted, but were paid far less, although it was discovered that their organs were sold on the black market for between EUR 80,000 and 100,000. A Source of Kommersant's in Russian diplomatic circles said that in April last year, EULEX representatives requested from the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send them data from investigations conducted by Moscow.He added that EULEX was faced with a serious problem of witness protection.The evidence from the Russian investigation, however, has not yet been handed over to EULEX and the reason for that is unknown.The trial in the Medicus case will soon enter its final phase, and the political consequences, according to Russian sources, could seriously affect the current Kosovo leadership. Russian investigators believe that the defendants in the Medicus case were involved in the illegal trade in organs extracted from bodies of Serbs killed or kidnapped in Kosovo during 1998 and 1999, a matter discussed in a report by Dick Marty and in a book by Carla Del Ponte, a former Prosecutor of The Hague Tribunal.