Daily Survey

Belgrade, April 17, 2012



HELSINKI, April 13 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic voiced hope on Thursday that Serbia and Lithuania will reach an agreement on the presidency over the UN General Assembly, but that at the moment it is more likely that the voting will take place.I hope that a mutually acceptable solution will be found, and that we will manage to evenly share the competencies within the Eastern European Group, Jeremic said following the talks with his Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja.Asked by a Reuters journalist about his expectations as to the way in which Serbia and Lithuania will resolve the situation related to their candidacy for President of the UN General Assembly, Jeremic said that Serbia has been putting efforts into reaching an agreement so that the President is appointed by a unanimous vote.Jeremic recalled that Lithuania is also a candidate for a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.We are trying to find a basis for a common stand so that we can support each other, the minister said.Commenting on the issue, the Finnish minister said that President should be appointed by a unanimous vote, as that has been the tradition in the UN, but for that to happen, the regional group must reach a common stand.


THE HAGUE, April 13 (Beta) - Interior Minister Ivica Dacic and the Europol director Rob Wainwright agreed in The Hague, on April 13, that Serbia should send an officer to the Dutch city to liaise with the European Police Office. After the meeting, a press release from the Interior Ministry read, Dacic said Serbia had become a member of Europol's information system. Dacic also stated that the data now available to Serbia would be important not only to the police, but also to other law enforcement agencies.



HELSINKI, April 13 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said that following the talks with Finnish counterpart Erkki Tuomioja that Finland stands ready to back a speedier EU enlargement, and faster EU accession for Serbia.Finland is ready to back that. Of course, this is contingent on circumstances in Serbia, in relation to the elections and a new government, as well as in the EU with regard to tendencies within the Union, Jeremic told Tanjug.I believe that during this year, Serbia will be granted a date for the start of accession talks, Jeremic said, adding that it is an achievable goal.At a joint press conference, the Serbian foreign minister extended thanks to Finland for its support to Serbia's EU integration.Serbia has not received such unwavering support from all parts of Europe, but certainly has from Helsinki, Jeremic said, adding that Serbia appreciates that.According to Jeremic, the two countries have similar stands on a majority of current issues in the international arena.Tuomioja said that there are no divergent views at the bilateral level, so the talks focused on the EU-related issues.Now, when Serbia became the candidate country, there is a lot to consider from the European agenda, Tuomioja said.Following the talks with Tuomioja, Jeremic conferred with Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb.


HELSINKI, April 13 (Tanjug) - Finland is encouraging Belgrade and Pristina to continue the talks and it expects the technical dialogue to grow into political talks over time, Finnish Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja stated.It is obvious that this would be the next step, Tuomioja told Tanjug after the talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic.Tuomioja added that this would be a long process but Finland hopes that Belgrade and Pristina would normalise their relations.This certainly has to happen before Serbia becomes a member of the EU, he stated.Finland is encouraging Belgrade and Pristina to continue the dialogue, he noted.Nothing can happen before the elections, but certain agreements have been reached and they need to be carried out, Tuomioja stated.As for northern Kosovo, he noted that the agreements reached so far contain basic elements for the solution but that more effort needs to be invested.More can be done to contribute to building trust and security which citizens need, but we also need to ensure the organisation of this point, the Finnish diplomat stated.Speaking about Serbia's European integration, Tuomioja noted that it is up to Serbia whether it would manage and have the date of talks set this year, now that it has won the candidate status.The EU candidate needs to accomplish its tasks, and there is also willingness on the part of the EU, Tuomioja stated and added that Finland has offered support to Serbia's candidacy and does not want to impose any obstacles.When asked whether the general elections in Serbia scheduled for May 6 could affect the country's further progress on its EU path, the diplomat noted that it is up to Serbian citizens to decide.We are willing to continue cooperating with every government but on the same line as was the case so far, Tuomioja noted and added that as far as he can see, the European issue is not the topic of the campaign.During his one-day visit to Finland, Jeremic conferred with Minister Tuomioja and Finnish Minister for European Affairs and Foreign Trade Alexander Stubb.


BELGRADE, April 13 (Tanjug) - Bratislava believes that Serbia will fulfill all the necessary requirements for obtaining the date for the beginning of EU accession talks by the end of the year, Slovak Ambassador to Belgrade Jan Varso stated.Slovakia has always strongly supported Serbia on its EU pathway and we are ready to offer our assistance and experience to Belgrade, Varso stated at the lecture on Serbia's EU integration process and its relation to Slovakia, held at the Institute of International Politics and Economics.He pointed out that fulfillment all the European Council's criteria for further EU integration is much more important than predicting the date for the beginning of accession talks.We hope and believe this will happen and that Serbia will be capable of meeting all the necessary requirements, Varso underlined, expressing his satisfaction that Serbia obtained the EU candidacy on March 1.He said that many had hoped that the status would bring much more, adding that this is recognition for everything that the authorities have achieved in the area of reforms.Varso underlined that EU membership is not a goal in itself, noting that Serbia should above all continue the transformation of the social and economic environment so that, as he said, all people would have equal opporunities for a better life.Referring to the issue of Kosovo, Varso said that Bratislava strongly supports the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and that all of the achieved agreements have to be implemented so as to facilitate the life of ordinary people in Kosovo.The Slovak ambassador underlined that Bratislava will not change its principled position in view of non-recognition of Kosovo, adding that dialogue is the only way to find a permanent solution.We still believe that it (independence) is not in accordance with international law and we oppose unilateral moves because we believe that not all diplomatic resources have been exhausted, Varso stressed.He said that Serbia-Slovakia relations have always been excellent and that there are no open issues in relations between the two countries, adding that good political relations should be extended to the field of economics.



KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, April 15 (Tanjug) - Minister for Kosovo-Metohija Goran Bogdanovic stated on Sunday that UNMIK gave a negative response as regards the staging of the local elections in the province, adding that Serbia will not organise them.We do not wish to violate UN Security Council Resolution 1244 in any way and bring Serbs to the south of the Ibar River in jeopardy, Bogdanovic told Tanjug, recalling that UNMIK is in charge of organisation of local elections in Kosovo.Failure to stage local elections in Kosovo-Metohija will not imply that Serbian institutions are shut down, on the contrary, local elections were not held in the period from 1999 to 2008 and Serbian institutions survived, and they might even be stronger than those which were set up after the elections, Bogdanovic stated.The minister pointed out that this is the reason why announcements that local elections would be held in two northern Kosovo municipalities are not good and it is bad to cause such divisions among Serbs.He recalled that UNSC Resolution 1244 is a document on grounds of which Serbia expects the talks on Kosovo's status to start as soon as possible, adding that if Serbia fails to respect it, then it cannot expect representatives of the international community and Kosovo Albanians to discuss the status of the province on grounds of the Resolution.Bogdanovic called on authorities not to stage local elections in northern Kosovo.


BELGRADE, April 13 (Tanjug) - Head of Belgrade's negotiating team in the dialogue with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic refuted the claims by Kosovska Mitrovica Mayor Krstimir Pantic that the Serbian government attempted to put up roadblocks in Kosovo-Metohija last summer and that the administrative lines are turning into so-called 'state borders'.The roadblocks were put up by citizens, Stefanovic stated in a refutation delivered to the Radio and Television of Serbia (RTS) as a response to the statements by Pajtic and spokesman of the Democratic Party (DS) Petar Petkovic a show broadcast on April 10.According to Stefanovic, the roadblocks were for the most part put up on grounds of the instructions of the local leaders, including Pantic, the Serbian government was presented with fait accompli.The Belgrade official stated that the government worked on reducing tensions between Serbs in the north on one hand and the international community and the Pristina government on the other hand, with a view to avoiding conflicts and finding a solution.


VIENNA - Borislav Stefanovic, head of the Belgrade team in negotiations with Pristina, said that Belgrade is ready to continue the dialogue.Stefanovic also expressed belief that Serbia would get the date for the start of talks with the EU by the end of the year. "It will be difficult, but we are working hard to get the date for the start of talks in December. I think everyone in Europe knows that Serbia will not recognise Kosovo's independence, and I do not expect any such demands," Stefanovic said.He underlined that northern Kosovo should be granted special status, giving the example of South Tyrol and the two German states. Stefanovic said that with its unilateral moves and attacks on Serbs, Pristina is trying to prevent the realisation of agreements so far. "A Serbian delegation was recently attacked upon their arrival to discuss the implementation of agreements. Attempts are also being made to strip the Serbs in the north (of Kosovo) of their IDs and license plates," Stefanovic told the Vienna daily Wiener Zeitung. He said that the policy "both Kosovo and the EU" is the only one that can succeed in Serbia. "We have to resolve the two problems as they are part of our identity. Any party that would give up on Kosovo and focus only on the European perspective, would lose face not only at home but in Brussels as well," Stefanovic said.Asked what he thought the final result of the talks with Pristina should be, Stefanovic said: "A Kosovo as an entity in which there would be no segregation of Serbs and to which they would be able to return.""A total of 240,000 Serbs have been expelled, and there is also the issue of property and missing persons which has to be resolved. The problem of companies is still pending. Guarantees should be given for the protection of Serbs in the southern part (of Kosovo) and the monasteries and churches," Stefanovic said.


BRATISLAVA, April 13 (Tanjug) - European Enlargement Commissioner Stefan Fuele stated that normalisation of Belgrade-Pristina relations remains the political condition for continuation of Serbia's EU integration.In an interview for Radio Free Europe, Fuele said that he would remind both sides of the agreements reached within the dialogue instead of both sides interpreting the documents in their own way.He underscored that the implementation of the agreement on integrated border management and regional presentation is not an easy process and can last a month, or it could take up to four years.When asked whether the decision to grant Serbia the EU candidate status was politically motivated like the adoption of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement ahead of the 2008 elections, in order to reinforce the position of (leader of the Democratic Party) Boris Tadic because Brussels expressed scepticism regarding the change in rhetoric by (leader of the Serbian Progressive Party) Tomislav Nikolic, Fuele pointed out that the EU is in no way engaged in the political engineering in Serbia, and added that the decision was adopted on grounds of the progress achieved in the dialogue.The EU wishes politicians who would follow the pro-European course to win in the elections in Serbia so that the reforms on Serbia's EU path could intensify, Fuele stated on the margins of the conference on global security in Bratislava.


ZAGREB, April 16 (Beta) - Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Edita Tahiri said in Zagreb that Pristina would continue the dialogue with Belgrade because, as she said, dialogue and cooperation were values which she wanted to see in the region. "Through that technical dialogue we also implement the European standards of good neighborly relations and regional cooperation," said Tahiri after meeting with Croatian Foreign and European Minister Vesna Pusic. Tahiri said that Kosovo was being constructive as far as the technical dialogue was concerned, and that it was important for the region that all countries became European, not only in their relationship with the EU but also with the countries in the region, reported the Croatian agency Hina. Croatian Foreign and European Minister Vesna Pusic highlighted the importance of EuroAtlantic integration for countries in the region and said that Croatia was ready to share its integration experiences with everyone.


KOSOVSKA MITROVICA, April 13 (Tanjug) - The Pristina-based daily Koha Ditore reported that international sources were informed that the Kosovo special police units ROSU would carry out an action in northern Mitrovica, which is why one KFOR unit monitored the base of Kosovo special units in Mitrovica.Kosovo Deputy Prime Minister Hajredin Kuci denied the reports in the media that KFOR monitored and even searched ROSU, adding that KFOR would ask for an explanation as regards such information.Nobody can control ROSU and nobody can prevent potential intervention of the unit in the north, Kuci warned.He added that KFOR may have become frightened after his statement that ROSU may carry out an intervention in northern Kosovo so as to introduce order and law there.Late on Thursday, a crew of the Kosovo KTV station noticed one KFOR vehicle touring around the base of the Kosovo police special units in Mitrovica.


BELGRADE, April 15 (Beta) - Kosovo Interior Minister Bajram Rexhepi said on April 15 that the arrest of Marko Kosnjeti at the Merdare administrative line crossing was politically motivated. This are political arrests, we will take measures through EULEX, Rexhepi said about the arrest of Kosnjeti, suspected of war crimes against civilians by the Serbian justice system. Kosnjeti, apprehended on April 14, was never a member of the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Prizren department of the Committee for Protecting Human Rights and Liberties said, seeking an urgent response from the international community and Kosnjeti's release. According to the same statement, Kosnjeti was going to see his sister, who has lived in Belgrade for a long time, which was confirmed by his daughter, Valentina Kosnjeti Koni.


VIENNA, April 15 (Tanjug) - The Austrian government called on the parliament to suspend the agreement on social issued with Kosovo, the press service of the Austrian parliament released on Friday.After Austria recognised Kosovo's independence, the two sides signed an agreement on temporary implementation of the agreement on social security which was previously closed between Austria and former Yugoslavia.However, since Kosovo no longer has a system of healthcare insurance and insurance from accidents and unemployment and it also failed to observe important cornerstones of the agreement in the area of pension insurance, Austria wishes to suspend the agreement, the release notes.The Austrian government filed the adequate decision to the parliament for adoption.At the same time, the release notes that Austria is striving to a faster closing of the new agreement.



KRAGUJEVAC, April 16 (Beta) - The Fiat Automobiles Serbia (FAS) factory in Kragujevac officially opened on April 16, with toplevel state officials and the head of Fiat and Chrysler attending. Fiat and Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne said that approximately EUR1 billion had been invested in the factory and that it was a worthwhile investment for the production of 200,000 automobiles annually. He added that 2,400 people would be employed in FAS and 1,000 at suppliers by the end of the year. Prime Minister Cvetkovic said that the investment in the automobile factory in Kragujevac was "likely the largest investment in any production capacity in Serbia in the past few decades." Cvetkovic said at the official opening that a large project had been completed the construction of the factory and the start of production. The second part of the project, he added, is for the funds invested in the Kragujevac factory to begin returning significant profits. Marchionne said that the best technology with the best standards in eliminating waste and producing the best quality goods had been introduced into the redesigned industrial plant. The new Fiat 500L model, he added, is crucial for the factory and will be launched on the commercial market in the fall, in Europe and elsewhere. Marchionne said the model was the "leading global model for export."


BELGRADE, April 16 (Tanjug) - Spokesman of the Public Prosecutor's Office Zoric stated that the office has checked all allegations as regards privatisation in 24 companies as required by the European Commission (EC) and added that the EC was notified about the findings on time, and that pre-trial and criminal proceedings have been launched regarding the said privatisation cases.Individual decisions and acts adopted in the privatisation cases were examined and pre-trial and criminal proceedings were launched in some of them, such as in the case against Bogoljub Karic and other individuals regarding Mobtel telecommunications company, Nacionalna Stedionica bank, retail chain C Market, Sinovoz metalwork company, Srbolek pharmaceutical company, Sartic steel plant and Jugoremedija pharmaceutical company, Zoric told.The latest privatisation case which needs to be looked into was performed in 2007, Zoric said. The Prosecutor's Office is determined that past privatisations should be thoroughly examined because the country's Eu perspective depends on these results, Zoric stated and added that nobody can or will be protected in such proceedings.According to him, the Prosecutor's Office will continue providing information to the EC and the Serbian public about the results achieved and steps taken on this path.


BELGRADE, April 15 (Tanjug) - Iraqi Ambassador Falah Abdul Hasan Abdul Sada called on Serbian businessmen to take part in the programmes aimed at recovery and enhancement of the economy of the Arab country which holds abundant oil supplies.In an interview for the latest edition of the Belgrade-based economic magazine Ekonom:east, the ambassador noted that Iraq needs Serbia's experiences, especially in the area of construction industry, because it is restoring all that was destroyed during wars and sanctions.The construction of roads, hospitals, service institutions and integrated infrastructure is also underway in order to meet the demands of the growing population which now totals 30 million. Iraq is an excellent market for those who want to work and Serbian companies are always welcome, Abdul Sada said. He recalled that Iraq maintains very good relations with former Yugoslavia and that its ties with Serbia root back to 1958.Baghdad used to be a seat of over 100 Yugoslav companies, and thousands of employees from all former Yugoslav republics worked in Iraq, and some of the projects they were engaged exist even today. All areas are open for everyone, we need to build over one million housing units soon and Serbia has companies which are capable of participating and being competitive in the field we consider vital, the ambassador noted.According to the data of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS), the value of Serbia's exports to Iraq totalled USD 53.8 million, which for the most part consisted in projects agreed on between the two countries' defence ministries.


BELGRADE, April 16 (Beta) - Under the protocol on the terms for a Russian loan for the railway infrastructure in Serbia worth USD800 million, an interest rate of 4.1 percent and a repayment term of 10 years are envisaged, with a grace period of four years, BETA has been told by the Ministry of Finance. Ministry of Finance State Secretary Goran Radosavljevic said that Russia had delivered the protocol but that it would not be possible to verify it in the Serbian Parliament before the fall. Radosavljevic said that most of the loan would be used to finance the modernization of the railway line in Corridor 10 and the section of the BelgradeBar line in Serbian territory.