Belgrade, 17. 07. 2008.
C O N T E N T :
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SERBIA - EU
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K&M – SITUATION, REACTIONS
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SERBIA – ECONOMY
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TADIC: BIGGEST REFORM EFFORT AHEAD OF SERBIA
BELGRADE, July 16 (Tanjug) - Serbian President Boris Tadic has announced a continuity and changes alike in both foreign and internal policies of Serbia, which, he said, would be the biggest reform effort that the country will be faced with in the past one hundred years.
Serbia's foreign policy goal is to join the EU, but this requires the state structure to be changed completely, said Tadic, adding that Serbia may not join the Union with for as long as the inflation rate is 15 percent. "There will be some continuity elements from the present policy, but some things will have to be changed. New circumstance impose new challenges, which is why neither the issue of European integration nor the problem of Kosovo may be solved the way it was done after October 5, because many things have changed since then," Tadic said in an interview published by the Vreme weekly.
Commenting on the criticism that a presidential system had been introduced and that when power is in the hands of a single man is dangerous for democracy, Tadic underscored that "no one came into power by usurpation or violence, but that it was done with full respect of democratic procedure." "Speaking about me personally, I realize that my responsibility is much bigger than so far, because I may no longer say that this or that politician or party are in my way, or that I had failed to get support for some ideas," said Tadic, adding that he himself is not one of those people who tend to abuse power.
JEREMIC INDICATES CHANGES TO ACTION PLAN FOR KOSOVO
PARIS, July 16 (Beta) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said in Paris on July 17 that there was still no decision on the return of Serbia's ambassador to France, but added that the government's action plan would be "viewed dynamically and changed as necessary."
In an interview with Radio BETARFI during his visit to Paris, Jeremic said the plan on a diplomatic reaction to the countries that had recognized Kosovo "will be viewed dynamically and changed as necessary in the coming weeks and months."
"We shall be measuring and balancing, every minute. In diplomacy, you can never say that something is impossible, but such a decision has not been made yet," Jeremic replied, when asked whether Belgrade would send its ambassador back to Paris.
Jeremic further said the formation of the new cabinet had not changed the country's foreign policy, adding that "Serbia's foreign policy priorities remain identical."
"There are many issues that Europe and Serbia have to discuss. Serbia needs Europe and our priority is European integration. It seems to me that Europe definitely needs a peaceful and stable Western Balkans, and Serbia is the key to peace and stability in Western Balkans," the minister noted.
Asked about a possible new strategy for Kosovo, Jeremic said that in the diplomatic sense, "it is very important to explicitly and clearly present the basic principles and positions on the issue."
The minister explained that when two countries, like France and Serbia, have such different positions and when there "is such a big gap," then "you will try to reduce that gap step by step."
JEREMIC: SERBIA NEEDS COMPROMISE SOLUTION
MOSCOW, July 16 (Tanjug) - Serbia is for the resumption of the negotiations process for finding a compromise solution for Kosovo-Metohija which would satisfy both Belgrade and Pristina and be confirmed by the UN Security Counicl, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said on Wednesday ahead of the Thursday visit to Russia.
"We will never give up Kosovo and will never give up the political and diplomatic fight for the preservation of Serbia's territorial integrity and we are very grateful to Russia on its principled and brotherly support on this issue," Jeremic said in an interview with the Russian News and Information Agency (RIA) Novosti.
Jeremic pointed out that in the process of finding a solution, Russia was the most constructive and powerful actor, who took steps in that direction, which, he said, Serbia appreciates very much, and that the greatest mistake was made by those who from the very beginning said that there could be only one solution to the conflict - granting independence to Kosovo. The minister said that he is speaking in general of those who made such public declarations, including international mediator Martti Ahtisaari, that made the Albanians certain they would get what they want irrespective of the negotiations progress.
By encouraging the Kosovo Albanians, representatives of the international community are responsible because the negotiations ended without results, Jermic pointed out and added that Serbia would always adhere to the rules of international law and that all moves which are in line with international law norms, above all with UN Security Council Resolution 1244 are acceptable to Serbia.
JEREMIC: RUSSIA IS THE CLOSEST FRIEND AND ALLY
MOSCOW, July 16 (Tanjug) - Ahead of his visit to Moscow on Thursday, Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic described the relations between Russia and Serbia as the closest possible, underscoring that Russia is "the closest friend and ally," "strong and of principle" in regards to preservation of Serbia's sovereignty and integrity.
"We expect it to remain our ally in the future," said Jeremic, adding that the foreign policy has two priorities - preservation of territorial integrity and acceleration of European integration, in which Serbia had Russia's support so far. "In the European Union, Russia will not have a closer friend than Serbia, I guarantee you that," said Jeremic, expressing his confidence that the Russian leadership is aware of that and that this is one of the reason Russia supports Serbia's accession in the EU.
Underscoring that he will discuss in Moscow joint activities in the international scene in regards to Kosovo, the minister said that the bilateral cooperation in the area of energy supply will also be discussed. "The agreement between Russia and Serbia on cooperation in the energy sector is of priority and is of the biggest strategic importance for our country," said Jeremic.
DACIC ATTENDS CONFERENCE OF SALZBURG FORUM MEMBERS
BELGRADE, July 16 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Premier and Interior Minister Ivica Dacic is taking part in a ministerial conference of member-states of the Salzburg Forum on security in the western Balkans which opened on Wednesday and will close on July 18, the Interior Ministry announced.
The ministerial conference will contribute to the establishment of more active cooperation among the states of central and southeastern Europe, and in particular to closer cooperation in the prevention and curbing of all forms of organized crime and terrorism, the Ministry statement said. In addition to hearing reports on the realized results and about the activities that will be undertaken with the objective of the implementation of the Convention on police cooperation, participants in the meeting will also consider the different aspects of the implementation of that Convention in practice.
The document took effect in all contract member-states on July 11. The meeting will be attended by representatives of the Salzburg Forum members, countries of the western Balkans, representatives of the Geneva Center for Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF), EUROPOL, and the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI) Center, the statement said. The Salzburg Forum was founded in 2001 at the initiative of Austria, and Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Romania, and Bulgaria are taking part in its work, while Croatia has the status of an observer. A Declaration on the founding of a Group of Friends of the Salzburg Forum from the Western Balkans, including Serbia, was adopted at a ministerial conference held in Pleven, Bulgaria, in September 2007.
500 MILLION EUROS SHOULD BE EARMARKED FOR SCIENCE BY 2012
BELGRADE, Jul 16 (Tanjug) - Serbian Deputy Prime Minister in charge of integration in European structures and Minister of Science and Technology Bozidar Djelic said Wednesday that one of his ministry's priorities is to earmark 500 million euros for scientific and technological development by 2012.
Addressing a meeting on guidelines for future development of science and technology in Serbia, he said other priorities are balancing the salaries of employees of institutes and universities by the end of this year, resolving the issue of retirement and passing a law on the Serbian Academy of Arts and Sciences.
By mid-2009, he expects legislation on innovations and a strategy for scientific and technological development, and by 2011, the opening of a center for science, innovations and technology.
SERBIAN CULTURE MINISTER CONFERS WITH ITALIAN AMBASSADOR
BELGRADE, Jul 16 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Culture Nebojsa Bradic conferred Wednesday with Italian Ambassador to Belgrade Alessandro Merola, who told him that experts of the Italian Central Restoration Institute would start in September, as agreed earlier, the restoration of mosaics at the Felix Romuliana site of Roman Emperor Gallerius's palace in eastern Serbia.
They also discussed Italy's long-term initiative for founding a regional conservation center, for which Serbian institutions have completed a feasibility study.
EGERESI ASSEMBLY SPEAKER, PAJTIC REMAINS COUNCIL CHAIRMAN
NOVI SAD, July 16 (Beta) - The Alliance of Vojvodina Hungarians official, Sandor Egeresi, was elected Vojvodina Assembly Speaker at the constitutive session in Novi Sad on July 16.
Of 120 deputies, 89 voted for Egeresi, 30 were against, while one abstained from voting.
Egeresi took the oath of office, saying that his priority would be to preserve Vojvodina's multiethnicity and the equality of all its citizens.
Bojan Pajtic was reelected chairman of the Vojvodina Executive Council. Pajtic, also the Democratic Party vice president, received the support of 86 deputies in the assembly.
Presenting the council's program, Pajtic said he was happy with the hitherto work of the council, noting that in the elections, the voters had also approved of this work.
SERBIA - EU
CVETKOVIC: EU CANDIDATE COUNTRY STATUS NEXT MARCH OR APRIL
BELGRADE, July 16 (Beta) - Prime Minister Mirko Cvetkovic on July 17 said he expected that Serbia would obtain the status of an EU candidate country in March or April 2009.
In a program on the state broadcaster RTS, Cvetkovic said the continuation of European integrations and the status of an EU candidate country next March or April would entitle Serbia to EU precession funds.
Cvetkovic added that the adoption of a resolution on Kosovo in parliament would be a clear signal of continuity between the previous and the new cabinet concerning policy on Kosovo. Commenting on postponing the parliamentary debate of the resolution on Kosovo, Cvetkovic said it was good because it left time for a debate.
The prime minister further said, after a week in office, that he was happy with the personnel and added that his cooperation with everyone was very good, regardless of the party they belonged to.
JEREMIC, KOUCHNER PRESENT DIFFERENT VIEWS ON KOSOVO
PARIS, July 16 (Beta) - The foreign ministers of Serbia and France, Vuk Jeremic and Bernard Kouchner, in Paris on July 17 presented different views on the independence of Kosovo, but equally, they voiced the desire for Serbia to join the EU.
"Serbia will never recognize that unilateral act (the declaration of Kosovo's independence) and the new Serbian government will never do this. Kosovo is part of Serbia. That is the point of divergence," Jeremic said after a meeting with Kouchner, as carried by the France Presse news agency.
Kouchner said the conversation was "long, clear and frank," but added there are "big differences" concerning the issue of Kosovo.
"We do not agree on everything. There are still big differences surrounding Kosovo, but I welcome, appreciate and approve Serbia's desire to become a member of the EU," Kouchner told a news conference, the introductory part of which was posted on the French Foreign Ministry's official website.
He added that Serbia had confirmed this resolve in the May general elections and with the formation of the new government.
"We are happy to resume that dialog now, after a period of uncertainty. All the members of this government in Belgrade are welcome in this country and we will continue on both sides in line with that European tendency and desire," Kouchner said.
Asked whether Serbia could become a candidate for EU membership during France's tenure of the rotating EU presidency, Kouchner replied that that was his "biggest wish."
Jeremic highlighted the importance of the "European prospect of the entire Western Balkans."
The Serbian foreign minister met with his French counterpart as part of an official visit to France.
K&M – SITUATION, REACTIONS
KOSOVO'S ACCESSION TO IMF, WB MEANINGLESS FOR SERBIA
BELGRADE, Jul 16 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic told Tanjug Wednesday referring to the request by Kosovo interim authorities for accession to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, that Serbia will never recognize Kosovo's independence and that the province's potential membership in IMF and WB would mean nothing to Serbia.
Serbia can do nothing but make clear its stand that whatever happens with Kosovo's membership in IMF and WB, it would mean nothing in regard to the sovereignty issue, he said. It is clear that the countries with recognized Kosovo's independence have the majority of votes in IMF and WB and that Kosovo will probably get membership in the two financial organizations, he added. Serbia will accept this as a fact to which it has not agreed, Dinkic said.
WB said Wednesday that it has received from Kosovo premier a request for membership, which will be considered together with a similar application to IMF. Membership in the UN is not a pre-condition for accession to WB, but membership in IMF is, WB said. Kosovo is not a UN member.
SEJDIU: VISIT TO U.S. WILL BE HISTORICAL
PRISTINA, July 16 (Beta) - Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu on July 16 said, the meeting of the Kosovo delegation with U.S. President George Bush in Washington on July 21 would be of historical importance for Kosovo-U.S. ties.
"I think that for us it is a very important meeting. I can definitely say that it will be a historical meeting for our relations, also bearing in mind the significant investments of the U.S. in Kosovo and I speak of all fields and also about what is most important for the freedom and independence of Kosovo," Sejdiu said prior to his departure for the U.S.
Premier Hashim Thaci and Foreign Minister Skender Hiseni will also be in the delegation.
Before meeting Bush on July 21, the Kosovo officials will talk with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on July 18.
CZECH REPUBLIC OPENS EMBASSY IN PRISTINA
PRISTINA, July 16 (Beta) - On July 16, the Czech Republic opened its embassy in Pristina, as the seventh country to have done so. However, the embassy does not have a consular office, so the citizens of Kosovo will have to apply for visas in Belgrade or Skopje, the Czech media reported.
Prague has raised the Czech office in UNMIK to the level of an embassy. Currently, the embassy is headed by the charge d'affairs, Janina Hrebickova, who was the chief of the Czech office till now.
The opening of the embassy was attended by the Czech deputy foreign minister, Tomas Poyar, who is visiting Serbia and Kosovo this week.
The embassy's role will primarily be to promote trade relations and the interests of Czech companies, operating in Kosovo.
After a heated debate, the Czech government recognized Kosovo on May 21, despite objections from President Vaclav Klaus, the opposition and from partners in the government of Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek the Christian Democratic Union.
ZANNIER MEETS NORTHERN KOSOVO SERB REPS
PRISTINA, July 16 (Beta) - UNMIK chief Lamberto Zannier met with representatives of the Serb judicial bodies in northern Kosovska Mitrovica on July 16, to discuss launching the courts' work in that part of Kosovo.
"After touring the courthouse, prison, and police station, my impression is that it is necessary to establish the rule of law in this region and our priority is to reopen the courthouse in Northern Mitrovica," Zannier told the press.
Zannier added that he would "consider the possibility that all work be transferred to UNMIK during the interim period so that the UNMIK judges will work according to the UNMIK criminal code."
The UNMIK chief met with District Public Prosecutor Milan Bigovic, his deputy Nenad Trifunovic, and a judge of the Vucitrn Municipal Court, Nikola Kabasic.
Speaking to the press after the meeting, Kabasic said his impression was that progress had been made concerning "the solution to the problem of the Serb judicial system in Kosovo."
SERBIA – ECONOMY
JEREMIC CONVINCED AGREEMENT WITH RUSSIA WILL BE RATIFIED
BELGRADE, July 16 (Beta) - Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic said he was convinced the Serbian parliament would ratify the Serbian Russian energy agreements.
"Our president stated on several occasions that the energy agreements will be ratified, in accordance with the law. This will certainly take place. There is a strong majority in our parliament that supports the ratification of these documents," Jeremic said in an interview to the July 16 issue of the Rosijska Gazeta.
Ahead of his July 17 visit to Moscow, the Serbian foreign minister said he would also have talks about the "full" realization of the energy agreements between the two countries.
While announcing Jeremic's visit to Moscow, a representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Andrej Nesterenko, said that the development of trade and economic cooperation had accelerated lately, and that the signing of the package of documents in the energy sector, primarily that of oil and gas, had special significance.
This opens Serbia's prospects for becoming a major regional center for transfer, an important link in pan European cooperation in the strategic sphere of energy, and creates a long-term basis for our cooperation, which will result in significant benefits for the two sides, Nesterenko said.
COUNCIL FOR INFRASTRUCTURE FORMED LEGALLY BY GOVERNMENT
BELGRADE, July 16 (Beta) - The National Council for Infrastructure, which concluded at its inaugural session on July 15 that there was no grounds for the Horgos-Pozega motorway concession contract to go into effect, was formed by decision of the Serbian government, based on the Law on state administration, BETA was told on July 16 by the press service of the Serbian president, who is also the chairman of this Council.
Deputy Prime Minister Mladjan Dinkic, who is the deputy chairman of the National Council for Infrastructure, told BETA that the Serbian government had decided to form this body last week.
The Law on state administration envisages that the government may form coordinating bodies in order to direct certain tasks that are under the jurisdiction of certain bodies of the state administration.
According to the government's decision, the Council coordinates and manages projects in the domain of infrastructure to achieve the swifter economic and comprehensive development of Serbia.
The relevant state bodies, it said in the chapter about the methods of the Council's work, are obliged, in keeping with their constitutional and legal positions, to cooperate with the Council.
At its inaugural session on July 15, chaired by President Boris Tadic, the National Council for Infrastructure ruled that there was no basis for signing the motorway concession contract with the Austrian Alpina-Porr consortium, since the concessionaire's new conditions were not in Serbia's interest.
SERBIA WILL BUILD CORRIDOR 10 ON ITS OWN - MINISTER
BELGRADE, Jul 16 (Tanjug) - Serbian Minister of Economy and Regional Development Mladjan Dinkic told Tanjug Wednesday that the National Council for Infrastructure (NSI) has unanimously decided to anull the concession agreement on the Horgos - Pozega highway and that Serbia will finance on its own the construction of Corridor 10, due to be completed by 2011.
Serbia will also finance on its own the highway linking Belgrade and southern Adriatic, two sections of Corridor 10 in southern Serbia, the ring road around Belgrade and a section of the Pan-European corridor through Vojvodina, he said.