Belgrade, January 18, 2012
SERBIA – EU
JEREMIC TO MEET WESTERWELLE ON MONDAY
BELGRADE, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic announced he will meet his German colleague Guido Westerwelle in Brussels next Monday and stressed that Belgrade communicated intensively with Germany."We work closely together and communicate intensively with Germany. We are trying to find common ground," Jeremic stated commenting on Berlin's negative stand on Serbia getting the status of a candidate for EU membership during the EU summit back in December.To Serbia, that ground is clearly outlined, Jeremic pointed out, adding that the government's "red lines will not shift.""I hope it is going to be possible to reach an agreement wthin that ground. If it is not possible, we will move on, but the priorities are known," he told TV Prva.This government will not change its policy on Kosovo or its stand regarding UN Resolution 1244, Jeremic remarked, adding that the policy was based on the Constitution and parliament decisions."Those who wish to change the Kosovo policy will have an opportunity to suggest that to the people of Serbia in the next few months, and if they gain support for it, then they will be able to do it. Until then, there is no policy changing," Jeremic stated.When it comes to Resolution 1244, "there is no room for compromise and neither will there be any," he emphasized.Resolution 1244 can only be rescinded by the UN SC, and there is no majority agreement within the council to do something like that, nor is there support from Russia and China, two permanent members of the council, the minister explained."Many say that reality needs to be acknowledged when it comes to Kosovo, and Resolution 1244 is an important part of that reality," he concluded.
MAAS: REQUIREMENTS FOR CANDIDACY CAN BE MET
BELGRADE, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - Ambassador of Germany to Serbia Wolfram Maas said that the conditions for candidate status set by the EU Council to Serbia can be met until the next Council meeting and underlined the significance of an agreement on regional representation of Pristina. In a statement to Tanjug, Maas pointed out that noone requires of Belgrade abandonment of the UN Resolution 1244. Maas estimated that, with the necešary goodwill, it is pošible to fulfill the set preconditions so that in Marc, the EU Council can decide in favor of the status of Serbia.A statement by Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic at Monday's ambašadorial conference that it is pošible that Serbia will not get EU candidate status in Marc if it is required to abandon the UN Security Council Resolution 1244, Maas said he has not heard that someone demanded that from Belgrade.Maas said that he knew only that Pristina and Belgrade have different views on the resolution, and that Pristina, unlike Belgrade, perhaps attaces more significance to some other documents.In his opinion, the problem of different views can be overcome.We expect normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina. It is a long-term goal, the Ambašador of Germany said.
KOSOVO AND METOHIJA
STEFANOVIC: KOSOVO REPRESENTATION MUST BE BASED ON RESOLUTION
KRALJEVO, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - The issue of Kosovo's regional representation should be solved as soon as possible, but the solution can only be based on UN Security Council Resolution 1244, head of Belgrade's team in the talks with Pristina Borislav Stefanovic reiterated.At a forum organized by the Democratic Party in Kraljevo Tuesday night, he stressed Pristina is already represented in 96 percent of regional organizations and it is important that the plaque which stands in front of their delegation say "Resolution 1244," and not something that would prejudice Kosovo's independence.Stefanovic announced an agreement between insurance companies is expected by the end of January, so people will no longer have to pay car insurance when crossing the administrative line.He also said the referendum, at which people in four municipalities in northern Kosovo will vote whether they accept the Kosovo institutions, is unnecessary as it achieves nothing.Stefanovic also underlined that the agreements reached with Pristina in no way violate the Serbian Constitution or undermine the country's integrity.He said it is good the talks are facilitated by the EU and not the Security Council, which has allowed the UNMIK Mission to go from 7,500 members in Kosovo to 74.The Security Council also approved all reports by its representatives which have enabled Kosovo to have its own license plates, police and customs."If EULEX had not been brought to Kosovo, there would be nobody standing between (Kosovo's Prime Minister) Hasim Taci and the Kosovo Serbs," Stefanovic said.He said the "both Kosovo and EU" policy is not simple, but that Serbia cannot give up either.At the end, Stefanovic said he is pleased the forum was held in Kraljevo and that he was able to give additional explanations about the dialogue with Pristina in the city which has become the new home to over 20,000 Serbs from Kosovo since 1999.
REEKER: NO PARTY CAN TAKE LAW INTO ITS OWNS HANDS
PRISTINA, Jan. 17 (Beta) - U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker said in Pristina that no party had a right to take the law into its own hands. Commenting on protests organized by the SelfDetermination Movement held last week at crossings towards central Serbia, he said in an interview with Kosovo state TV that this was not an acceptable way to express opinions and that the movement's aim had been to limit freedom of movement and free trade. Reeker described the protest as unacceptable and welcomed what he called a "professional police response." Commenting on the north of Kosovo, he said that no changes of borders, partitions, or exchanges of territories in the region were possible. Reeker went on to say that Serbs in southern Kosovo were citizens of a free and democratic Kosovo and would be integrated with Kosovo society. During his twoweek tour of the region, which lasts until Jan. 26, Reeker will also visit Belgrade, U.S. Embassy sources told. The U.S. official, who started his tour with a visit to Turkey on Jan. 12, visited Kosovo on Jan. 16, from where travel to Macedonia, followed by Serbia. Reeker will end with a visit to Austria Jan. 26.
UK AMBASSADOR: SERBIA MUST END PARALLEL BODIES IN KOSOVO
PRISTINA, Jan. 16 (Beta) - The UK will not oppose dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina about a plan proposed by Serbian President Boris Tadic if Belgrade fulfills existing conditions and eliminates parallel government structures, the British ambassador in Pristina, Ian Cliff, stated on Jan. 17. Cliff said that the UK would not oppose Tadic's plan for Kosovo because the proposal was in accordance with the Ahtisaari plan. Tadic recently presented a fourpoint plan for dealing with Serb monasteries in Kosovo, guarantees for Serbs living in enclaves, Serbian state and private property in Kosovo, and the matter of northern Kosovo. Cliff said the plan was a good one because all four issues were already covered in detail by the Ahtisaari plan. He added there was always room for dialogue and that "we should not forget that Ahtisaari's plan enables the Serb community in Kosovo to maintain special ties with Belgrade," Cliff said. The British ambassador in Pristina said that, before going on to the new plan, both sides should continue their current talks in Brussels, implement existing agreements and make progress in regional cooperation.
RUSSIA CONDUCTING OWN KOSOVO ORGAN TRAFFICKING PROBE
MOSCOW, Jan. 16 (Beta) - Russia could be able to prove that the authorities in Kosovo are illegitimate and might have links with organized crime and illegal trafficking in human organs, Moscow media reported on Jan. 17.They said that a trial in Kosovo of individuals charged with illegal transplantations and smuggling of human organs is nearing completion, and that the perpetrators allegedly acted under the patronage of local officials. "Russia is conducting its own investigation and some significant evidence has been collected. The Russian Foreign Ministry insists that the State Prosecutor's Office surrender this evidence to the EU, but this has not yet taken place," the media added. By request of the Foreign Ministry, the Investigation Committee of Russia initiated a criminal investigation in 2011, and found several victims of illegal transplantations, whose testimonies could be of significance for the outcome of the trial in Pristina, Russian media reported.
NATO MILITARY COMMITTEE TO DISCUSS KOSOVO
BRUSSELS, Jan. 16 (Beta) - The NATO Military Committee will convene in Brussels on Jan. 1819 to review the situation in Afghanistan and Kosovo, a statement released by NATO headquarters said.Top NATO military commanders, including Erhard Drews, and EULEX chief Xavier Bout de Marnhac, will discuss Kosovo on Jan. 19, BETA learned from NATO Military Committee media representative Tom Monballiu. Monballiu said that, depending on how the discussion went, a statement could be released with information on other NATO operations in the world. He stressed that the present plan was to have Gen. Knud Bartels brief reporters on Jan. 19 on the Military Committee's conclusions.
KACIN: THESE PROTESTS ARE PROMOTING ISOLATION OF KOSOVO
PRAGUE, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - Vice Chair of the European Parliament (EP) Delegation to South-East Europe Jelko Kacin qualified attempts of the Self-Determination movement to block entry of Serbian goods in Kosovo as a provocation by the movement's leader, Aljbin Kurti, stressing that such actions are contrary to the European values.Kacin said in a statement for Radio Free Europe that Saturday's action was a provocation by Aljbin Kurti, in which protesters were manipulated.He underlined that the event is similar to the one which took place a few months ago in north Kosovo when Serbs blocked magistrate roads.According to Kacin, the Self-Determination's protest under the motto 'Serbia will not pass through' promotes blockage of interstate relations, and is therefore quite the opposite of the basic values of the EU.These protests are promoting isolation of Kosovo, and their goal is to thwart Kosovo's EU efforts, he said.Kacin believes that this action seems like a gesture of Self-Determination's solidarity with Serbs' barricades in north Kosovo.I do not want to draw a parallel, but just to explain how this action could be viewed. It was counter-productive both for Kosovo, and Aljbin Kurti and his Self-Determination movement, Kacin concluded.
SERBIA – REGION
SERBIA SENDS PROTEST NOTE TO MONTENEGRO
BELGRADE, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - Serbia sent a protest note to Montenegro on the occasion of the recently published text by writer, columnist, and current adviser to the Montenegrin parliament speaker Andrej Nikolaidis, Tanjug learnt at the Serbian government.Reactions to Nikolaidis' text arrived from Belgrade and Podgorica almost simultaneously.Serbian Ambassador in Podgorica Zoran Lutovac sent the protest note to the Montenegrin Foreign Ministry, while the Serbian Foreign Ministry voiced its protest to the Montenegrin Ambassador in Belgrade Igor Jovovic.To mark the 20th anniversary of the constitution of Republika Srpska (RS), Nikolaidis published a text in which he expressed regret over the fact that Bozidar Stanisljevic did not use the weapons discovered in the Banja Luka's sports hall Borik.It would have been a civilisational breakthrough if Stanisavljevic had used the dynamite and guns he hid in the hall where head of state, spiritual leaders and artists were celebrating the 20th anniversary of RS, had he been a dissatisfied worker who realised that national and religious antagonisms are only a mask under which the elite is concealing fundamental antagonism present in every society, the one attached to the class, Nikolaidis stated in the text published on internet portal Analitika.Political leadership of Serbia and RS and the leaders of the Serbian Orthodox Church were gathered for the ceremony to mark two decades of RS existence in the Banja Luka hall Borik.
BIH PROSECUTION DECISION SHOWS SELECTIVE JUSTICE
BELGRADE, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - The decision of the Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) Prosecutor's Office to stop the investigation against Ejup Ganic and 13 more suspects in the Dobrovoljacka case in Sarajevo shows that justice is being implemented selectively which does not contribute to the reconciliation in the region, Deputy War Crimes Prosecutor Bruno Vekaric told.Pointing out that the Serbian Prosecutor's Office is continuing the war crimes investigation in the Dobrovoljacka case, Vekaric noted that it is much more clear now why the BiH Prosecutor's Office kept refusing to sign the Agreement on mutual transfer of evidence which would make it possible for the evidence of both sides to merge and thus close the crime cases more promptly.The BiH side demonstrated that it lacked the wish to provide its evidence in the Dobrovoljacka case but the Serbian War Crimes Prosecutor's Office will continue investigating, Vekaric stated and noted that the decision of the BiH Prosecutor's Office does not contribute to paving the path to reconciliation in the region, especially not to ensuring justice for the victims.The BiH Prosecutor's Office stopped the proceedings against Ejup Ganic and 13 more suspects in the Dobrovoljacka case in Sarajevo on Tuesday because the findings did not establish existence of any elements of crimes in the actions of the indictees.Seven individuals were killed and 14 more wounded in the attack in the Dobrovoljacka Street in May 1992.The investigation into the action will go on since there is grounded suspicion that a war crime was committed because the victims were targeted by open fire after they had been disabled to fight and were seated in an ambulance.In keeping with the BiH Criminal Procedure Code, the decision on interruption of the investigation can be appealed before the office of the chief prosecutor, the Prosecutor's Office released.
DACIC CONFIRMS SEVERAL STATE OFFICIALS THREATENED
BELGRADE, Jan. 17 (Beta) - Interior Minister Ivica Dacic confirmed that several state officials had received threatening messages, stressing that the reports were being checked and that matter was being taken extremely seriously. "The security of state officials and public figures whose lives are in danger is regularly tended to. These reports need to be given the utmost significance and taken into account when making security estimates," Dacic told B92 TV, stressing that was no other country in the world had so many people who had been assigned security personnel. He stressed that according to agents, threatening messages and letters "are a daily occurrence" and that police were cooperating with the Security and Information Agency and Military Security Agency to ensure that state officials stayed safe. Some outlets reported that police had been tipped off on a plot to assassinate President Boris Tadic, Patriarch Irinej, Dacic and Police Director Milorad Veljovic.
LAVROV: MOSCOW CALLED CLOSURE OF TRUBUNAL ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS
MOSCOW, Jan. 17 (Tanjug) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in Moscow that Russia stands ready to offer Serbia assistance in connection with the case of Vojislav Seselj, who is in The Hague Trubunal, and once more criticised the work of the court, stressing that Russia has on several occasions called for its closure.From the contacts with the Serbian side, it is known that Seselj is not complaining about his position, Lavrov said at a press conference, adding that Moscow is ready to offer adequate assistance, in line with the agreement on legal assistance reached with Serbia.Recalling that Russia has been urging for quite a long time that the Tribunal should be closed, since, as he put it, the court has fulfilled all its functions in not so impeccable manner, Lavrov drew attention to the existence of double standards when it comes to the cases of Bosnian Serbs and Muslims.In that context, he pointed to the case of former president Slobodan Milosevic, who died in The Hague Tribunal.We all know the fate of former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic, even though doctors were asking the judges to provide him with the necessary medical treatment and we know that many defendants, mostly Serbs, are being severely treated, with no justification for such an attitude, and trials against them last indefinitely, Lavrov said.The Russian foreign minister recalled the Medicus case, an investigation into illegal trade in human organs in Kosovo, stressing that Russia would seek the case to be tried to the very end.Lavrov noted that the issue had first been raised in a book by former Hague prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, titled "The Hunt: Me and War Criminals", where she had first spoken about the "black transplantology" in Kosovo, adding that the people had been kidnapped in 1999 and 2000 in Kosovo and taken to Albania where their organs were removed. Dick Marty wrote a report on the issue, which is now being discussed in the UN at various levels. The Russian foreign minister is giving a press conference in Moscow, summing up the results of last year's work. Media interest for the conference is very high, with a total of 300 journalists from 160 foreign and local media accredited, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.