Daily Survey

Belgrade, May 18, 2012


SERBIA

DIKOVIC: KOSOVO IS GREATEST SECURITY CHALLENGE

BELGRADE, May 18 (Tanjug) Chief of Serbian Armed Forces (VS) General Staff Ljubisa Dikovic said Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence was the greatest security challenge for Serbia, warning that a reduction in KFOR troops under current circumstances would not be good."We are following all events in the region which can affect Serbia's safety and we have good cooperation with our neighbors. The greatest security challenge for Serbia is Kosovo's unilaterally declared independence. You can be sure that we will react adequately, in line with decisions and authorizations, to any attempt to transfer the crisis from the province to the territory of central Serbia," Dikovic said in an interview for the daily Vecernje Novosti.The army has a crisis-prevention plan and the ability to perform its constitutional role. As far as Kosovo, under the Military Technical Agreement signed in Kumanovo (which ended the NATO bombing of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia in 1999), KFOR is the main authority there, he recalled, adding he was convinced the force was up to the challenge.Noting that the Serbian army and KFOR have good professional cooperation, Dikovic said it was important to take into account the security situation when considering any reductions in the number of troops. "Our assessment is that under the current circumstances, scaling back the KFOR contingent would set things backwards. KFOR's presence must not be tied to a deadline but to the situation on the ground, which currently does not allow for a decrease in numbers," said the chief of general staff.He said security challenges faced by Serbia and the region included different forms of extremism and organized crime.Dikovic said that in terms of cooperation with NATO through the Partnership for Peace program, the VS was focused on planning, the concept of operational capability and defense institution building.Dikovic said there was mutual interest in intensifying cooperation between the Serbian and Russian armies, especially in the fields of military economy, joint special forces training, military medicine and education. "With the United States, we have the closest cooperation with the Ohio National Guard. Exercises, personnel training, supporting the development of the "South" Base near Bujanovac (southern Serbia) are just some of the areas where we cooperate with the United States," said Dikovic.

DACIC: MUP CARRIES NO BLAME IN TATON'S CASE

BELGRADE, May 17 (Tanjug) Interior Minister Ivica Dacic stated that the Ministry of the Interior (MUP) carries no blame for the murder of French national Brice Taton in Belgrade in 2008, and therefore the suit of his family is without grounds.On Wednesday, the attorney of the family of Brice Taton, who was beaten to death in Belgrade in 2008, filed a lawsuit to the Higher Court in Belgrade against the Republic of Serbia, namely the Ministry of the Interior, demanding a compensation of EUR 300, 000."The ministry takes all the necessary measures and safeguards the sports fans who announce their visit to our country. In this case, there was no announcement of an organized visit. It is up to court to determine all the facts. I am deeply sorry about the incident. Whoever has committed a crime should be punished, but the Ministry of the Interior carries no blame," Dacic said.Serbia should heed the Tatons' suit as a warning that it should have a better reaction when it comes to the attacks on Serbian sports fans abroad. "Our sports fans have also been attacked, but no one reacted to that. I have not heard that Serbia got any compensation," Dacic stressed.

SERBIAN CITIZENS TO CHOOSE PRESIDENT ON SUNDAY

BELGRADE , May 17 (Tanjug) Serbian citizens in the country and abroad would be able to use their voting rights and chose the new president of the country in the second round of presidential elections on Sunday, May 20.A total of 6,770,013 citizens will have a chance to vote at 8,390 polling stations in the country and abroad, which would be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and citizens living in the U.S., Canada and Great Britain would be the first ones to go to polls.They would have a chance to use their voting right on Saturday, May 19, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. by local time.Just like in the May 6 elections, a total of 38 polling stations in 22 countries would be open for voters abroad on May 20, which is twice less than back in 2008.Voting will take place in Austria, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, South African Republic, Cyprus, Libya, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Germany, Slovenia, France, the Netherlands, Croatia, Montenegro, the Czech Republic and Switzerland and the polling stations will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. by local time.The second round of presidential elections will be carried out at 90 polling stations in Kosovo-Metohija and the votes from the territory of the province will be counted in Raska, south central Serbia, and Vranje, southern Serbia, as was the case with the elections held two weeks ago.The polling places in the country also include 29 stations in institutes for execution of criminal sanctions.A total of 6,803,863 ballots were printed out for purposes of the elections, 33,850 of them as reserves.Boris Tadic, the presidential candidate of 'The Choice for a Better Life' and leader of the Democratic Party, occupies the first place on the list since he won 989,454 votes or 25.31 percent in the previous round, while Tomislav Nikolic, candidate of the coalition 'Let's Get Serbia Moving' and leader of the Serbian Progressive Party, is listed second with the score at 979,236 votes or some 25.05 percent in the first round of the elections.The deadline for the Republic Electoral Commission (RIK) to issue the results of the elections in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Serbia expires within 96 hours from the closing of the polling stations, the RIK book of regulations states.

SERBIA – ECONOMY

AGREEMENT ON SIMPLIFICATION OF TRADE PROCEDURES

BELGRADE, May 18 (Tanjug) The Serbian Ministry of Agriculture and Trade and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) Wednesday signed an agreement expected to reduce trade logistics constraints and harmonize border clearance procedures in the Western Balkans.The document was signed by Serbia's Minister of Agriculture and Trade Dusan Petrovic and IFC Regional Manager for the Western Balkana Per Kjellerhaug.The signing of the agreement marked the beginning of the implementation of the project aimed at enabling regional enterprises to deliver goods quickly to various markets with reduced transportation costs and making them more competitive, in line with practices of the European Union and Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA)."The simplification of trade procedures is now starting to gain momentum," Minister Petrovic said after signing the agreement.He said that the Ministry of Agriculture and the Serbian government had been particularly committed to the task the over the recent months.Kjellerhaug said that the agreement would greatly help facilitate trade between Serbia and its regional neighbors, adding that the next thing to do was a formal agreement between the Serbian government and the IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.With the reduction in the exports costs and simplified border clearance procedures, exports from the region to the EU should increase considerably, he said.

SERBIA & AZERBAIJAN TO ENHANCE ECONOMIC COOPERATION

BAKU/BELGRADE , May 17 (Tanjug) There is ample room for enhancement of economic cooperation and increase of commercial exchange between Serbia and Azerbaijan because the current level does not meet the two countries' needs and possibilities, Vice President of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce (PKS) Vidosava Dzagic stated in Baku.The results of mutual exchange of goods in the first quarter of the year recorded a considerable drop both in terms of imports and exports, but the commercial exchange between Serbia and Azerbaijan is characterised by a small scope of exchange of goods, Dzagic said during the Azerbaijan-Serbia Business Forum which was held within the WorldFood Azerbaijan fair.The exchange in the first quarter of 2012 surpassed the results achieved in entire 2011 and totalled slightly over USD 4.3 million.According to Dzagic, the exports from Serbia to the Azerbaijani market could increase, especially in the sectors of food industry, seed and pesticide materials, drugs and medical equipment.The demand for organic food has been on the increase of late and Serbia holds considerable potential in this area.Azerbaijani companies are interested in Serbian furniture, floor coverings, machines and devices for agricultural production, she added and noted that chemical industry and tourism could also be enhanced.The PKS vice president informed the Azerbaijani investors about some of the projects in Serbia in which they could invest their funds, such as the port of Kovin on the Danube River the value of which totals EUR 550 million according to certain assessments. Dzagic also mentioned the possibility of investments in free zones such as Pirot in south-east Serbia.She recalled that Serbia signed important free trade agreements with the EU, as well as with other Balkan countries within the CEFTA agreement and with the association of EFTA member countries, with Turkey and the Customs Union between Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Russia which is very important for Serbia.She also recalled that the parliament of Azerbaijan granted a loan worth EUR 308 million which to Serbia in early April for the construction of a branch of the highway on Corridor 11 from Ljig to Preljina.Serbian Ambassador to Azerbaijan Zoran Vajovic said that Serbia is interested in developing its economic cooperation with Azerbaijan in the areas of agriculture, construction industry, pharmaceutical industry, tourism and other areas.President of the Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation Adil Mammadov stated that meetings such as the Business Forum contribute to setting up closer ties between businessmen and reinforcement of the two countries' cooperation.

ZASTAVA AND ITALIAN CLUSTER SIGN LETTER OF INTENT

KRAGUJEVAC, May 17 (Tanjug) Dragan Srejovic, CEO of Zastava vozila, and the director of the Italian automotive cluster Iam (Innovazione Automotive e Metalmeccanica) signed Thursday in Kragujevac a letter of intent and announced a contract would be inked next month."We have signed a letter of intent which defines the scope of our future cooperation," said Srejovic, noting that the Italian cluster was made up of 80 companies which mostly worked for Fiat and Honda.Officials of the Italian region of Abruzzo and its vicegovernor, Alfredo Castiglione, attended the signing.According to Castiglione, Italian companies are interested in cooperation with Zastava, primarily in the production of trucks and military vehicles.We started our cooperation today, and once the contract is signed, it will enable us to market our products together, in particular automobile production which is not easy to service, said Castiglione.He added it was very important to move forward together, and that it was best to take it step by step.Abruzzo has a developed metal processing industry, which employs around 30,000 workers and accounts for 20 percent of the region's GDP and 50 percent of its export.